OPEC meets non-OPEC nations for oil talks, Russia still on board

By Features Reuters

Officials from OPEC and non-member oil producing countries met on Saturday aiming to build support for an OPEC plan to reduce output one day after OPEC members were unable to agreed on how to implement the deal.

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Arriving for the meeting with OPEC's High Level Committee of exporters, only the representative of non-OPEC Azerbaijan made comments supportive of the need for producer action to help prop up prices.

"Today we will discuss the recognized positions of countries, first of all the OPEC countries," Azerbaijan's energy minister Natig Aliyev told reporters outside OPEC's headquarters.

"Just one week ago we met with the president of Venezuela," he added, in reference to the south American OPEC member which has been pushing for measures to support prices.

"Venezuela and Azerbaijan agree that some measures will be taken to stabilize the market. We agreed the price of oil can be around $60 per barrel."

Oil is trading closer to $50 a barrel, less than half its price of mid-2014, weighed down by persistent oversupply and squeezing the incomes of exporting nations.

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Other non-OPEC officials did not mention joint producer action.

The deputy minister for Kazakhstan, asked what he hoped the meeting would achieve, said: "We just hope the price will react and it will increase."

Brazil's representative said his country was attending only as an observer.

"Brazilian production will increase in the next few years," said Brazilian official Marcio Felix.

Russia, which is one of the world's top producers and has been supporting action with OPEC to prop up prices, is also attending the meeting, so far without making public comment in Vienna.

Two OPEC sources said Russian energy officials told the gathering that Moscow was still willing to freeze its output levels if OPEC agreed to cap its production.

"Russia is ready but they want to see in detail figures agreed for yesterday," one of the sources said. Another source said Russia would freeze if OPEC agreed to reduce output.

On Friday, an OPEC-only meeting of officials to work out the details of a plan to reduce oil production failed to reach agreement after hours of talks amid objections by Iran which has been reluctant to even freeze its output levels, sources said.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed last month in Algiers to reduce OPEC oil production to between 32.50 million and 33 million barrels per day, OPEC's first output cut since 2008, in an effort to help prop up prices.

The OPEC High Committee does not decide policy but will make recommendations to the next OPEC ministerial meeting on Nov. 30.

Other non-OPEC nations sending representatives to Saturday's talks are Mexico, Oman and Bolivia.

(Additonal reporting by Rania El Gamal; editing by Jason Neely)