Russia Has Yet to Commit to OPEC Cuts

OPEC Secretary General Ali Rodriguez said that talks are continuing with Russia to convince the world's No. 2 oil exporter to continue export cuts into the second quarter of the year. Russia has not yet given a positive answer to OPEC's request. Russia says that its oil policy is based on a "fair" price corridor.

Rodriguez said Russia still has time to analyze the situation on the oil market. But he declined to clarify whether Moscow has given OPEC a date for the decision. He said the most important thing for oil producing countries is to avoid a price slump, like the one that occurred after the September 11 terror attacks in the U.S.

The secretary general highly approved Russia's efforts to stabilize world oil prices by slashing crude exports by 150,000 barrels per day in the first quarter of this year. OPEC President Rilwanu Lukman, who accompanied Rodriguez's trip to Moscow, said that regardless of the fact that Russia is not a member of OPEC, "we work on one market and our interests to a large extent coincide." Moscow said it will make a decision only on condition that promises to reduce exports by other oil producers are being kept.

Russia's attitude will depend on the situation of the market and particularly of the oil exports to countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States, First Deputy Energy Minister Oleg Gordeyev said in a statement.