Oil output freeze deal talks should end by March 1, says Russian minister

Baku, February 22, AZERTAC 

Consultations on a preliminary deal between leading oil producers to freeze output should be concluded by March 1 after a group led by Russia and Saudi Arabia reached a common position this week in Doha, Russia's energy minister said, according to Reuters.

In a television interview aired on Saturday, Alexander Novak also said that the agreement announced on Feb. 16 was weighty enough.

"Those countries which have openly supported this approach are producing around 75 percent out of global (oil) export volumes. My point is that, in practice, this is enough to agree," Novak told the Vesti on Saturday program.

Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela said this week after talks in Doha that they were ready to freeze production at January levels if other producers do the same.

Iran welcomed the deal. But it stopped short of saying it would itself freeze production at January levels and its deputy oil minister said on Saturday it would increase production soon.

Novak said talks between Venezuela and Iran were still ongoing, and said consultations would also be held with non-OPEC countries, including Mexico and Norway.

"I believe that they (Mexico and Norway) would take a constructive stance," he said.

If additional oil were not supplied to the market, then the global surplus of oil would fall by at least 1.3 million barrels per day, Novak added.

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