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Moscow, Riyadh Discuss Easing Global Oil Cuts

Moscow, Riyadh Discuss Easing Global Oil CutsMoscow, Riyadh Discuss Easing Global Oil Cuts

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the oil producers who led the effort to shrink a global glut, said they are discussing easing output curbs for the first time.

While scaling back the supply caps is “on the table”, no decision has been taken, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in an interview early Friday in St. Petersburg, Bloomberg reported.

"OPEC and its partners will in June discuss loosening the curbs implemented since 2017," Russian counterpart Alexander Novak said at the same interview after a meeting between the two officials.

Brent crude futures on Friday were down 44 cents at $78.35 a barrel, having hit their highest since late 2014 at $80.50 this month. US West Texas Intermediate WTI crude futures were at $70.38 a barrel, down 33 cents.

Speculation is swirling over when and by how much the producers will scale back cuts after they eliminated an inventory surplus that had sparked a price crash about four years ago.

Market uncertainty has risen following renewed US sanctions on Iran that may curb the Islamic Republic’s exports, and as economic turmoil in Venezuela drives a collapse of the OPEC member’s oil industry. Crude’s rebound is also spurring concerns that demand may falter.

Russia and Saudi Arabia share a common view on “consuming countries’ anxiety and concerns over potential supply shortages”, Al-Falih said.

“We will ensure that the market remains in its trajectory towards rebalancing, but at the same time we will not overcorrect.”

Falih said the two nations will meet at least two more times before OPEC and its partners gather in Vienna next month.

While Saudi Arabia has shown a desire for higher prices to bankroll domestic economic reforms and underpin the valuation of its state oil company in a planned initial public offering, the top OPEC member and its allies are facing pressure from consuming nations as well as crude producing companies.

 

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