Russian FM: politics must not affect oil decisions

AP News
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Posted: Nov 21, 2014 9:17 AM
Russian FM: politics must not affect oil decisions

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign minister said Friday that political issues should not influence decisions on global oil production, even as the country's economy takes a hit from falling oil prices.

Russia is weighing how to respond to this year's 30 percent drop in the price of crude, to below $80 per barrel. A government official said Monday a decision on production targets had not yet been made.

When asked whether Russia was willing to cut oil production after a meeting with his Saudi counterpart in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said only that Russia and Saudi Arabia did not want oil production targets to be affected by "political or geopolitical designs."

"Both we and Saudi Arabia believe that the price should be a market price, and the decisive role should be played by demand," said Lavrov.

Lavrov's comments echoed theories, frequently spread on Russian state television, that the United States has manipulated global oil production to bring down prices worldwide and target unfriendly regimes. Russia's economy and currency, which has depreciated against the dollar by a third this year, have been hard hit.

Whether Russia will act to shore up oil prices is still unclear.

Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak noted that a production cut was possible, though it would be technically difficult.

"Our budget is very dependent on oil revenues. And we don't have the technology, like Saudi Arabia, to quickly reduce or increase our production," Alexander Novak told Russian news agencies. "But this question is under discussion, we are working within the government to understand whether such methods are feasible."

Lavrov's meeting with the Saudi official came ahead of an OPEC conference scheduled for next week, when members of the 12-nation oil producing organization will discuss global production levels.