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Saudi raps oil producers over flouting of output cuts

Saudi Arabia has been shouldering the burden of oil output cuts that came into effect in January, but other producers -- notably Nigeria and Iraq -- stand accused of exceeding their quotas (AFP Photo/KARIM SAHIB)

Abu Dhabi (AFP) - OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia urged oil producers on Thursday to comply with output cuts decided last year in a bid to stabilise a slumping oil market and support prices.

"Every country should live up to its commitments," new Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said as a committee of producers charged with monitoring the cuts and assessing the oil market opened talks.

Riyadh has been shouldering the burden of existing production cuts, but other nations -- notably Nigeria and Iraq -- are accused of exceeding their quotas.

Prince Abdulaziz told the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) meeting in Abu Dhabi that it was imperative to restore stability in the oil market where prices have slumped to below $60 a barrel.

The 24-member OPEC and non-OPEC alliance decided last year to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January 2019, to boost prices after they fell by more than 40 percent.

The cuts were extended by nine months until the end of March but that move failed to invigorate the market.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the OPEC+ alliance has managed in the past to "adapt and react to the changing market conditions."

Novak, whose country is the largest producer in the group, said producers are determined to achieve stability in the oil market.

The JMMC does not take decisions but makes recommendations for action which will be considered by the full OPEC+ ministerial meeting in December.

The Saudi energy ministry said on Twitter that Prince Abdulaziz's comment "underscores the key objective of the kingdom’s oil policy, which is to achieve market stability & stresses the importance of maintaining a high degree of cohesiveness among OPEC and non-OPEC producers, led by Russia."

United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suheil al-Mazrouei said on Sunday that the group will do whatever necessary to stabilise the market, and that further production cuts could be considered.

However, he admitted the issue was not entirely in the hands of the world's top producers, with the market no longer governed by supply but being influenced more by US-China trade tensions and geopolitical factors.