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Algeria calls for quick reduction in oil production as OPEC+ prepares to meet

Algerian Energy Minister Mohamed Arkab on April 5 appealed to global oil producers' "sense of responsibility" to forge an agreement on production cuts to rebalance a market upended by the coronavirus pandemic and a Saudi-Russian price war.

In a statement, Arkab said that Algeria, which holds the rotating OPEC presidency for this year, "will work, as in the past, to bring together the points of view, seek consensual solutions and contribute to any effort that will stabilize the oil market, for the benefit of producer and consumer countries."

OPEC, Russia and nine other allies are scheduled to hold an emergency meeting via webinar April 9 to discuss a production cut accord and a truce between Riyadh and Moscow on plans to flood the market.

Tensions between Riyadh and Moscow have been running high in recent days after Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 3 accused Saudi Arabia of boosting its production to steal the market share of US shale companies — a charge angrily refuted by Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and other senior officials.

The OPEC+ coalition is also hoping to get the buy-in of the US, Canada, Norway and other producers, though US President Donald Trump has indicated that American oil companies will not get involved.

Arkab, who has been calling for an emergency meeting for weeks, said any production adjustments should be "global, massive and immediate."

The "double shock" of the coronavirus' impact on oil demand and the Saudi-Russian price war "caused a drastic drop in oil prices, a drop which will be even more accentuated in a few weeks, when oil storage capacities on land and at sea will be saturated, leading to a lasting dislocation of the oil industry," the minister said.