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Russia Balks At Continued Oil Production Cut Alliance with OPEC

Julianne Geiger

Russia is dragging its feet over the oil production cut deal that it has reached with OPEC and other non-OPEC countries.

The deal, which was to go into effect on January first, originally had Russia’s reluctant backing, with the country conceding in November that production cuts were in fact necessary to stabilize the oil markets. The backing was far short of being enthusiastic, and came after warnings that the cartel should not make any hasty decisions on new production cuts and even questioning the necessity of such a deal.

After agreeing to the cut 228,000 barrels per day, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak notified the media in January that it would not be able cut oil production that quickly, and that it could only cut 50,000 bpd and 60,000 bpd that month.

Two reports today hinted that the deal between Russia and OPEC may be shortened.

Gazprom Neft CEO Alexander Dyukov on Thursday told media that he did not think the deal to cut oil would last long, and that it was not even considering the cuts in its long-term plans, according to Reuters. Gazprom Neft said it had plans to maintain or even increase production after 2020.

Saudi Arabia is having a difficult time keeping Russia on board, with Russia apparently interested in a rather short extension of just three months come June, according to Reuters. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak reportedly informed the Saudi Energy Minister, Khalid al-Falih, that he could not guarantee an extension of the production cut pact through the rest of the year, saying he was “under too much pressure internally to end the cuts,” Reuters’ anonymous source claims.

The source claimed that they may not know until the last minute if Russia will stay in the deal at all.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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