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Russia to U.S. President-elect: don’t upset the oil market

Tuesday, 22 December 2020 | 21:00

Russia hopes the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will not derail producer nations’ action to boost oil markets, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said.

Russia, other leading oil producers and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a group known as OPEC+, have joined forces to reduce output and bolster the global oil market as the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened fuel demand.

“We hope that the changes to the policy of the U.S. administration will not have an impact on the joint actions, which, first of all, are designed to play a positive role for the global economy and energy markets,” Novak told an online conference.

He also said Moscow had noted statements from the incoming administration that he said appeared to contradict the U.S. policy of the last four years.

In addition to pulling the United States out of the United Nations’ agreement to curb climate change, which requires less use of fossil fuel, outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions that have stifled Iran’s oil exports.

In April, Trump was involved in talks that led the OPEC+ group to agree a record oil supply cut.

Biden’s election could lead to a shift in U.S.-Russian relations and he has named Russia as Washington’s most serious global threat. During his campaign, he also pledged to reassess ties with Saudi Arabia.

OPEC+ has said it will continue easing cuts from April’s record supply reduction and is expected to reduce output curbs in January by 500,000 barrels per day.

Novak said earlier this month the cumulative output increase by the OPEC+ group will reach a planned 2 million bpd by April, barring any unforeseen events.

He said on Monday the recovery in oil demand has not been as fast as anticipated. Oil prices fell sharply on the day in response to a fast-spreading new strain of the coronavirus that has closed much of Britain.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Olesya Astakhova and Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Tom Balmforth and Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Louise Heavens and Barbara Lewis)

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