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Russian Energy Chief Urges Oil Producers To Comply With Agreed Output Cuts

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak in St. Petersburg on July 24
Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak in St. Petersburg on July 24

Russia’s energy minister has called on oil producers to show greater discipline in adhering to agreed-upon output cuts designed to raise the price of oil.

"Despite the high level of compliance with [the production] agreement, we insist on all countries fulfilling their obligations 100 percent," Aleksandr Novak said on July 24 after a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC partners in St. Petersburg.

Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and several other producers outside OPEC joined Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and other cartel members in a November 2015 agreement to cut global production in an effort to boost lagging prices.

After initial success, oil prices have fallen below $50 a barrel in recent weeks, hit by concerns of higher production in the United States, which was not part of the deal, and ramped-up output from other countries.

Following the July 24 meeting, Novak said that "some countries are not yet fully implementing" the production cuts, aimed at reducing total output by 1.8 million barrels a day.

A joint statement stated there was "room for improvement by some participating producing countries." It called for all of them to "promptly reach full conformity."

OPEC members Libya and Nigeria have been exempted from the cuts because of the countries’ political and economic instability.

Nigeria agreed during the meetings to join the agreement as soon as its production reaches 1.8 million barrels a day from the current 1.7 million.

Libyan output would continue to be exempt, officials said, as its production was unlikely to exceed 1 million barrels in the near future.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters

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