Door ‘Remains Open’ To OPEC Oil Production Freeze Despite Failed Doha Talks, Saudi Official Says

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A top Saudi Arabian oil official said Thursday that a deal to freeze oil production remains a possibility.

After snuffing talks to freeze world oil production at a key meeting in the Qatari capital of Doha last weekend, Saudi Arabia said Thursday the door “remains open” to such a deal.

OPEC and nonmember oil-producing nations could revive talks to cap crude output this summer, Ibrahim Muhanna, a top adviser in the Saudi oil ministry, told the Wall Street Journal. He said the ability of the 13-member OPEC to regulate oil supplies by limiting production may be a topic of debate at the cartel’s meeting in Vienna June 2.

“The door for future cooperation remains open, and I am sure we will discuss it in June,” Muhanna told the newspaper.

OPEC Secretary General Abdallah Salem el-Badri told the Journal that the cartel is “still alive” as a force in world oil markets, despite increasing competition from the U.S., Russia and other major oil-producing countries.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter and de facto head of OPEC, helped quash an earlier effort to cap output at January levels during the meeting in Doha April 17. Oil-rich nations inside and outside OPEC had floated the idea as a way to stem the global oversupply of crude, which has far outpaced demand in sluggish economies such as those in China and Europe.

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