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OPEC, Russia ‘Ahead Of Schedule’ On Oil Output Cuts

Russia says it has cut oil production by 100,000 barrels a day.
Russia says it has cut oil production by 100,000 barrels a day.

OPEC and Russian oil ministers say they are going faster and doing better than expected in their efforts to cut oil production and boost prices.

The ministers held an informal dinner in Vienna on January 21, a few hours before their planned meeting at OPEC headquarters the following day.

"We are ahead of schedule and we will continue," the Bloomberg news agency quoted Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak as saying. "We are doing our best to maximize participation in the fulfillment of the agreement."

Ministers said Russia has been able to reduce supply faster than expected, while Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Kuwait have already made deeper cuts than required in a deal signed on December 10.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said producers have already eliminated 1.5 million barrels a day from the market.

The TASS news agency quoted Novak as saying that Russia had cut production by about 100,000 barrels a day. Russian energy sources say the country's output is about 11.1 million barrels a day.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Algeria, and Venezuela along with non-OPEC nations Russia and Oman are meeting in the Austrian capital to set out ways of verifying that the 24 nations which signed the December accord are meeting their pledges of production cuts.

The producers are looking to cut a total of 1.8 million barrels a day from the market for six months in hopes of reducing the oversupply and raise prices.

International oil prices rose to an 18-month high of more than $58 a barrel after OPEC and several nonmember countries agreed to make the cuts.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Falih, the Saudi minister, cited the possibility of another production cut from OPEC countries this year if prices should begin to fall again.

Based on reporting by Bloomberg, Reuters, AP, and TASS
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