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Russia Says Output Freeze Not Needed If Oil Prices Stay Around $50

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said Moscow sees no need for talks with other major oil exporters on freezing output as long as prices stay around $50 a barrel.

If prices fall, then Russia will consider resuming discussions with the OPEC oil cartel, Novak said on September 1, according to the ministry’s press service.

His comments helped send oil prices down by $1.44 to $45.45 a barrel in London trading.

Novak last month said he was open to discussing an output freeze with OPEC despite their failure to agree on such a measure in April.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is due to meet again in Algiers later this month.

After the April freeze proposal failed, Russia said it may boost crude output to a new post-Soviet record of almost 11 million barrels a day this year.

Russia set its preliminary target for next year at 10.5 million to 11 million. The state is now weighing a new tax increase for its oil industry in 2017 with a decision possible in the fall as the nation’s economy struggles with its longest recession in two decades.

Based on reporting by Bloomberg, AFP, and RIA Novosti