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Russia sees 'solid foundation' for extending oil alliance

© AFP | Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh (L) and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak speak to reporters during a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members to assess compliance with production cuts in Jeddah on April 20, 2018


Russia said there was a "very solid foundation" for extending cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries at a meeting Friday of oil producers in Saudi Arabia.

Oil kingpin Saudi Arabia said a "consensus" was emerging for a long-term cooperation agreement.

"We have created a very solid foundation for cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the future even beyond the declaration of cooperation," Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.

He was referring to a cooperation agreement between the 14-member OPEC cartel and 10 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day to reduce oversupply.

The deal -- which is due to run out at the end of 2018 -- has succeeded in reducing a global glut of oil and pushed prices to over $70 a barrel from less than $30 in January 2016.

"Both consumers and producers of oil are expecting us to retain this solidarity to ensure stability and growth of the market," Novak said at the start of a ministerial committee meeting to assess the compliance with the cuts.

Russia is the world's leading producer of crude oil, pumping around 11 million bpd and its approval of the alliance is crucial to its success.

Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh said there was "consensus" forming among oil producers to extend cooperation on a long-term basis.

"There will be an extended framework of cooperation ... There is a consensus emerging. We need to do that," he told reporters ahead of the Jeddah meeting.

"We are at the stage of setting a long-term framework" beyond 2018, added Faleh, whose country is the world's top crude exporter.

Although reports indicate that a significant portion of oil glut has been removed from the market, Faleh warned that more work needs to be done.

He said that the inventory levels were still higher than the normal average and "we have not seen the low season," when demand for oil drops, he said.

Novak said that the production cuts agreement, which came into effect at the start of 2017, has removed some 300 million barrels of surplus crude from the market.

© 2018 AFP