October 3, 2018 / 9:43 AM / 2 months ago

EXCLUSIVE-Saudi Arabia, Russia agreed in Sept to lift oil output

* Saudi, Russia act to contain oil price surge

* U.S. Perry told of plans before Algiers talks

By Olesya Astakhova and Rania El Gamal

MOSCOW/DUBAI, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Russia and Saudi Arabia struck a private deal in September to raise oil output to cool rising prices and informed the United States before a meeting in Algiers with other producers, four sources familiar with the plan said.

U.S. President Donald Trump has blamed the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for high crude prices and called on it to boost output to bring down fuel costs before the U.S. congressional elections on Nov. 6.

The sources said Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak agreed during a series of meetings to lift output from September through December as crude headed towards $80 a barrel. It is now over $85.

“The Russians and the Saudis agreed to add barrels to the market quietly with a view not to look like they are acting on Trump’s order to pump more,” one source said.

“The Saudi minister told (U.S. Energy Secretary Rick) Perry that Saudi Arabia will raise output if its customers asked for more oil,” another source said. (Additional reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; editing by Richard Mably and David Clarke)

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