Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in cutting oil production to stem a big plunge in oil prices, but he said it is also content with the lower prices.
The price of premium crude has plummeted from a peak of $86 a barrel in October to $66 on November 15 mostly as a result of a U.S. announcement earlier this month that it was temporarily waiving its sanctions on Iran for most of Tehran's biggest oil customers.
Putin, speaking at a news conference in Singapore, said a $70 oil price 'suits' Moscow, which has based its own budget and economic projections on the assumption that oil prices would average around $40 this year.
Putin made his remarks even as Russia announced a small reduction in oil production in November from a post-Soviet high of 11.41 million barrels per day pumped in October.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world's largest oil exporters, and Russian producers have announced plans to increase their already booming production further next year.
But Saudi Arabia announced earlier this week that it would have to cut production in December by 500,000 barrels a day in light of the generous Iranian sanctions waivers granted by Washington to giant oil-consuming countries such as China and India.
Riyadh had raised production over the summer in response to calls from U.S. President Donald Trump to offset large expected cuts in Iranian production under the sanctions.
But now it is calling for a global output cut of up to 1 million barrels a day to re-balance the oil market and bolster prices. To achieve that goal, analysts say Russia would have to join in the production cut.
'So far I cannot say if production should be limited -- we have to be very careful, every word is significant here,' Putin said.
'But the fact that we need to cooperate [with the Saudis] is obvious and we will cooperate,' he said.
With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and TASS
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