Russian oil giant Rosneft PJSC said crude at $70 to 80 a barrel was a “comfortable level” and expressed satisfaction with the results of Russia’s joint supply cuts with OPEC, just a week before talks that could phase them out.
The producers working together have “restored balance to the market by cutting oil production,” Russia’s biggest oil company said in a statement Friday, citing comments its Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin made at a meeting in Moscow on Thursday with Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.
“The growth in Brent crude prices to a comfortable level of $70 to $80 per barrel is a result with which we are fully satisfied,” Sechin was quoted as saying. The CEO, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had last year questioned the wisdom of prolonging production when oil prices were closer to $60.
Russia will join OPEC and other major producers next week in Vienna to discuss whether to increase production to alleviate consumer concerns about prices and offset supply disruptions elsewhere. The possibility of gradual supply boost has already driven Brent crude down from above $80 to less than $74.
Brent crude oil fell $2.56 a barrel to $73.38 by late Friday. U.S. crude was $1.98 lower at $64.91 a barrel, after earlier falling to $64.58.
While Sechin didn’t comment on the future of the pact, Rosneft’s smaller rivals, Lukoil PJSC and Gazprom Neft PJSC have recently called for more “flexibility” on output. Both have said that oil prices close to $80 are high enough and may hurt current demand.
Virtually every Russian company is supportive “of some form of production increase, with Rosneft being the most aggressive,” Credit Suisse Group AG analysts said in a note Friday. Rosneft, which pumps around 40 percent of Russia’s oil, claims that it can restore about 150,000 barrels a day within three months, the note said, citing executive meetings.
The state-run oil giant last month started to test its capacity to bring back production. Russia’s overall output jumped in the first week of June as some companies breached their output quotas.
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