Russia: oil producers agree no need to hold early OPEC+ meeting

FILE PHOTO: Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak arrives at the OPEC headquarters in Vienna, Austria December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday there was a common understanding among global oil producers that it would now no longer make sense for OPEC and non-OPEC producers to meet before their planned gathering in early March.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers, known as OPEC+, had been considering bringing forward their next meeting to February from March 6 after oil demand was hit by the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Novak, who discussed oil markets with his Saudi counterpart this week, said Moscow was still talking to other countries about the situation on the oil market.

“If we’re talking about the timing of the meeting, there is now a common understanding that it is no longer advisable to bring it forward to an earlier date,” Novak told reporters.

“The meetings that were my opinion, should be held within those dates,” he said. “There isn’t anything extraordinary enough to change the date,” he added.

OPEC has been trying to persuade Russia to join deeper oil production cuts. Moscow has said it will disclose its stance in the coming days.

Novak said Russia was still discussing its position and did not say if Moscow would support deeper cuts.

“We’re not going to make the announcement yet, we still have two weeks. We will see how the situation develops, what will happen on the market, what forecasts there will be by this time,” he said.

“The situation is quite uncertain and is changing rapidly.”

Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Maria Kiselyova, Kirsten Donovan