Russia Pipeline Chief Says Let's Talk to OPEC About Output

Reuters

MOSCOW, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Russian officials have decided they should talk to Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries about output cuts to bolster oil prices, the head of Russia's pipeline monopoly said on Wednesday, remarks that spurred a sharp rise in prices.

Oil futures surged 5 percent after the comments by Nikolai Tokarev, head of oil pipeline monopoly Transneft, which gave the first hint of possible cooperation between the top non-OPEC oil producer and the cartel to try to reverse a record glut.

Brent crude rose $1.61 to $33.40 a barrel by 12:20 p.m. EST (1720 GMT), after a session low of $30.83. It was also boosted by U.S. demand following a blizzard.

But there was still a long journey from starting discussions to actual cuts by Russian oil producers, with many of them saying reducing output was technically very difficult and could lead to Russia losing market share to its competitors.

Tokarev said a meeting of oil executives and government officials in Moscow on Tuesday had reached the conclusion that talks with OPEC were needed to shore up the oil price.

"At the meeting there was discussion in particular about the oil price and what steps we should take collectively to change the situation for the better, including negotiations within the framework of OPEC as a whole, and bilaterally," RIA news agency quoted Tokarev as saying.

"The main initiative is being shown by, of course, our Saudi partners. They are the main negotiators. That means that they are the ones we need to discuss this with first of all," he was quoted as saying.


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