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Russia, Kazakhstan Discuss Output Cuts With OPEC, But No Agreement

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo address a news conference in Vienna on October 24.

Energy ministers from Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and other major oil-producing countries have discussed output curbs advocated by the OPEC cartel but did not agree to join in.

The failure to get Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Mexico, and other major non-OPEC producers on board weighed on prices on October 31, driving them down by nearly 4 percent to $49.86 per barrel in New York trading.

After a weekend meeting in Vienna, Kazakh Deputy Energy Minister Magzum Mirzagaliyev said his country is "ready to consider" a freeze or reduction in output to try to bolster prices, but "we are not ready yet to sign it."

Mirzagaliyev said the producers will continue to talk, and that they have until November 30 to work out an agreement.

Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natig Aliyev said the group agreed that they need "to stabilize the market."

Russia also has hesitated to join OPEC, although it was a top advocate of a production freeze earlier this year. Since that time, premium crude prices have risen from below $30 a barrel to around $50.

Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, and TASS

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