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Russia’s Oil Chief Urges Nigeria, Libya To Join Output Cuts

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak says Nigeria and Libya should join an agreement brokered by OPEC, Russia, and others to cut oil output as soon as the two countries' output stabilizes.

Novak made the comments on July 23 in an interview with The Financial Times ahead of a meeting by OPEC and non-OPEC oil ministers in St. Petersburg on July 24 to discuss the effects on pricing as production rises in Nigeria and Libya.

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.

The effort has had limited success, especially as production ramps up in Nigeria and Libya, along with rising shale output in the United States, which is not part of the agreement.

I think that these countries (Nigeria and Libya) should join other responsible oil producers and contribute to the market stabilization initiative as they reach a stable level of output, Novak told The Financial Times.

We believe that once oil output in Libya and Nigeria stabilizes, there will be less uncertainty on the market as to their future moves, said Novak, who added that the issue would be on the agenda of the July 24 meeting.

The Arab News reported that some ministers may seek to have the two countries formally asked to join the accord.

The agreement, which seeks to cut total output by 1.8 million barrels a day, initially helped lift oil prices. But they are down about 13 percent in 2017.

Separately, Novak told the Financial Times that Russia was looking to continue widening its ties to Saudi Arabia's energy sector.

Russian and Saudi companies are exploring opportunities in both oil and gas sectors, he said. We also remain proactive in our dialogue with our Saudi partners on technology cooperation between our countries.

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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