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MOSCOW, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday his country had rejected requests from Venezuela and other OPEC member states to cut oil output, saying Moscow believed such a measure was unnecessary.
“We believe that any artificial reduction will not bring any good, quite the contrary - it exacerbates the situation in the future,” Novak told reporters. “That is, in the short term this could have an effect, but in the long term - no.”
Novak said that Ecuador and Algeria had also asked Moscow to cut output.
Russia’s refusal to cut oil production, one of the world’s highest, is a blow for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro who has for months lobbied for an emergency meeting and coordination with non-OPEC nations.
So far, OPEC’s Middle East producers have said they will maintain high output in a battle to defend their market share against what they see as rising competition.
Venezuela’s Maduro met Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month in an attempt to spur action on low oil prices, but came away empty-handed.
Russian officials have repeatedly said it would be hard for companies to cut production of oil due to their country’s harsh climate and the difficult geology of Siberia, the heartland of Russia’s oil industry.
Russia has been ramping up output this year, extracting oil at a post-Soviet record high of around 10.7 million barrels per day.
Novak said that due to a decrease in investments, the market had “started to balance itself”.
Oil prices have more than halved from their June 2014 peak due to persistent oversupply and a cooling in the economy of China, the world’s top energy consumer.
The Russian economy has slumped into recession, mainly thanks to cheaper oil, its main export. (Reporting by Olesya Astkhova; Writing by Lidia Kelly and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Jack Stubbs and Andrew Osborn)