November 14, 2018 / 9:34 AM / a month ago

Russia says no emergency action warranted to halt oil price decline

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Russia’s energy minister said on Wednesday no emergency action was warranted to stem a decline in oil prices, as crude benchmarks fell again.

FILE PHOTO: Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak attends a session of the Russian Energy Week international forum in Moscow, Russia October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

Alexander Novak reporters on the sideline of an international conference in Singapore that long-term oil prices should be taken into consideration when any decision was taken by oil producing countries.

He was talking as oil markets fell again, extending losses from a 7 percent plunge the previous session as surging supply and the spectre of faltering demand scared off investors. [O/R]

Novak said oil prices had averaged around $70 (54 pounds) per barrel this year.

“The market is quite volatile today. We remember that the oil price was sharply rising in the same way, now it is going down. We have to look into long-term development, into how the price will be stabilised,” he said.

“It’s not right for market participants to react to any one-off fluctuations,” he said.

Novak also said the oil market still did not fully understand the fallout from U.S. sanctions against Iran, and how buyers would behave.

The United States announced the reinstatement of sanctions earlier this month against Iran over Tehran’s activities in the Middle East.

Eight importing countries have been given temporary exemptions by the United States to keep buying Iranian oil, prompting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to say Washington would not be able to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero.

“I think the market is volatile due to a lot of uncertainty,” Novak said.

He said Russia had been cutting oil production by around 20,000 barrels per day so far in November, from the record high of 11.41 million bpd in October.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter

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