Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The move by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to balance the market is working, but the work is not yet finished, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said from Moscow.
An energy forum under way in Moscow and St. Petersburg is about halfway through. Speaking at the conference, Saudi Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih said market recovery is apparent, and the success of the agreement is obvious, but producers can't relax yet.
"We will not be satisfied with what we have," he was quoted by Russian news agency Tass as saying. "Until we reach the appropriate level of balance, until this goal is achieved we cannot finish our work."
The agreement, implemented in January, is designed to bring the global level of crude oil inventories closer to the five-year average. An oversupplied market last year, brought on by U.S. oil production and OPEC members working to defend market shares with more output, helped pushed the price of oil below $30 per barrel.
Global crude oil inventories are moving closer to balance and Falih said that, by the fourth quarter, supply will be less than demand. Pointing to output from U.S. shale basins, the minister said any acceleration should more or less keep pace with demand.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak hinted the agreement could be extended into summer 2018. Parties to the agreement between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-member states already agreed this year to extend it into March 2018.
Answering questions from Bloomberg News on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he couldn't rule out further extensions.
"Whether we will extend these agreements or not will depend on the situation in the world market," he said. "But in general, speaking about a potential extension, it should last at least to the end of 2018."
The meeting in Russia started with a call from Russia's energy minister to add a monitoring mechanism for exports. Industry and trade sources told UPI that may require a third party to monitor crude oil exports effectively. The U.S. Energy Information Administration publishes weekly data on domestic crude oil exports from the United States and imports from top exporters to its market. The Joint Organizations Data Initiative publishes export metrics, though the most recent data are from July.