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'We will be easing our ceilings back,' Saudi energy minister Falih says of OPEC oil cuts

Moscow — Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih on Thursday expressed confidencethat OPEC and its non-OPEC partners will reach an agreement on graduallyincreasing output and loosening quotas when they meet next week in Vienna.

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"I think it's inevitable," Falih told reporters after he met with Russiancounterpart Alexander Novak ahead of the Russia-Saudi Arabia World Cupopener in Moscow. "I think it will be a reasonable, moderate agreement. It'snot going to be anything outlandish. We will be easing our ceilings back."

But he declined to reveal any specific proposals that are beingconsidered.

"We will see where we go, but I think we'll come to an agreement," Falihsaid. "As usual, we'll do the right thing."

OPEC meets June 22 in Vienna to decide on the future of its productioncut agreement, which committed the bloc along with 10 non-OPEC countries,led by Russia, to a 1.8 million b/d supply cut.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have been keen to pump more barrels to moderateoil prices and prevent a supply gap from continued production declines inVenezuela and the potential impact of US sanctions on Iran, which snap backNovember 5.

But Iran, Venezuela and Iraq have vowed to oppose any moves to raiseproduction, saying the market remains amply supplied.

--Herman Wang,

--Nadia Rodova,

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,