Oman Is Ready To Extend Cuts

Oman has stated that it is ready to extend its 40,000 barrel per day crude output cut to the end of the year if necessary as part of continued cooperation with OPEC and other independent producers, oil minister Mohammed al-Rumhy said Wednesday. Muscat, Al-Rumhy told the Omani News Agency, would "maintain its oil production cut under an agreement with OPEC until the end of the current year to help preserve prices and ensure stability."

He said Oman "supports OPEC's strategy to preserve crude prices and any steps OPEC might take in order to guarantee oil price stability on world oil markets." Al-Rumhy also appealed to other independent producers to cooperate with the cartel, saying oil price stability depended on cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

Oman, Russia, Norway, Mexico and Angola implemented oil output cuts totaling 462,500 barrels per day on January 1, 2002. OPEC's own 1.5 million barrel per day cut is scheduled to run through June, but some ministers are suggesting it may be necessary to extend the cuts until the end of 2002. Norway and Mexico plan to keep their respective 150,000 barrel per day and 100,000 barrel per day cuts going until the end of June.

OPEC is persuade Russia to extend its 150,000 barrel per day cut beyond the end of March, and recently sent two top officials to Moscow for talks with the Russian government and industry leaders. But OPEC president Rilwanu Lukman and secretary-general Ali Rodriguez failed to get a firm commitment from Moscow that the cuts would be maintained until the end of June. The Russian authorities said they needed to study the situation further.