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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Joins Effort to Control Oil Prices

Russia is ready to cooperate on stabilizing oil prices having reached agreements at talks with Omani Oil Minister Said bin Ahmed al-Shanfari last week, First Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Anatoly Fomin said.


He gave no indication, however, that Russia planned any special effort to cut output or export as a result of the talks.


"Russia is very interested in stabilization of prices and is ready to cooperate with all who share this goal," he said Friday. Results should soon become evident, he added.


Fomin, who headed the Russian delegation at the talks on Thursday, declined to give details of the meeting with the Omani minister.


Shanfari has been visiting several non-OPEC oil producing countries to try to persuade them to join collective action to support the depressed market.


Both Britain and Norway have declined to give the Omani minister pledges of any measures to curb North Sea output. But Yemen, Egypt and Syria have said they would like to help.


"We discussed a number of questions and reached concrete agreements," Fomin said. "Above all, we consider these talks to have been very positive . . . the agenda was confidential.


"I would like to say that concrete results will become evident in the near future."


Crude output in Russia, the world's third biggest oil producer after the United States and Saudi Arabia, has been declining for the past five years due to financial problems.


A Russian Fuel and Energy Ministry spokesman said last week that he did not believe it was in Russia's interests to reduce output or exports of its main hard-currency earner. "On the contrary," he said.


Alexander Voronin, deputy minister in charge of foreign trade, said Russia is not expecting any concrete decisions to be taken rapidly.


"The question of whether Russia should reduce its crude exports will probably be tackled (at talks with Shanfari), though it is impossible for Russia to do so," he said.


Earlier this month, Voronin said Russia had no plans to cut crude oil exports to support depressed world prices. "Crude exports are Russia's main foreign exchange earner," he said.


World oil prices dropped to five-year lows this month because of oversupply. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries wants other producers to help it defend prices.


Shanfari, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday, has proposed a meeting of producers outside OPEC to discuss how to restore stability to world oil prices.


Russian crude oil output is expected to decline anyway to about 327 million tons (6.54 million barrels per day) in 1994, compared with about 350 million tons in 1993.


But exports outside the former Soviet Union could remain high. Hard-currency crude exports in 1993 have been officially estimated at about 80 million tons, up more than 20 percent from 1992.


The Economics Ministry expects 107 million tons will be exported to all destinations in 1994, including the Commonwealth of Independent States.