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23 Oct, 2015 09:41

Russian oil firms prepared for fight with OPEC – Energy Minister

Russian oil firms prepared for fight with OPEC – Energy Minister

Moscow is ready to compete with the Saudi-dominated OPEC cartel even if it continues to exceed its quota, said Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak on Friday.

"OPEC’s self-established quota of 30 million barrels per day (bpd) is fully used by OPEC countries. Subsequently, if a member exceeds its quota, OPEC should redistribute its production among other members,“ Novak told Rossiya-24 TV Channel.

“It’s very important whether OPEC will rebalance or if there will be extra output. There is a lot of uncertainty, but in general we are ready for it. And our oil companies are ready for this competition," added the minister.

OPEC continues to exceed its own quota of 30 million bpd for the 16th consecutive month trying to protect its share of the world oil market. OPEC’s biggest producer, Saudi Arabia, has been cutting prices to secure new markets like Poland, according to Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

The cartel is meeting on December 4 in Vienna to announce its output strategy, but Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says OPEC is unlikely to cut its output. Brent crude, a global benchmark, has slumped 42 percent over the last 12 months and is trading at $48.38 as of 8:36am GMT on Friday.

Novak, who just returned from a two-day visit to Tehran, also said Iran’s return to the natural gas market won’t affect Russian gas major Gazprom’s position.

"I am sure that the volumes and share Gazprom and Russia hold in Europe, are absolutely competitive. We are unlikely to lose the niche," he said.