OPEC and Russia seek closer ties


OPEC is willing to cooperate with major oil exporter Russia, OPEC’s secretary- general said on Wednesday after Moscow sent a high-level delegation to its meeting.

Russia often attends OPEC as an observer and was represented on Wednesday by the influential Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin. Russia presented OPEC with a memorandum of understanding for future cooperation. “As far as OPEC is concerned, we are willing to review this memorandum of understanding. We will try to see how we can cooperate through this MoU,” OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri told reporters.

The prospect of closer ties between Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting countries may dismay consuming countries. Moscow’s desire for closer ties with OPEC come as its relations with the West have deteriorated over issues such as the conflict in Georgia. But Badri, speaking after OPEC agreed at its meeting that ended early on Wednesday to a surprise cut in oil output, said that closer ties between Russia and OPEC would not affect consumer countries. “I don’t think our cooperation with Russia will affect the consumer, because as far as we are concerned we are trying to encourage dialogue between producers and consumers,” he said.


Badri plans to travel to Moscow in October with OPEC experts to conduct a joint workshop on supply, demand and market issues, he told reporters at a briefing at OPEC’s headquarters. He said that Russia’s invitation had been extended before the conflict in Georgia. Russia is the world’s second-largest oil exporter, after OPEC member Saudi Arabia. OPEC together with Russia pump about half of the world’s oil.

OPEC said on Wednesday it would effectively cut oil supplies by half a million barrels per day, following a steep drop in prices towards $100 a barrel from a record high of $147 in July. Russia earlier this decade agreed to cut its oil supplies alongside OPEC to help support oil prices, but it has not done so in recent years.

Sechin was quoted on Wednesday as saying Russia should widen cooperation with OPEC to ensure global energy security as Moscow is interested in stable oil prices to sustain its production. “Broad cooperation with OPEC is one of Russia’s priorities,” Interfax news agency quoted him as telling reporters in Vienna. “OPEC is one of Russia’s key partners on the global oil market. It is very important for us to create mechanisms of regular dialogue mainly with the goal to ensure global energy security,” Itar-Tass quoted Sechin as saying. (Reuters)

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