Saudi energy minister urges OPEC to cut oil output

OPEC agreed in September to limit supply with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran



Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday that OPEC should cut oil output to 32.5 million barrels per day (bpd), the lower end of a previously agreed range, to balance the market.

Falih, speaking to Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV, said he was optimistic that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would formalise a preliminary oil output deal reached in Algeria in September.

He said the oil market was on a path towards becoming balanced and that “reaching (a decision) to activate that ceiling of 32.5 million bpd will speed up the (market) recovery and will benefit producers and consumers”.

OPEC agreed in Algeria on September 28 to limit supply with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran, whose output has been hit by wars and sanctions. The details are meant to be finalised when OPEC ministers meet in Vienna on November 30.

Read: OPEC pushes for consensus on oil cut

Falih and other ministers have said previously that OPEC would reduce output to a range of 32.5-33.0 million bpd.

“I’m still optimistic that the consensus reached in Algeria for capping production will translate, God willing, into caps on states’ levels and fair and balanced cuts among countries,” Falih said.

He said talks were ongoing with Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada, who had invited him to Qatar to continue discussions.

A number of OPEC energy ministers are likely to meet informally in Doha on Friday to try to build consensus over decisions taken by the full group in September in Algiers.

Russia is ready to support OPEC’s decision on an output freeze and sees a good chance that the oil producer group can agree terms by Nov. 30, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.

Falih told Al-Arabiya that he hoped an agreement with Russia to cooperate on market stability would correspond with OPEC’s meeting on November 30 in Vienna.

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