Russia says ready to freeze oil production at current levels

OPEC logo at the Palace Congress building during 15th International Energy Forum and informal meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) ministers in Algiers, Algeria, September 28 EPA


Facing pressure from OPEC to make a significant output reduction, Russia reiterated its readiness to freeze oil production at current levels, arguing that the offer amounted to a cut compared with next year’s plans.
A production cap would mean Russia pumping 200,000 to 300,000 barrels a day less than planned in 2017, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters in Moscow on Thursday. That means a freeze would be “quite a difficult and harsh situation for us as our plans envisioned an output growth next year,” he said.
OPEC, which is seeking to finalize its own supply cuts of as much as 1.1 million barrels a day next week, has asked non-members to cooperate by cutting daily production by 880,000 barrels for six months starting January, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said in a newspaper article.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reached a preliminary agreement in September to reduce collective output to 32.5 million to 33 million barrels a day, compared with the group’s estimate of 33.6 million in October. Talks on individual production quotas continued this week with the aim of securing a final pact by the ministerial meeting in Vienna on Nov. 30. It will meet with non-OPEC producers to discuss cooperation on November 28.
While Russia, the largest crude supplier outside OPEC, has reiterated its preference for a freeze over a cut for several months, members of the group including Saudi Arabia had been expecting the nation would eventually join a cut, according to people briefed on the matter. If Russia and other non-OPEC producers balk at the idea of cutting output, the exporters’ group could reconsider pushing ahead, the people said.
Russia’s position “has remained unchanged and consistent,” Novak said Thursday. “As our president said earlier, we are ready to freeze production at the current levels.” Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday reaffirmed Russia is willing to freeze, adding he sees no obstacles to an OPEC agreement this month after the group made major progress in overcoming differences.
Russia drafts its 2017 budget using an oil-production estimate at about 11 million barrels a day compared to an average 10.9 million expected this year. Output increased to a record 11.205 million barrels a day in November, near a post-Soviet record. The country has raised its production forecasts several times a year since 2015.
A delegation from Moscow is scheduled to meet OPEC experts in Vienna on Monday. Azerbaijan and Mexico are also set to participate, according to people familiar with the arrangements. Azerbaijan’s Aliyev co-chaired similar talks last month.
“While there’s actually nothing new from Russia today, Moscow is changing its rhetoric to show its commitment to a deal,” said Alexander Kornilov, an analyst at Aton LLC in Moscow. “The new wording shows Russia is trying to convince OPEC partners.”

Leave a Reply

Send this to a friend