Saudi energy minister says OPEC close to agreement on extending oil deal

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OPEC is close to agreeing to extend an oil supply-cutting agreement beyond June, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said on Friday, though the question is how to accommodate participating non-OPEC countries.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia, and other non-members agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1 until the end of this month. They meet in coming weeks to decide their next move.

“On the OPEC side, a rollover is almost in the bag. The question is to calibrate with non-OPEC,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said at an economic forum in St Petersburg,

“I’m hoping it will be an easy decision and that we'll roll over, but if it's not, we will be flexible in terms of our position in the kingdom.” He said that he saw no need to deepen the supply cut.

The minister earlier said he was unwilling to engage in a race to increase oil output to compensate for lower prices, saying a return to the price-crash environment of 2014-15 would be unacceptable.

Falih said perfect stability on the oil market had not been achieved and that prices were being influenced by factors outside OPEC's control.

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