Russia committed to oil price stability effort

Russia's energy ministry says a multilateral push to ease the supply-side strains that hammered the market last year is working.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  July 7, 2017 at 9:22 AM
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July 7 (UPI) -- Russia is committed to playing an active role in working with its oil-producing peers to reduce volatility in the energy market, the country's president said.

Russia is the largest contributor to a multilateral effort to balance an over-supplied market that's not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It's also one of the members of a steering committee that monitors the deal's effectiveness, a committee that meets later this month in St. Petersburg.

Russia's contribution is vital to the arrangement, though the Kremlin offered mixed support for the agreement last year after publicly stating in 2015 that coordinating with OPEC was an unsavory proposal.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Russian president, told reporters in January, the first full month for the agreement, that compliance was firm. Russia, he said, is "meeting all points" of the agreement. Speaking ahead of the meeting for the Group of 20 economies in Hamburg, President Vladimir Putin said his country had a special role to play in the global energy sector as one of its main suppliers.

"Russia remains committed to proactively contributing to the harmonization of the global energy market and reducing price volatility by working together with other countries that produce and consume fuel, in order to ensure global energy security," he said in a statement.

Russia cut about 300,000 barrels per day from its production as part of the coordinated effort with OEPC. The Russian energy minister was quoted by several media outlets Friday as saying the deal was working as designed.

"Russia at the moment sees the oil market stabilization initiative as effective, accelerating the inventory draw process and helping stabilize the global crude market," the statement read.

Gains in production from Libya and Nigeria, two OPEC members exempt from the deal so they can steer oil revenue toward national security efforts, has spooked some analysts examining the effectiveness of the deal. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing "people familiar with the matter," that OPEC leaders and Russia want Libya and Nigeria to make concessions.

Nigerian Oil Minister Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told the newspaper his country wanted to wait a "few months to see if the recovery is permanent and sustainable" before reviewing the exemption.

Crude oil prices are trending lower in early Friday trading and down about 7 percent from the start of the year, when implementation of the OPEC-led agreement began.

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