MOSCOW Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak will not attend an OPEC meeting on Wednesday, but stands ready to discuss potential co-operation with OPEC if the group of oil-producing countries strikes an output deal, the RIA news agency said on Tuesday.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets in Vienna at ministerial level on Wednesday to try to hammer out a deal to prop up prices that have halved since 2014. Russia is not an OPEC member.
OPEC experts ended a meeting on Monday without agreeing on concrete details of a cap in oil output..
"There is no point in this (going to Vienna on Nov. 30), we need OPEC to have their meeting (first)," RIA quoted Novak as saying. Russia was ready to discuss possible steps to collaborate with OPEC if and after the group struck a deal between its own members, said Novak.
A spokeswoman for the Russian energy ministry said Novak had always said his country did not attend OPEC meetings. The timing of possible talks between OPEC and non-OPEC producers was still being discussed, she said.
Oil ministers from Algeria and Venezuela were in Moscow on Tuesday for talks with Novak aimed at trying to persuade him of the need for a cut, rather than a freeze, in Russian oil output which has hit new post-Soviet highs in recent months.
(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Katya Golubkova/Andrew Osborn)