Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Oct. 22 that Russia did not rule out keeping existing curbs on global oil output and not easing them as previously envisaged.
His comments are the clearest signal yet from Russia, a global leader in oil production, that it is ready to continue with unprecedented output cuts in the face of a sluggish oil market beset by the coronavirus pandemic and overproduction.
Putin said on Oct. 22 he has been in contact with "partners" from Saudi Arabia and the U.S., which is not a party to the OPEC+ group of leading oil producers.
"We believe there is no need to change anything in our agreements, we will closely watch how the market is recovering. The consumption is on the rise."
"However, we do not rule out that we can either keep existing restrictions on production, and not remove them as quickly as we had planned to do earlier," Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.
"If need be, maybe, we can take other decisions on further reductions. But we don't see such a necessity now," he added.
OPEC+, a group of leading oil-producing countries including Russia, is reducing its combined production by 7.7 million bbl/d in order to support the sluggish oil market. OPEC+ is scheduled to ease cuts by a further 2 million bbl/d in January.
Some OPEC watchers have said a weak demand outlook could prompt OPEC+ to delay the reduction in output.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this week the global oil market recovery has slowed due to the second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, while it was premature to discuss a possible output-cuts rollover into 2021.
Industry sources told Reuters that Russia may support the move to extend the existing cuts beyond December.
OPEC+ oil ministers are scheduled to hold an online conference on Dec. 1 when they will work out further strategies on the oil markets.
"Russia is not interested neither in [oil] prices jump, nor in their fall. And in that case, our interests coincide with that of the American partners," Putin said.
For producers, the calculation is that even if demand for oil and gas falls, they will still be able to sell their precious commodities for years to come and be the “last man standing.”
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