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Russia wants larger role in oil prices

MOSCOW, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Moscow said Thursday its production levels indicate it should play an influential role in the price of oil on the world market, officials noted.

Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said his country is putting so much oil into the world market that a "Russian factor" should be included, Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported.

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"A Russian delegation recently attended an OPEC meeting, and I'd like to tell you that Russia should actively influence current oil prices," Shmatko said.

The energy minister said the volatility in the world market and its effect on the Russian economy lends credence to the possibility of an increased Russian position in the energy sector.

"We firmly believe that, considering recent oil price volatility, we, as a major and respectable oil producer, should have a position on that," he said.

Russia produces roughly 12 percent of the world's oil, or about 10 million barrels per day.

There were mixed reports Thursday that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was interested in including Russia in its membership.

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