Opec chief to discuss oil market with Medvedev

Opec chief to discuss oil market with Medvedev

Moscow: The head of the Opec oil cartel said he would discuss the oil market with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday but would not ask Russia to cut production, Interfax news agency reported.

“I will meet today with the president," OPEC Secretary General Abdalla Salem El-Badri was quoted as saying in Moscow.

“I will not ask Russia to cut production. I will request an exchange of information about the situation on the market and the financial crisis," he said.

The meeting comes ahead of a Friday Opec summit widely expected to result in a production cut, as member countries fret about a plunge in oil prices to near $70 per barrel after highs of over $147 a barrel seen in July.

Russia is the world’s largest producer of oil that is not a member of the cartel and competes with Opec member Saudi Arabia for the title of largest producer overall.

Any closer cooperation between Opec and Moscow would vastly increase the market power of the cartel, which already pumps 40% of world oil, and would cause worries about the collective influence of the world’s dominant oil producers.

Yesterday, El-Badri declined to say whether there would be a production cut but said: “If things keep as they are right now, the excess of supply will be huge in 2009."

The slide in the oil price has been driven by the global financial crisis and fears of a major economic slowdown in big oil-consuming countries like the United States.