MOSCOW (AFP) -Top officials from OPEC and Russia will hold talks Monday to discuss future cooperation between the two giant oil exporters, said the OPEC president, Sheikh Ahmad Fahad al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
In comments made during a meeting with journalists from the Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS, Sheikh Ahmad noted that Russia was the world””s second-leading oil exporter behind Saudi Arabia and a critical force in ensuring oil market stability.
According to the news agency, he also said that Russia could one day join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and that whether it was a member or not Moscow had always worked closely with the cartel on pricing and production policies.
The fact that Russia will take over as chairman of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrialized countries next year means that now is a particularly opportune moment to hold discussions with Moscow on the oil market, he added.
Sheikh Ahmad, who is also energy minister of Kuwait, and other members of the high-level OPEC delegation were scheduled to meet Monday with Russian Energy and Industry Minister Viktor Khristenko and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Sheikh Ahmad and Lavrov were expected to meet with journalists after the talks.
Speaking in Beijing on Thursday, Sheikh Ahmad said OPEC was likely to cut production in the second quarter of next year if demand and prices fall.
"We think we have to decrease our production… for the second quarter," he said in the Chinese capital.
Sheikh Ahmad””s remarks reflected OPEC””s concern that oil demand will fall after the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere, pushing prices down.
He said OPEC traditionally cut production in the second quarter but has not done so in the last three years because of increased demand from China and India.