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OPEC To Meet With Russia Around March 20 On Output Freeze Plan

OPEC members will meet with Russian producers around March 20 for new talks on an oil output freeze in a move that should boost oil prices, Nigeria's petroleum minister said on March 3.

The comments by Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu at a conference in Abuja, Nigeria, spurred a rise in Brent crude prices to about $37 a barrel on March 4.

Nigeria has been one of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' strongest advocates of an output freeze to lift prices.

"We're beginning to see the price of crude inch up very slowly," Kachikwu said. "But if the meeting that we're scheduling, it should happen in Russia, between the OPEC and non-OPEC producers, happens about March 20, we should see some dramatic price movement."

"Both the Saudis and the Russians, everybody is coming back to the table," he said. "I think we're very humbled today to accept that if we get to a price of $50, it will be celebrated. That's a target that we have."

The Russian Energy Ministry on March 3 said it was ready for talks, but the date and venue had yet to be agreed.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Bloomberg

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