Oil producers want to prop up prices

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said a meeting and consultations between OPEC and non-OPEC countries will take place on April 17 in Doha.

EPA/LAURENT DUBRULE

Showdown in Qatar, OPEC, non-OPEC


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The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC members will meet on April 17 in Doha in a bid to stabilise falling crude prices, Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada reportedly said on March 16.

The Qatari minister, who is also the current OPEC president, said in a statement that 15 OPEC and non-OPEC members accounting for some 73% of global oil output supported the initiative, including the world’s top exporter Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak also said some 15 countries were expected to take part in the meeting. “We talked with ministers of different countries today and discussed the date of the relevant meeting and consultations between OPEC and non-OPEC countries. We agree such meeting will take place on April 17 in Doha,” TASS quoted Novak as saying, adding that documents for the meeting will be prepared during the remaining time.

“This is most likely to be a resolution or a joint declaration setting forth intentions of the parties to freeze oil production at the level not higher than in January 2016,” Novak added.

Brent crude was trading just under $39 a barrel on March 16, up from a 12-year low of $27.10 reached in January.

Iraq, the biggest source of OPEC supply growth in 2015, reportedly said on March 14 that the freeze initiative was acceptable.

“Measures to monitor arrangements will be discussed, he said. “Qatar, the chairing country in the OPEC, will now send invitations to all countries, both OPEC and non-OPEC members. About fifteen countries confirmed participation within the consultations framework,” Novak said.

Iran is ready to take part in the meeting, Novak said. The meeting will also discuss proposals on measures if production stabilisation arrangements are breached, he added.

Meanwhile, RT quoted Novak as saying that Tehran needs an individual approach in an oil production freeze, as the Islamic Republic’s production is at its lowest.

Konstantin Simonov, the general director of Russia’s National Energy Security Fund, told New Europe on March 17 that even without Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, “all of them together, produce some 26-27 million barrels per day so it will be enough. But, of course, there are a lot of obstacles in this story because first of all you can avoid Iran if you are speaking about the real amount of production. But if you are speaking about psychological aspect you can’t avoid Iran”. Simonov added that Iran is a member of OPEC and without the Islamic country “psychologically you cannot have the full deal”.

“But it is not only the Iran problem. This triangle Russia-Iran-Saudi Arabia is a very problematic. Saudi Arabia is one of the most serious political enemies of Russia. At least now we have a common threat – low oil prices,” he said.

“We can say this common threat can unite us and we can have common position on this issue but in reality we’re still enemies and it’s also the question what will be the result of this Syrian story, withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria because for Iran it was a very bad surprise. Iran was disappointed by this decision of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin but we were disappointed by the policy of Iran in Syria because the idea was very simple: Russia will give air force but Iran will give ground operations and Iran was not involved in this war,” Simonov said.

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