Saudi Arabia says it will join oil output freeze only if Iran joins

Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince has said the kingdom will agree to freeze oil output only if Iran and other major oil producing nations do so.

“If all countries including Iran, Russia, Venezuela, OPEC countries and all main producers decide to freeze production, we will be among them,” Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg.

Iran has categorically said it will not join OPEC and non-OPEC members in a plan to freeze oil output at January level, as it wants to revive its oil industry after international sanctions over its nuclear programme were lifted earlier this year.

The world faces an oil glut and producing nations, which plan to meet later this month, have been hoping that an agreement over a production freeze will help stabilise prices that have fallen sharply in recent months.

Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to freeze out levels, but have consistently said the deal depends on other producers joining in the effort.

Bin Salman told Bloomberg said Saudi Arabia was ready to face a prolonged period of low oil prices that have dropped sharply since mid-2014 as a result of higher global production.

“I don’t believe that the decline in oil prices poses a threat to us,” he said.

The United States is not taking part in the oil production freeze negotiation process, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak was reported as saying by Tass news agency

Novak also said he had not received any information that Saudi Arabia is ready to freeze oil output only in concert with Iran.

When asked whether he had discussed potential tying of the decision on oil output freeze with Iran’s stance with the Saudi officials, Novak replied in the negative.

The issue of freezing oil production will be discussed in Doha on April 17. Iran has said it will join the initiative only after reaching the production level of 4 million barrels daily.

 

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