Russia committed to OPEC+ oil cuts: UAE energy minister

UAE’s Suhail bin Mohammed Al-Mazroui also said that compliance with the cuts by both Russia and OPEC’s second largest producer Iraq has increased in March. (Reuters)
Updated 10 April 2019
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Russia committed to OPEC+ oil cuts: UAE energy minister

  • ‘Russia will not increase its output unless in coordination with the rest of OPEC and OPEC+ countries’
  • Russia agreed to cut its production by 228,000 bpd but has struggled to comply with the pact

ABU DHABI: United Arab Emirates’ energy minister said on Wednesday that Russia was committed to its oil supply cut agreement with OPEC and would not raise its output unless in coordination with the exporting group.
UAE’s Suhail bin Mohammed Al-Mazroui also said that compliance with the cuts by both Russia and OPEC’s second largest producer Iraq has increased in March, adding that he expected the oil market to achieve balance by the end of 2019.
“Russia will not increase its output unless in coordination with the rest of OPEC and OPEC+ countries,” Mazroui said.
“I believe in the wisdom of Russia, and I believe that Russia has benefited from this agreement... I don’t see any reason for Russia not to continue with us.”
Mazroui’s comments came a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia and OPEC should discuss the future of their oil output-cutting deal later this year, adding that current oil prices suited Moscow.
Brent futures LCOc1 were at $70.93 per barrel at 1100 GMT, up 32 cents, or 0.44 percent, from their last close on Wednesday as OPEC cuts and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela continued to tighten supply.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other oil producers led by Russia agreed to reduce their combined output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1 this year for six months in an attempt to balance the market.
Russia agreed to cut its production by 228,000 bpd but has struggled to comply with the pact.
On Monday, one of the key Russian officials to foster the pact with OPEC, Kirill Dmitriev, signaled that Russia wanted to raise oil output when it meets with OPEC in June because of improving market conditions and falling stockpiles.
But Putin, the ultimate decision-maker in Russia, seemingly softened that stance, saying it was too early to judge whether the deal should be extended.
Speaking at a conference in Abu Dhabi, Mazroui also said the UAE can raise its crude oil production up to 3.5 million bpd if needed.
The UAE currently produces around 3 million bpd under the OPEC+ reduction agreement.


India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

Updated 19 April 2019
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India suspends Kashmir border trade with Pakistan

  • Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries
  • India said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”

NEW DELHI: India has suspended trade across its disputed Kashmir border with Pakistan, alleging that weapons and drugs are being smuggled across the route, as tensions simmer between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
Kashmir has been on edge since a February suicide attack that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries and brought the two countries to the brink of war with cross-border air strikes.
On Thursday, India’s government, which is in the middle of a tough national election, said it had reports that trade on the border was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.”
It also said many of those trading across the Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into zones under Indian and Pakistani control, had links to militant organizations.
The home ministry said trade would be suspended until a stricter inspection mechanism is in place.
The cross-border trade is based on a barter system, with traders exchanging goods including chillies, cumin, mango and dried fruit.
It began in 2008 as a way to improve strained relations between New Delhi and Islamabad, who have fought two of their three wars over the disputed region.
The Indian Express newspaper said Friday that 35 trucks carrying fruit traveling from the Indian side of the border had been stopped after the government order.
Trade on the border has been suspended before, including in 2015, when India accused a Pakistani driver of drug trafficking.
The latest move comes after India withdrew “Most Favoured Nation Status” — covering trade links — from Pakistan after the February attack, which was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed Islamist group.
Islamabad has denied any involvement in the attack.
India’s Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made national security a key plank of his re-election campaign, pointing to the recent flare-up of violence as he battles the center-left opposition Congress party.
He is seeking a second term from the country’s 900 million voters in the mammoth election which kicked off on April 11 and runs till May 19. The results will be out on May 23.