Russia: Oil Freeze Deal Possible Without Iran

Russia: Oil Freeze Deal Possible Without IranRussia: Oil Freeze Deal Possible Without Iran

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak confirmed on Wednesday that he has held talks with Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, but revealed no further details of the meeting.

"Now I do not want to comment prematurely on what will be discussed on April 17 (in Doha). Let’s wait for the consultations. The talks were held yesterday, this is a fact, but I will not announce the decision beforehand," he told TASS.

According to the minister, the deal on freezing oil output is possible without Iran’s participation.

"Everything is possible because these are open documents. Everyone who wants to join this will join. As for those who do not want to join, no one will force them," he said.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s biggest producers and exporters of oil. An agreement between the two countries on freezing production is one of the key factors for success of the Doha meeting. Another factor is participation in agreements of Iran, which plans to gradually increase production after the lifting of international sanctions against it.

Citing Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, Bloomberg earlier reported that the country was ready to freeze oil output only if Iran did.

Regional cooperation in the energy sector will be the focus of attention at a four-party meeting that will bring together heads of the energy ministries of Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Iran in the Armenian capital Yerevan on Wednesday.

The meeting is meant to "contribute to a growth in energy cooperation in the implementation of joint projects in this sector", Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan said on Tuesday.

On April 17, representatives of global oil-producing countries will meet in Doha for discussion of oil output stabilization.

Oil prices on April 12 were growing by almost 4% on hopes that the oil-producing countries would reach an agreement to freeze production. On the sidelines of the Stock Exchange Forum in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian energy minister said he was optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement.