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Oil Prices Rally On News Of Russia, Saudi Arabia Meeting

Oil prices jumped by more than 2 percent on February 25 after Venezuela said top oil producers Russia and Saudi Arabia will meet again in mid-March to discuss their proposed output freeze.

Russia and OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Qatar announced last week a preliminary deal to freeze output at January levels, provided that other major producers followed suit.

However, Iran refused to go along, as it is seeking to ramp up production levels depressed for years by economic sanctions that were lifted last month.

Iran urged countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia, whose output is already running at record levels, to go ahead with the freeze, but insisted that it must be free to increase production back to presanction levels.

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said on February 25 that other producers understood Iran's objections and were looking at options other than a freeze for Tehran.

In 2011, Iran produced 3.6 million barrels of oil per day and ranked second in OPEC with daily exports of 2.5 million barrels. After the sanctions were introduced in 2012, production fell to 2.7 million barrels per day, the lowest in 25 years.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and TASS