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OPEC, non-cartel nations may extend oil cut another 6 months

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — OPEC members and non-cartel nations are leaving open the possibility of a six-month extension on a deal to reduce oil production, according to a statement Sunday by a committee of ministers from OPEC and other oil-producing nations.

The joint committee, which met in Kuwait, said that as of February, OPEC and participating non-OPEC countries achieved a conformity level of 94 percent on a voluntary six-month cut in output. The statement said the figure "demonstrates the willingness of all participating countries to continue their cooperation."

The committee said it "encouraged all participating countries to press on toward 100 percent conformity."

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in late November to cut its production by 1.2 million barrels a day, the first reduction agreed to by the cartel since 2008. Eleven other non-OPEC oil-producing countries pledged in December to cut an additional 558,000 barrels a day, reaching an overall reduction of 1.8 million barrels per day.

The statement Sunday from the meeting in Kuwait said that while the deal came into effect at the start of the year, it can be extended for another six months, "depending on the status of supply and demand, including global inventories."

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak was also quoted saying there's "94 percent" compliance on the production cut among OPEC members and non-cartel nations, as well as discussions about continuing the cuts to boost crude prices. In comments made in Kuwait, Russia's TASS news agency quoted Novak as saying discussions on extending the cuts continue.

Crude oil sold for over $100 a barrel in the summer of 2014, before bottoming out below $30 a barrel in January 2016. It now trades at just under $50 a barrel.