Russia plans to hold talks on an oil production freeze with major oil producing countries, both Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and non OPEC members, in Saint Petersburg in late March, Interfax agency reported Monday.
The meeting’s date is yet to be confirmed but is expected to take place "in the time range from March 20 to April 1", the Russian Oil Minister Alexander Novak announced.
Earlier, Novak said that more than 15 oil producing countries have already supported the initiative to freeze their oil production at January's level, Interfax reported.
Rovnag Abdullayev, the head of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company announced their interest in joining OPEC member countries in their decision to freeze oil production, Interfax agency reported Monday.
Moreover, Ecuador, Algeria, Nigeria, Oman, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have also expressed a willingness to join this initiative, Moscow’s Komsomolskaya Pravda [KP] reported Monday adding that Iran and Iraq have not yet made a decision to participate.
Novak has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Nigeria, Venezuela and Iran for talks to stabilize global oil prices. Along with Russia, the share of these five states comprises 32 percent of the world's oil output, the Russian Business Channel (RBK) noted citing sources from the Russian Energy Ministry on Thursday, March 3.
According to RBK, some leading oil producers, including the U.S., Iraq, Norway, and Mexico, have yet to be invited to the consultation between oil ministers of participating countries. The tentative agenda involves reaching an agreement on measures to reduce the oil glut and balance supply and demand in the market in the hope of raising oil prices. In essence, the objective will be to form an agreement on freezing oil production at January 2016 levels and to streamline a resolution in a mutually agreed and formal manner.
In a mid-February meeting, representatives from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela tentatively agreed on a production freeze at January 2016 levels provided that other major oil producers will also agree to freeze their production, RBK reported.
Novak informed Russian President Vladimir Putin at a forum of Russia’s major oil companies last Thursday, that a total of up to fifteen oil producing countries, which produce 73 percent of the world's oil, were prepared to freeze their oil production, RBK reported.
On Thursday, TASS reported that the Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio del Pino also reiterated this expectation from both OPEC and non-OPEC members.
By Zaki Shaikh
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