July 1, 2019 / 10:59 AM / 21 days ago

Iraq oil minister says OPEC members seek inventories control, market balance

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban attends a news conference after the OPEC 14th Meeting of the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Waleed Ali/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iraq’s oil minister said on Monday that his government and the rest of OPEC seek to control global oil inventories and restore balance to the oil market which faces “huge challenges”, according to a ministry statement.

Minister Thamer Ghadhban met his Saudi and Russian counterparts on the sidelines of an OPEC meeting in Vienna on Monday. They discussed oil market developments and exchanged views on extending oil supply cuts, the statement said.

OPEC is meeting on Monday and will hold talks on Tuesday with Russia and other allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, which Ghadhban said would involve discussing production cuts, compliance of oil producers and market movements.

“Targets set by the oil producers have not been reached yet due to the huge challenges that face the global oil market, and we seek with the rest of (OPEC’s) members to control global inventories and restore balance to the market to support oil prices,” Ghadhban was quoted as saying.

These decisions should be taken unanimously by OPEC’s members, he added.

OPEC and its allies led by Russia have been reducing oil output since 2017 to prevent prices from sliding amid soaring production from the United States, which this year has become the world’s top producer ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia.

OPEC and its allies look set to extend oil supply cuts this week at least until the end of 2019 as Iran joined top producers Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia in endorsing a policy aimed at propping up crude oil prices amid a weakening global economy.

Reporting by Dahlia Nehme; editing by Jason Neely

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