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Russia to continue cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced - Putin

Russia to continue cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced - Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an annual VTB Capital "Russia Calling" Investment Forum in Moscow, Russia, November 20, 2019. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS -
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POOL(Reuters)
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By Olesya Astakhova and Vladimir Soldatkin

MOSCOW (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and OPEC have ‘a common goal’ of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important – and I want to underline this – predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Wednesday that the kingdom’s oil policy aims to promote stability in global oil markets, and serves consumers and producers alike. It plans to announce pricing for an initial public offering of its crown asset, Saudi Aramco, also on Dec. 5.

In October, Russia cut its oil output <C-RU-OUT> to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17-11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal.

Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly despite the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer. Currently, the United States is the world’s top oil producer.

“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said. “There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer – this is not our goal.”

Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tonnes of oil this year (11.17-11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.

Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak told reporters.

Russia includes gas condensate – a side product also known as a ‘light oil’ produced when companies extract natural gas – into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.

As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing. Gas condensate now accounts for around 6% of Russian oil production.

Novak told reporters that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.

“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.

Three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting. Reuters uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per tonne of oil.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Vladimir Soldatkin, Olesya Astakhova and Anastasia Lyrchikova; writing by Maria Kiselyova and Katya Golubkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Susan Fenton)

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