Norway Will Review Production Cuts in June

As the world's third-largest oil exporter, Norway will decide next month whether to extend oil production cuts imposed to help OPEC boost prices, an oil ministry spokeswoman said Tuesday. Norway agreed to reduce production by about 5 percent, or 150,000 barrels per day, for the January through June period to help OPEC cut supply to counter a price fall. "In December, we said the cuts would last for six months and that we would review them in good time before they end (on June 30)," Oil Ministry spokeswoman Sissel Edvardsen said. "There was always a time limit."

Norway, which can produce about 3.2 million barrels per day from the fields off its western coast, is not a member of OPEC but often cooperates with the group's efforts to regulate oil markets. Oil prices have risen in recent weeks to about $26 a barrel, within the range OPEC deems acceptable.

Non-OPEC member Russia, the second-largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, said last week that it would lift its own 150,000 barrel per day production curb because prices have improved. That led to concern within OPEC that other nonmembers, including Norway and Mexico, also might lift their voluntary limits and cause a new oil glut with lower prices.

"No decision has been made," said Edvardsen. She said the ministry would review the market and announce a decision in mid-June.