Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yusufov Coy With OPEC


Energy Minister Igor Yusufov

With world oil prices slipping and a flood of Iraqi oil on the horizon, Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said Wednesday that Russia was prepared to join other oil-producing nations in cutting back exports if prices dropped so low as to jeopardize the state budget.

He declined to name that price level, saying only that Russia considers a range of $20 to $25 per barrel optimal for both the domestic economy and consumers worldwide.

If an output cut is necessary to prop up prices, he said, the state is prepared to use the export pipelines it controls to force private oil companies to reduce production.

At a news conference wrapping up OPEC president Adbullah al-Attiyah's visit to Russia, Yusufov said the state is quite pleased with the booming private oil sector, but "when it comes to defending the budget," such satisfaction would not prevent it from using the tools at its disposal to intervene in their policies.

Brent crude for delivery in June traded at $25.88 per barrel Wednesday.

At an extraordinary meeting on June 11 OPEC will discuss whether to cut output in order to make room for the return of Iraqi crude. Russia has been invited to Qatar's capital, Doha, to take part in the talks in for the first time, along with six other non-OPEC producers including Mexico and Norway. Norway has declined.

"I have been brainwashing my friend [Yusufov] that Russia should join OPEC," al-Attiyah joked to reporters.

His Russian counterpart, however, seemed less amused.

"What they want is what they want, but what we want is a different issue. All of it is a subject for negotiations," Yusufov said.