Russia and Saudi Arabia’s energy ministers will discuss a potential relaxation of the global oil output cap agreed between Opec and Moscow amid calls for them to boost output after their supply cuts helped drive prices to $80 a barrel. The historic agreement that came into effect in January 2017 between the previous oil market rivals — curbing global output by 1.8m barrels a day — helped arrest the three year slump in crude prices. But collapsing oil production in crisis-hit Venezuela and fears renewed US sanctions against Iran’s energy sector will curb exports further have seen prices jump to the highest level since 2014, sparking calls for an exit from the deal. Russia’s Alexander Novak will meet his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih in St Petersburg on Thursday evening to discuss the oil market and debate a possible easing of the caps that were agreed among 24 countries.
“We will discuss the current situation, the outlook and possible further actions to be taken within the framework of our deal. Speaking of relaxing the deal: it is possible but should be based on a thorough analysis of the situation,” Mr Novak told the Financial Times. “Generally speaking, we are quite flexible.” Opec, Russia and other producing countries will next meet fomally in Vienna on June 22 to decide the future of the deal as pressure mounts from consumer nations to amend the strict curbs, even as most oil-exporting economies have benefited from rising prices. Opec and its allies have cut production by more than their initial targets, removing far more barrels from the market than originally planned.