OPEC Chief: Confident Russia Will Join Production Cut

By Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Mohammad Barkindo on Tuesday dismissed fears Russia will derail the highly anticipated plan to limit oil production, saying the country has been very active in trying to stabilize the struggling oil market . Speaking at the sidelines of the "Oil & Money" conference in London, the cartel chief said he'll meet with Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Monday to discuss the details in how to cut oil output. "Russia is a very important player. And Russia has been very active in building this consensus [to limit production]. They have played a key role since Doha, after Doha, before Algiers and in Algiers," Barkindo said. "We heard from Russian president [Vladimir Putin] in Istanbul, making a very firm commitment of their contribution in the effort to restore the market balance," he added. Putin last week said he was ready to join OPEC in curbing oil production, but Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin later said he wouldn't support a deal. Rosneft accounts for 40% of Russia's oil production. The internal disagreements cast doubt over whether OPEC's plan to stabilize the oil market would come to fruition - a concern Barkindo brushed off at the London conference. "The issue of them pulling out does not arise, because they have been at the forefront together with our member countries in the run up to Algiers. They have endorsed the decision in Algiers. As a matter of fact, Russia is sending a very high level official to the high level committee on the 29th of this month," he said. OPEC members are meeting in Vienna on Oct. 28-29 to discuss how to implement its output accord agreed in Algiers. The details are expected to get the final signoff at OPEC's meeting in November.

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