Singapore: Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said he is confident that an agreement by oil producers to curb output and shrink a market glut will be extended into the second half of the year and possibly beyond.

While US shale output growth and refineries shut for maintenance have slowed the impact of cuts by Organisation of petroleum exporting countries (Opec) and its partners, producers are determined to reach their goal of reducing bloated stockpiles, Khalid Al-Falih said at the Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

He said he’s confident that the global oil market will soon rebalance and return to a “healthy state."

Surging US production has raised concern the Opec and partners are failing to reduce an oversupply and prop up prices. Oil has surrendered all its gains since their deal late last year to cut output.

With Opec meeting in Vienna later this month, several nations have said they’d support an extension of the six-month agreement that began in January. This is the first time the Saudi minister has suggested it could be extended beyond 2017.

“Based on the consultations I have had with participating members I am rather confident the agreement will be extended into the second half of the year and possibly beyond," Al-Falih said. “The producer coalition is determined to do whatever it takes to achieve our target of bringing stock levels back to the five-year average." Bloomberg

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