MOSCOW, Russia - Singaling his willingness to prolong oil supplies cuts, Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated that he might extend the current deal with OPEC.
The deal struck between some of the world’s leading oil suppliers was struct to curb oil supplies and will expire in March.
The Russian leader has said that the deal has been good for consumers and producers and that Russia is open to extending the deal with OPEC.
He however noted that he’ll make a decision closer to the expiry of the existing pact in March.
Putin’s comments came as the strongest signal so far of the Kremlin’s willingness to redouble efforts to lift global energy prices.
The comments also come at a crucial time as Putin welcomed King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to Russia for the first time this week.
Last month, Energy Minister Alexander Novak signaled willingness to prolong the cuts if needed, while also making clear the commitment wasn’t open-ended.
Addressing the Russian Energy Week conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Putin said, “Based on the realities in March 2018, we will make our decision, but I do not rule out that we may extend the agreement. If we speak about a possible extension, then of course, it should be at least until the end of 2018.”
Following Putin’s comments, Brent crude pared losses to reach an intraday high of $55.89 a barrel.
The international benchmark was down 0.4 percent at $55.78 at 12:31 p.m. in London.
Last year, Russia reached a historic accord with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production, hoping to end global oversupply.
Earlier this year, Russia’s budget revenue from oil and gas taxes recovered to 2015 levels.
However, in July, it fell again on crude-price fluctuations and a stronger ruble.
Oil prices have since returned to a bull market - however, risks remain and the nation’s central bank has said that crude could fall as low as $40 a barrel next year.
Putin has said, “We’ll have to see how the global energy balance looks in March 2018. We are in contact with our key partners and with OPEC as a whole, and with major producers.”