Saudi Arabia: OPEC, Russia to Supply More Oil to World Markets ‘in the Near Future’

Saudi Arabia says OPEC and Russia could supply more oil to world markets “in the near future” to make up for a collapse in Venezuelan output and the impact of US sanctions on Iran.

Speaking during a panel discussion hosted by CNNMoney’s Emerging Markets Editor John Defterios, Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih said he was engaged in intensive discussions with Russia and other OPEC officials about how to balance the oil market.

“It is the intent of all producers to ensure that the oil market remains healthy, and if that means adjusting our policy in June, we are certainly prepared to do it,” Al-Falih said.

OPEC oil producers and Russia are due to meet in Vienna on June 22 to discuss easing supply curbs that have helped drive world oil prices to $80 a barrel, raising gas prices and hurting big energy importers such as India.

“Two years ago we pulled supply. I think in the near future it will be time to release supply,” Al-Falih said. “It’s likely that it will happen in the second half of this year. We’ve had intensive discussions [with Russian energy Minister Alexander Novak], and I think we’re aligned on that,” the Saudi official added.

“Whether it’s a million barrels more or less, we think we’ll have to wait until June before making that announcement,” he said.

Oil prices fell by about 2% early Friday. US crude futures were trading at around r$69 per barrel, while Brent crude was worth about $77 per barrel.