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Russian Minister Sees Possible Extension of Deal To Cut Oil Output

The Russian energy minister says his country will consider extending a deal with OPEC to cut oil output further into next year if supplies continue to glut the market and keep prices down.

"If we see that the market is imbalanced, we will consider an extension," Aleksandr Novak told reporters on September 5 on the sidelines of a forum in the Far East city of Vladivostok.

"We will make such a decision if [it is determined that an extension is] needed," he said.

Oil prices edged higher after Novak's comments, along with similar remarks made earlier by Iranian energy officials.

Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and several other producers outside OPEC joined Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and other cartel members in a November 2015 agreement to cut global production in an effort to boost lagging prices.

After initial success, oil prices have fallen below $50 a barrel in recent months, hit by concerns of higher production in the United States, which was not part of the deal, and ramped-up output from other countries.

The current deal to cut supply runs through March 2018.

Following a July 24 meeting, Novak said that "some countries are not yet fully implementing" the production cuts, aimed at reducing total output by 1.8 million barrels a day.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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