Russia will join a new round talks on oil production freeze only if the OPEC countries reach an agreement on the issue within the organization, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.
On Sunday, the participants of the negotiations of the world’s major oil-producing countries, which included both Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members and non-cartel producers, failed to reach an agreement on freezing production levels, with Saudi Arabia insisting on fellow OPEC member Iran’s inclusion in the deal.
“OPEC countries must first agree with each other, and if they say they have made a deal and invite the non-OPEC countries to join this deal, we will consider the proposal and take part in it,” Novak said in an interview with Kommersant FM radio.
“In other words, we need guarantees that these agreements have been reached before taking part in consultations,” Novak said.
The idea of oil output freeze was initially brought up in February, with the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Venezuela and Russia addressing the oil market situation in Doha and agreeing to freeze oil production at January levels if other countries followed suit, in a bid to keep the oil prices from falling further.
Oil prices have hovered at slightly above $40 a barrel in recent weeks. Brent crude has for the first time since December exceeded the $45 mark late on Wednesday, while WTI reached $43.66 per barrel.