Iraq says Saudi, Russia change tone on possible oil deal

KUWAIT: OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and top non-OPEC producer Russia are showing signs of flexibility about agreeing to tackle an oil glut that has pushed prices to 12-year lows, the oil minister of Iraq said on Tuesday.

“We have seen some flexibility from the brothers in Saudi and a change in tone from Russia,” Adel Abdel Mahdi, whose country is the second-largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said.

His comments, made in Kuwait, boosted Brent crude by 3 percent to above $31 a barrel, although such an idea has been repeatedly mooted and dismissed for more than a year.

“This should be finalised and we should hear some solid suggestions coming from all parts, from OPEC and non-OPEC, at least from OPEC,” the minister said.

A day earlier, senior officials from OPEC and Russia stepped up vague talk of possible joint action to fix the supply glut.

OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri said other producers should work with the group to tackle swollen global stockpiles so prices can recover, essentially reiterating OPEC’s position that it would consider cutting output only if others pitched in.

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