Saudi's Naimi sees oil market "stabilising itself"
By Alex Lawler and David Sheppard
VIENNA Nov 26 (Reuters) - OPEC leader Saudi Arabia signalled on Wednesday it was unlikely to push for a major change in oil output at the producer group's meeting this week, a day after Russia refused to cooperate in any production cut and threatened to unleash an oil price war.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said he expected the oil market "to stabilise itself eventually" but did not comment on four-country talks with Russia held on Tuesday.
OPEC's meeting on Thursday will be one of the most crucial in recent years, with oil prices having tumbled some 30 percent since June to below $79 per barrel due to booming U.S. shale oil output and slower global economic growth.
OPEC usually faces huge tensions from within but as talks over Iran's nuclear programme ended with no breakthrough on Monday, most members felt relief they will not have to deal with a deluge of Iranian oil, currently hit by Western sanctions.
Non-OPEC member Russia, which produces 10.5 million barrels per day (bpd) or 11 percent of global oil, came to Tuesday's meeting amid hints it might agree to cut output as it is suffering from oil's price fall and Western sanctions over Ukraine.
But as the meeting with Naimi and officials from Venezuela and non-OPEC member Mexico ended on Tuesday, Russia's most influential oil official, state firm Rosneft's head Igor Sechin, emerged with a surprise message - Russia will not reduce output even if oil falls to $60 per barrel.
He added that he expected low oil prices to do more damage to producing nations with higher costs, in a clear reference to the shale oil boom in the United States.
Sechin's suggestion that Russia - in desperate need of oil prices above $100 per barrel to balance its budget - was ready for an oil price war took many at OPEC by surprise. Continuación...