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Russian energy minister says no decision yet on whether to extend OPEC+ deal: report

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Russian energy minister says no decision yet on whether to extend OPEC+ deal: report

Moscow — Russian energy minister Alexander Novak said Friday that OPEC and non-OPEC countries taking part in the crude production cut deal have yet to decide whether to extend the deal beyond the first half of 2019, and need to conduct further analysis, Russian news agency Prime reported.

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When asked if the deal may be extended, Novak said: "There is no answer to this question yet...Firstly it is a ministerial decision and it cannot be taken [at the meeting] in Baku," according to the report.

A key six-country OPEC /non-OPEC market monitoring committee co-chaired Novak and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih will meet March 18 in Baku.

Earlier this week, Falih said he was "leaning toward the likelihood of an extension in the second half [of 2019]," though he added that the bloc would ensure "no unnecessary tightening in the market."

Novak said Friday that only two months into the current agreement it is too early to assess whether an extension is necessary.

"We need to look at how events will develop over the first and second quarters, and the forecasts for the summer and fall periods. It's unprofessional to pronounce assessments too early," Novak said, according to the report.

Novak is meeting representatives of Russian energy companies Friday to discuss the crude production agreement. Russia has committed to cut around 230,000 b/d from October 2018 volumes of 11.421 million b/d. It is introducing the cut gradually and expects to meet the target by April.

-- Rosemary Griffin,

-- Edited by James Leech,

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