Algeria, the African oil producer that was instrumental in crafting Opec’s historic output deal last year, said most participating nations back a nine-month extension of the cuts.
“Most of the countries support the proposition of Russia and Saudi Arabia to extend,” Algerian Energy Minister Noureddine Boutarfa said on Thursday in Moscow after talks with his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak. Algeria also favours that course of action, and is “optimistic for an agreement,” he said.
Signatories to a deal struck between the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, including Russia, late last year will meet May 25 in Vienna to discuss prolonging the supply curbs. Saudi Arabia and Russia said Monday they favour extending the agreement through the first quarter of 2018 to reduce bloated global inventories to the five-year average.
There’s also a proposal to establish a high-level committee of experts to evaluate the market, Boutarfa said, without elaborating.
Boutarfa’s shuttle diplomacy between Russia, Iran and Opec’s headquarters in Vienna late last year was key to securing the landmark accord to reduce supply. Doing a deal was important for Algeria, which burnt through cash during the oil-market rout to plug a widening budget deficit.
The country needs an oil price of $64.70 a barrel to balance its budget, according to the International Monetary Fund. Benchmark Brent crude traded around $52 on Thursday.
– Gulf News