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Saudi minister confident of oil cut extension

By AFP - May 21,2017 - Last updated at May 21,2017

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih speaks to the media at the Saudi-US CEO Forum 2017 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday (Reuters photo)

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s energy minister expressed confidence on Sunday of extending a global cut in oil production designed to boost prices.

Khalid Al Falih spoke ahead of a meeting on Thursday between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, where they are expected to extend the production cut pact.

“We have full commitment from the Russian side, including President [Vladimir] Putin himself,” Falih told reporters on the sidelines of summits between US President Donald Trump and Muslim leaders from around the world.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and Gulf members of OPEC are also fully behind an extension, while there is “strong” commitment from Iraq and others, Falih said.

With potential for “two or three more producers” to join, Falih was optimistic global supply and demand would balance by the first quarter of next year.

“We will do whatever is necessary,” he said, expressing an openness to “creative” solutions.

At the end of November, OPEC’s 13 members agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bdp) from January 1, initially for a period of six months to reduce a supply glut.

Then in December, non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed to reduce their own output by 558,000bpd.

Falih said Russia “ultimately delivered” its 300,000bpd cut, though it took longer than hoped for.

“We have patiently worked together, but I think there is good faith, there is good cooperation, and going forward we intend to build on this relationship.”

Last week Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world’s two biggest oil producers, jointly called for oil producers to extend their production cuts to March 31, 2018.

Saudi Arabia currently produces close to 10 million bpd, Falih said.

 

Oil prices are near $50 per barrel after shedding around half of their value since mid-2014.

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