By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - The world's top crude oil exporter Saudi Arabia along with other members of OPEC and its allies are expected to meet in early July in hopes to extend the production cut deal into the second half of 2019 to balance the global oil market and support crude prices.
The group dubbed as OPEC+, which includes Russia, will meet during the first week of July, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Sunday in Japan and added that it will try to "secure the rebalancing the market as we strive for it."
OPEC is scheduled to meet on June 25 in Vienna, Austria for its 176th annual meeting. The cartel was also scheduled to come together with Russia and other non-OPEC nations on June 26 for the 6th OPEC and non-OPEC ministerial meeting to discuss the future of the production deal which saw oil output slashed by 1.2 million barrels a day.
Al-Falih noted on Friday that OPEC is close to extend the production cut deal, but it needs the participation of non-OPEC countries, especially Russia.
"I don’t think there will be need to deepen the cut," he said in St. Petersburg, Russia, adding "On the OPEC side, a rollover is almost in the bag. The question is to calibrate with non-OPEC."
Alexander Dyukov, the head of Russian energy company Gazprom Neft, said on Friday that oil prices between $55-$65 per barrel is "acceptable" for Russian oil producers, as the international benchmark Brent crude was hovering around $61 a barrel on Monday.
OPEC and its allies had agreed on Dec. 7, 2018 to collectively lower their oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day for the first six months of 2019.