Russia to maintain OPEC relations, plans autumn meeting
By Vladimir Soldatkin and Olesya Astakhova
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, the world's top oil producer, plans to continue its consultations with OPEC and may hold a meeting with the group this autumn, Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, of which Russia is not a member, failed to agree on output targets on Thursday, at its first meeting since April when Saudi Arabia refused to sign up to an oil output freeze without Iran - which is trying to recover market share after the lifting of sanctions - ruining a wider global agreement.
"We will continue our relations with OPEC ... We have an energy dialogue format which we will continue. We will for sure do a related meeting this year," Novak said, referring to consultations on the market situation between Moscow and OPEC.
Brent oil prices held at around $50 a barrel on Friday although OPEC did not agree on output targets, supported by Saudi Arabia's pledge not to flood the market with more fuel.
Novak said Saudi Arabia had the capacity to increase output but he thought that Riyadh would stick to a "balanced" oil production policy.
Saudi Arabia was pumping at an average of 10.25 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in May, slightly up from 10.15 million bpd in April, a Reuters survey showed. Russian output was slightly down to 10.83 million bpd in May.