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PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Russia, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Russia wants to influence global oil prices through output forecasts and mothballing deposits for future development, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Thursday.
Shmatko said Russia’s policy would not involve coordinated action with OPEC states, although he said Russia admired OPEC’s influence on prices and should do its part to smooth the oil price “roller coaster ride” of recent months.
“We think that since we have such a significant position in the high society of world oil, a Russian factor should appear. We want to formulate our approach,” Shmatko told reporters.
“We think we should be more actively engaged in the market ... From the point of view of forecasts we could express our view, perhaps even actively engage in that in a practical way,” Shmatko said. “The idea of mothballing oilfields seems very interesting to me.”
Shmatko said the ministry would be ready to unveil its approach at the OPEC summit in Algeria in December this year.
Russia, the world’s second largest crude exporter, sent a high level delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, a key ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, to a September OPEC meeting and has promised to do the same when the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets in December. Falling prices are of particular concern to Russia as its oil companies struggle to keep oil output growing and the government tries to balance its need for rising production with a policy of heavy taxation on the oil sector.
High taxes have discouraged capital expenditure to develop Russian oilfields. Shmatko said the decline in prices and tight global credit conditions had created fresh concern about investment in production.
“We are attentively analysing the situation on markets from the point of view of the oil price and the financial problems that have recently appeared,” Shmatko said.
“I have heard from several oil companies that it might be necessary to do some work on analysing possible revisions to capex. The government has already taken unprecedented steps to support the companies, although they are temporary.”
In the wake of a liquidity crisis the government slashed oil export duties, which lag moves in crude markets and continued to reflect far higher prices, to try to return some cash to the industry and free up oil revenue for the economy. (Reporting by Denis Dyomkin; Writing by Maria Kiselyova and Melissa Akin)