Moscow Still Deciding on Deeper OPEC+ Production Cuts: Energy Minister

Russia is yet to finalize its position in talks on possible additional supply curbs as part of the OPEC+ deal, the country’s energy minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday, according to RNS.

He said he expected this week’s meeting of OPEC oil producers and their allies to be constructive, and added that Russia fulfilled around 85% of cuts agreed with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members last summer. The country’s average production cut was 195,000 bpd in November and Moscow aimed to comply fully with the quota in December, Novak said.

Russia agreed to reduce output by 228,000 barrels per day (bpd) to about 11.18 million bpd in 2019 as part of cuts agreed by the group known as OPEC+. But it pumped more than its quota in November, producing 11.244 million bpd.

“We will discuss, including together with our colleagues, in order to take into account statistics excluding condensate in statistics (at the OPEC + meeting),” said Novak.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, which previously agreed to reduce combined output by 1.2 million bpd or 1.2 percent of global demand until March, will hold discussions in Vienna on Thursday and Friday.

“I will not tell you anything now as we are still finalizing our position,” Novak told reporters. “Let’s wait … But I think the meeting, as usual, will be of a constructive nature.”

Two sources said on Monday that OPEC+ was discussing cutting output by at least an additional 400,000 bpd, as Riyadh seeks high oil prices to balance its budget and help Thursday’s pricing for Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO). The Saudis have been lobbying others to deepen cuts.

Russia earlier called for a change to the way its output is measured to exclude gas condensate, which accounts for about 7-8 percent of Russia’s total oil production, or about 800,000 bpd.