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Russia ready to continue talks with OPEC on oil price stabilization: report

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Moscow — * Russia to take part in OPEC ministers meetings if invited: deputy PM
* Small cut in Russian output not ruled out on lower investment
* Russian, Venezuelan presidents to discuss markets this week

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Russia is ready to continue consultations with OPEC on oil price stabilization issues, deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Monday, commenting on a recent call by the group for cooperation between oil-producing nations to counteract the recent plunge in prices to multi-year lows.

"Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak [earlier] held consultations and took part in OPEC oil ministers' meetings.

If there is an invitation for the next meeting, he will naturally go and take part in those consultations," Dvorkovich was quoted as saying by Russian Prime news agency.

The consultations between OPEC and other oil-producing countries that are not part of the group had been under way in recent months, he added.

In its latest bulletin published Monday, OPEC said cooperation between oil-producing countries "is and will always remain the key to oil's future and that is why dialog among the main stakeholders is so important going forward."

"There is no quick fix, but if there is a willingness to face the oil industry's challenges together, then the prospects for the future have to be a lot better than what everyone involved in the industry has been experiencing over the past nine months or so," it added.

OPEC cautioned, however, that any discussions would have to be "on a level playing field," indicating that it would not bear the brunt of a supply cut decision solely.

"OPEC will protect its own interests," it said. "As developing countries, its members, whose economies rely heavily on this one precious resource, can ill afford to do otherwise."

Russia has intensified talks with OPEC and other crude-producing countries since late last year, amid a continuing significant drop in oil prices.

In November 2014, just before OPEC announced its market-share strategy, Russian oil minister Novak participated in a meeting with Saudi oil minister Ali Naimi, Venezuelan foreign minister Rafael Ramirez, Mexican energy minister Pedro Joaquin Coldwell and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin that failed to reach an accord on a coordinated production cut.

Most recently, Novak met with OPEC secretary general Abdalla el-Badri in in June, during an OPEC seminar in Moscow.


Dvorkovich also did not rule out that crude oil production in Russia might see a slight cut if oil prices remain at the low level for a long period.

"If oil prices are at the low level for long, a certain decrease in the production is possible, as it happened previously. Nonetheless, I don't expect major cuts," he said.

"Under the current oil prices, investments into hard-to-access fields and some new projects are reducing. This will inevitably result in at least no increase in production," he said.

Russia's crude production rose 1.4% year on year to 10.692 million b/d in the first seven months of the year.

Dvorkovich reiterated that Russia can not artificially reduce its output as crude production technology in Russia differ from those in many OPEC countries, primarily due to climate conditions.

With the price of crude in free fall, some OPEC members -- notably Venezuela and Iran -- have called for the producer group to convene an emergency meeting, ahead of its scheduled December 4 meeting in Vienna.

On Monday, a Russian official said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss international oil markets during a trip to China this week.

--Nadia Rodova,
--Edited by Maurice Geller,