November 24, 2017 / 8:27 PM / a year ago

Libya says OPEC could decide to extend output cuts

FILE PHOTO: OPEC President Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih talks to journalists before the beginning of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna, Austria, on May 25, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - Libya’s foreign minister said on Friday that OPEC could decide to extend crude oil production cuts to balance the global oil market when the group meets next week, and that Libya would cooperate with such a decision.

“If it is necessary for all, we should extend cuts,” said Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala on the sidelines of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum summit in Bolivia. “We will go with the interest of all the other countries.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet in Vienna on Nov. 30. The group, along with Russia and several other major producers, have cut their combined output by about 1.8 million barrels per day since January to reduce bloated inventories and boost oil prices.

When asked if he believed OPEC’s cuts should be extended to next year, Taher Siala said: “It is a matter of balancing the position of the consumers and the producers, and that is very important. If it is necessary for the interests of both, then we would be extending, yes.”

Siala said he expected that other OPEC member nations would share his position. “When there is a need for balancing, we will go with balancing for the market,” he said, adding that OPEC representatives were in touch with non-OPEC countries like Russia about the issue.

Russia has said it is ready to support extending a deal among oil producers on cutting output, although it has yet to say how long it should be for.

Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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