June 6, 2018 / 2:55 PM / 8 months ago

Saudi Arabia 'revisiting' policy on oil output cuts, India says

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih addresses the media flanked by India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan (L) and Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser (R) during International Energy Forum (IEF) to announce Saudi Aramco's participation in the planned refinery project in western state of Maharashtra, in New Delhi, India, April 11, 2018. Picture taken April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s oil minister said on Wednesday Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers are “revisiting” their output-cutting policy, referring to a discussion he had with his Saudi counterpart.

“For the first time, the Saudi oil minister called us and said ‘we are revisiting our policy on oil output cuts’,” Indian Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

This follows news on Tuesday that the U.S. government had unofficially asked Saudi Arabia and some other OPEC producers to raise oil output.

OPEC and non-member producers led by Russia had agreed to curb output by about 1.8 million barrels per day until the end of 2018 to reduce global stocks, but the inventory overhang is now near OPEC’s target.

Ministers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other participants in the output agreement meet in Vienna on June 22-23 to decide policy.

Oil prices hit a 3-1/2-year high of $80 per barrel in mid-May on concerns about a possible supply shortage fueled by new U.S. sanctions against OPEC member Iran.

Around the same time, when India had expressed frustration over rising oil prices, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Pradhan that supporting global economic growth was one of the Gulf nation’s key goals.

India imports almost 80 percent of the crude it consumes.

Pradhan, talking to reporters in New Delhi on Wednesday, said India was awaiting clarity on the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude exports.

Reporting by Nidhi Verma; Editing by Dale Hudson

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