Kuwait says will commit to oil freeze if major producers take part

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait will commit to a potential global oil production freeze if major oil producers, including Iran, also agree to join the pact, the Gulf OPEC member’s acting oil minister said on Tuesday.

OPEC leader Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC producer Russia, the world’s two largest oil exporters, said last month they would freeze output at January levels to prop up prices if other nations agreed to join the first global oil pact in 15 years.

“If there is an agreement, Kuwait will commit to the freeze,” Anas al-Saleh told reporters in Kuwait city.

Asked what would happen if not all the main producers joined in the freeze deal, he said: “I’ll go full power if there’s no agreement. Every barrel I produce I’ll sell.”

Brent crude futures were trading below $40 per barrel Tuesday.

The Saudi-Russian accord has so far failed to have a dramatic impact on crude prices, partly because OPEC’s third-largest producer Iran plans to raise production after the lifting of international sanctions in January.

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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that a meeting between OPEC and other leading oil producers to discuss freezing oil output could take place between March 20 and April 1. Novak said the meeting could take place in Russia, Vienna or Doha.

Saleh said Kuwait has not received a formal invitation yet but “we will attend” if the meeting of oil producers proved to be “tangible”.

Kuwait is currently producing 3 million barrels of oil per day, Saleh said.

The Gulf Arab state has plans to raise its oil production capacity to 4 million bpd by 2020.

Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Catherine Evans