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OPEC oil cuts could continue, Saudi minister suggests
(Abu Dhabi, Apr 18,2017):Oil producing countries may extend the output cuts agreed late last year, comments by Saudi Arabia's energy minister suggest.

Khalid alFalih was referring to a deal made in November by OPEC and nonOPEC oil producers to cut production by more than one million barrels per day until June.

He told an energy forum in Abu Dhabi: "There is an initial agreement but it has not been communicated to all the countries yet that we might be forced to extend in order to reach our goal."

Mr alFalih, whose country is the world's largest oil exporter, said he and representatives of other oil nations would continue to watch the market until a final decision is made at a meeting in Vienna on 25 May.

"There was a high level of commitment in the first three months (of production cuts), but despite that, we have not achieved the target" of reducing the supply, he said.

Kuwaiti oil minister Essam alMarzooq also called for the cuts to be extended, saying there was a "significant" commitment from nonOPEC producers.

Russia, an oilproducing nation but not part of OPEC, has not yet commented on the idea of extending production cuts but its energy minister said earlier this month that it would consult with other oilproducing nations about the issue.

Iraq, however, may seek exemption and ask to increase its own oil production to help pay for its fight against Islamic State, the leader of the ruling coalition Ammar alHakim told Reuters.

Crude oil was selling for more than $100 a barrel in the summer of 2014 but it slid to below $30 a barrel in January 2016.

Prices fell by almost 4% on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration said US crude stockpiles were larger than normal for this time of year.

On Thursday, the oil price recovered some of Wednesday's losses, with North Sea Brent Crude up 1% at just over $53 per barrel.

Among the other things that could affect supply and prices is the regrowth of shale oil production in the US and President Donald Trump's vow to promote more oil drilling in the country.

Also, Iran is trying to produce as much oil as possible following its return from years of economic sanctions.

Iran is not thought to be a threat to any deal to cut oil production among the other OPEC members, however, with an OPEC source saying: "We know they can't raise their production much more".

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