Russia, Saudi Arabia agree to oil-output freeze

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world’s two largest crude producers, have agreed to freeze output, as long as others follow suit.

Freezing output at January levels will be “adequate,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on February 16 after talks with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak in Qatar’s capital, Doha.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi meets press after talks with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak in Qatar's capital, Doha. / Reuters
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi meets press after talks with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak in Qatar’s capital, Doha. / Reuters

Naimi said Qatar and Venezuela also agreed to participate in the freeze, and expressed hope that other oil producers would adopt the proposal.

Iran has said it intends to maintain its oil market share but said on February 16 that “there is room for discussion” on output, announcing talks with crude producers Iraq and Venezuela within 24 hours in Tehran.

“What is important first of all is that right now the oil market faces an output surplus and, secondly, Iran won’t relinquish its share,” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said.

Iran has pledged to raise supply steeply as it looks to regain market share lost after years of international sanctions, which were lifted in January.

A glut in global oil production has caused oil prices to plunge more than 70 percent since June 2014 to below $34 a barrel, putting financial strain on Russia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, and other oil-dependent economies.

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