Saudi minister confident of oil cut extension

Saudi Arabia's energy minister Khalid al-Falih at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, on November 30, 2016 (AFP Photo/JOE KLAMAR)

Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia's energy minister expressed confidence on Sunday of extending a global cut in oil production designed to boost prices.

Khalid al-Falih spoke ahead of a meeting on Thursday between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, where they are expected to extend the production cut pact.

"We have full commitment from the Russian side, including President (Vladimir) Putin himself," Falih told reporters on the sidelines of summits between US President Donald Trump and Muslim leaders from around the world.

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, and Gulf members of OPEC are also fully behind an extension, while there is "strong" commitment from Iraq and others, Falih said.

With potential for "two or three more producers" to join, Falih was optimistic global supply and demand would balance by the first quarter of next year.

"We will do whatever is necessary," he said, expressing an openness to "creative" solutions.

At the end of November, OPEC's 13 members agreed to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1, initially for a period of six months to reduce a supply glut.

Then in December, non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed to reduce their own output by 558,000 barrels per day.

Falih said Russia "ultimately delivered" its 300,000 bpd cut, though it took longer than hoped for.

"We have patiently worked together but I think there is good faith, there is good cooperation, and going forward we intend to build on this relationship."

Last week Russia and Saudi Arabia, the world's two biggest oil producers, jointly called for oil producers to extend their production cuts to March 31, 2018.

Saudi Arabia currently produces close to 10 million bpd, Falih said.

Oil prices are near $50 per barrel after shedding around half of their value since mid-2014.