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13 Mar, 2009 12:07

Production cuts and pricing on the menu as OPEC meets

OPEC is meeting in Vienna on Sunday to consider further production cuts, with Russia -the largest non OPEC oil exporter – among those nations hoping for an agreement on lower ouput.

The major oil producers are meeting in Vienna to consider the need for more production cuts, with members of the oil producers cartel far from united on the need for further output reductions.

Iran and Saudi Arabia want all OPEC members to fully comply with previously agreed 4.2 million barrels a day cut, before making any more. Russia – the largest non OPEC exporter – backs production cuts, as it has previously, according to Gennady Krasovsky, Head of Investor Relations at Lukoil.

“It has happened in the past. In 1999, Russia, together with Norway and Mexico, joined the OPEC policy of cuts and actually it helped to channel oil prices and the price level between $30-$40/bbl fundamentally. Our company at that time, shut down 200 wells in order just to meet this goal, and actually it worked, perfectly well.”

A Russian delegation headed by Igor Sechin will also propose a new oil pricing formula for Russia's Urals oil brand.

“Russia supports production cuts and the country is a part of cutting export of crude by 3 million tones and export of refined oil by 15 million tons. But we have new proposals – currently Brent and West Texas Intermediate are traded on international markets. Russian brand are traded with a coefficient. We propose a new price formation system.”

A price level above $50/bbl is essential for Russia's oil companies to fund their investment programmes. If the producers can't agree on cuts and oil prices continue to slide, it could trigger an energy crisis.