Russia's Novak says to discuss possible exit from OPEC+ deal in Oman

FILE PHOTO: Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak addresses a news conference after an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Ministers from leading OPEC and non-OPEC producers will discuss the possibility of a smooth exit from a global deal to cut oil output next week, Russia’s energy minister said on Friday.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are leading a joint OPEC and non-OPEC effort to limit production to prop up prices. Brent crude oil futures have risen by more than 50 percent since mid-2017, hitting $70 a barrel this week for the first time since December 2014.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the current oil price level was short term and he would discuss the situation at a ministerial monitoring committee meeting in Oman, which is scheduled for Jan. 21 next week.

Asked whether ministers would discuss a possible exit from the deal, he said: “I don’t think anyone is going to stop us from discussing these issues, and we will be able to discuss them in terms of the mechanisms which can be considered.”

The head of one of Russia’s largest oil producers, Lukoil , said earlier on Friday Russian should start exiting the oil pact if crude prices remain at $70 per barrel for more than six months.

But Novak said not all surplus supply had been removed from the oil market.

“We see that the market is becoming balanced. We see that the market surplus is decreasing, but the market is not completely balanced yet,” he told reporters. “Of course, we need to continue monitoring the situation.”

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Jack Stubbs; Editing by David Evans