Oil output freeze deal possible without Iran's participation — Russian energy minister

April 14, 2016 3:28 am 

YEREVAN, April 13 — 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, Qatar). 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 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 of Iran in the agreements, as the latter plans to gradually increase production after the lifting of international sanctions imposed against its nuclear program.

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

Regional cooperation in the energy sector will be in the focus of attention at a four-party meeting bringing together heads of the energy ministries of Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Iran, due in 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 12, oil prices rose by almost four percent on hopes that oil-producing countries would reach an agreement in Doha, Qatar, to freeze production at current levels.

On the sidelines of the Stock Exchange Forum in Moscow on Tuesday, Novak said he was optimistic about the possibility of reaching an agreement with oil producing countries on freezing oil output.

In mid-February, Novak and the oil ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela confirmed they are ready to maintain the average oil production this year at January 2016 level in case other oil producing countries join the initiative. (PNA/TASS)

JSV/RSM

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