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Saudi Energy Minister Calls for Extending Oil Cooperation Beyond 2018

Saudi Energy Minister Calls for Extending Oil Cooperation Beyond 2018

Monday, 22 January, 2018 - 13:00
Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attends a joint briefing in Beijing, China May 15, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

Saudi Arabia, top oil exporter, called Sunday for extending cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers beyond 2018, after a deal to cut output succeeded in shoring up prices.

"We should not limit our efforts to 2018. We need to be talking about a longer framework for our cooperation," announced Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih.

The invitation for long-term cooperation between oil producers, came at a time as oil prices exceeded $70 a barrel, after they dropped below $30 a barrel in early 2016.

A long-term cooperation will confirm the idea that there is constant coordination between producers, Falih told reporters before a meeting between ministers of OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the Omani capital Muscat.

Falih said a deal on production levels after 2018 would be about "assuring stakeholders, investors, consumers and the global community that this is something that is here to stay. And we are going to work together."

"There is a readiness to continue cooperation beyond 2018... The mechanism hasn’t been determined yet, but there is a consensus to continue," Falih said after the meeting.

OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers signed a landmark agreement in November 2016 to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day to fight oversupply and lift deteriorating prices.

Falih said oil producers had not yet achieved their target of reducing world stocks to normal levels and striking a balance between supply and demand.

“That objective has not been achieved. We are not close to achieving it,” he said, adding that a re-balance is unlikely in the first half of 2018.

Prior to the ministerial meeting, Kuwait’s oil minister Bakhit al-Rashidi said there is no plan or intention so far to exit from a production-cutting agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers.

“The production-reduction agreement will remain for a long time and there is no thinking right now to exit it,” Rashidi said.

Meanwhile, Oman’s oil minister Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhi said producers would discuss in November whether to renew their supply agreement or enter a new type of agreement. Oman is in favor of a new type of deal, he said without elaborating.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said oil producers should not ease off on their efforts despite the rebound.

"Despite the fact that progress is obvious, we must not relax. We are determined to carry through the re-balancing," Novak, whose country is the world's top crude producer, told reporters.

Following his meeting with Saudi Minister Falih, Russian minister praised the outcome of the cuts deal.

"The market got on the way towards balancing and we jointly managed to reduce the surplus in stocks by more than half," Novak said.

The Russian minister indicated that year showed that coordinating joint actions is a successful experiment.

He told "Russia 24" new channel that Russia and Saudi Arabia has a designed road-map for establishing about 30 joint projects.

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