Russia reaches almost full compliance with oil output cuts

VATUTINKI, Russia (Reuters) - Russia’s oil production cuts have reached almost 300,000 barrels per day, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday, in line with its pledge to curtail output as part of a global pact.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, along with Russia and other leading non-OPEC producers, pledged to cut output by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017 to shrink bloated inventories and support prices.

Novak said that on average, Russian oil production declined by 254,000 bpd from April 1-26 compared with the reference level of October.

“There will be a cut by 300,000 by the end of the month,” he said.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih, who has been on tour to the energy-rich ex-Soviet countries of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, said on Friday that Russia’s contribution to the output pact in April was good.

Falih met his Azeri counterpart Natig Aliyev on Thursday and both agreed to support continuing the agreement that was signed in December, the Saudi Energy Ministry said on its Twitter account.

Novak declined to comment on Friday on whether Russia would support any decision to extend the pact into the second half of the year.

Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Kevin O’Flynn and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Susan Thomas