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OPEC, Russia Fail To Reach Agreement On Production Cuts; Global Crude Prices Plunge 10 Percent

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RUSSIA -- OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo (file photo)

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has failed to reach agreement with Russia on a deal to cut oil production, sending world prices plummeting further.

The new coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the global economy has worried the oil cartel and Moscow, and both sides had hoped to agree to curtail production and stem the drop.

But OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said on March 6 that the two-day meeting in Vienna had adjourned without result.

"At the end of the day, there was the general painful decision of the joint conference to adjourn the meeting," Barkindo said.

The international benchmark for crude oil dropped by 10 percent after the meeting adjourned. The price has dropped by nearly one third since the start of the year.

The 14 OPEC member countries had wanted to cut output by 1.5 million barrels a day, or about 1.5 percent of world production. But OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran say they need nonmember giants like Russia to take 500,000 barrels of that cut themselves.

Russia, which can tolerate low oil prices better than Saudi Arabia, was reluctant to agree to the cut.

Moscow is also reluctant to cut output of its main revenue-making export.

"From April 1 neither OPEC nor non-OPEC have restrictions," Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak told reporters after the Vienna talks.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters.
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