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Putin predicts oil at $100 even as OPEC+ seeks to stabilize global market

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Oil prices could reach $100 a barrel, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, adding that Moscow and its partners in the OPEC+ producer group are seeking to stabilize the global market.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, last week resisted calls to raise output faster and stuck to their plan for an increase of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in November.

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That sent crude prices to three-year highs, adding to inflationary pressures globally.

“This ($100 a barrel) is quite possible, it (the oil price) is now growing,” Putin told an energy forum on Wednesday. “We and our partners at OPEC+ are doing our utmost to stabilize the market.”

OPEC has trimmed its world oil demand growth forecast for 2021, now expecting it to increase by 5.82 million bpd, saying on Wednesday that the downward revision was mainly driven by data for the first three quarters of the year.

Sources close to OPEC+ previously told Reuters that the group stuck to its original plan partly because of concerns that demand and prices could weaken.

“We are not allowing sharp price fluctuations; this is not in our interests,” Putin said. “We are not trying to curb production for the prices to skyrocket ... We are standing for smooth and balanced movements (in oil output).”

Brent crude eased to $82.50 a barrel on Wednesday, pressured by demand concerns.

“We think the price won’t be higher,” Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told reporters separately in Moscow.

Despite big consumers such as the United States and India calling for higher output, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Moscow’s top negotiator at OPEC+, on Wednesday said the group was sticking to its announced plan.

“We are acting under an agreed schedule. Consolidated agreement was to add 400,000 bpd,” Novak said when asked whether higher output was planned to cool rising prices.

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