Russia does not rule out returning to oil talks with Saudi Arabia

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Moscow may return to oil negotiations with Saudi Arabia after talks collapsed last month, which, coupled with the spread of the new coronavirus, dragged oil prices to their 18-year lows.

Speaking to Echo Moskvy radio station, Novak also said that Russia would continue discussions with the United States on oil markets.

“This is one of the options and we do not rule this out,” he said when asked about the possibility of a resumption of talks with Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices LCOc1 fell nearly 70% from January highs as lockdowns due to the coronavirus hammered demand and as Saudi Arabia and Russia have flooded the market in a race for market share after a deal they engineered on supply curbs broke down.

On Tuesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette spoke with Novak about the price slump and they agreed to hold discussions involving other major world oil producers and consumers.

The call occurred a day after U.S. President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed in a phone conversation to have their top energy officials discuss global oil market turmoil.

“We agreed to stay in constant contact, to work out joint measures, which would facilitate stabilisation on the market in nearest future,” Novak said on Thursday.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Darya Korsunskaya; Editing by Jon Boyle and Philippa Fletcher