By Rania El Gamal and Olesya Astakhova
ISTANBUL, Oct 12 – OPEC will hold talks with non-member oil producers on Wednesday in a bid to hammer out details of a global agreement to cap production for at least six months as Russia lent its support for the plan.
Ministers from OPEC members embarked on a flurry of talks at an energy conference in Istanbul to shore up support for the OPEC deal they agreed in Algeria last month hoping to adopt it at the end of November.
Oil prices that have more than halved since mid-2014 as global supplies swelled.
“I can say that many countries from outside OPEC are willing to join … we are not talking about support, we are talking about contribution,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told Reuters on Tuesday in Istanbul.
Representatives of some OPEC members and non-OPEC countries including Russia, Azerbaijan and possibly Mexico will hold a round-table meeting at 1100 GMT on Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Energy Congress, according to OPEC ministers.
Any deal would initially be applied over six months and then reviewed, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said.
“We are confident that the other non-OPEC producers will join this (agreement) because it is in the benefit of all producers … and also consumers,” Barkindo said.
Eulogio Del Pino, the petroleum minister for cash-strapped Venezuela said he preferred a deal to extend for a full year in order to include peak output periods of different oil producers.
Last month in Algiers, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed modest oil output cuts. The goal is to cut production to a range of 32.50-33.0 million barrels per day (bpd). OPEC’s current output is a record 33.6 million bpd.
The International Energy Agency said global oil supply could fall in line with demand more quickly if OPEC and Russia agree to a steep enough cut in production, but it is unclear how rapidly this might happen.
Any deal would face challenges from a 3 billion barrel global inventory build in recent years as well as efforts by OPEC members Libya and Nigeria to increase production curtailed by conflict.
Iran, OPEC’s third largest member, had said it would not curb its supplies before it reached 4 million barrels per day, a level it had seen before international sanctions were imposed in 2012 and lifted in January this year.
Speaking at the Istanbul conference, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the world’s top producer would maintain its current oil output unchanged under a deal. Russia pumped 11.1 million barrels per day in September.
On Monday, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to join the proposed cap on oil output by OPEC members.
But Igor Sechin, Russia’s most influential oil executive and the head of Kremlin energy champion Rosneft, said his company would not curb oil production.
Falih said he would not attend Wednesday’s meeting due to prior engagements but met with Novak in Istanbul on Tuesday.
He is due to meet his Russian counterpart for talks later this month in Riyadh, according to a statement by the Saudi energy ministry.
“The ministers emphasised that their two countries are committed to working together and with other producers, OPEC and non-OPEC, to help improve oil market fundamentals, which will benefit producers, consumers, the energy industry and the global economy,” the statement said.