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Markets Rise On Russian, Saudi Talk Of Reviving Oil Output Freeze Plan

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak revived talk of an oil output freeze amid slumping prices.

A downturn in oil prices has prompted Russia and Saudi Arabia to start talking again about freezing output to try to stabilize prices.

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak boosted markets on August 15 by telling the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia is willing to work with the Saudis and would consider freezing production temporarily.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih last week revived talk of a freeze by saying the oil giant is ready to work with OPEC and states like Russia that are outside the oil cartel to stabilize the markets.

Russia, which pumps 10.85 million barrels a day of crude oil, and Saudi Arabia, which pumps 10.67 million daily, are the world's largest producers.

"The door remains open in case the need arises," Novak said. Previous oil production freeze talks in Doha in April "played a certain positive role" in boosting prices, he noted, though they failed to produce agreement.

Russia would only consider freezing output temporarily, however, at this time, Novak added.

Novak's comments sent premium crude prices up $1.25 to $45.74 a barrel in New York, while boosting London crude by $1.38 to $48.35 on August 15.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and TASS