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Soviets Support OPEC, Agree to Cut Oil Exports

January 22, 1987|From Reuters

OSLO — Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Hisham Nazer said today the Soviet Union has agreed to cut its oil exports by 7% in support of OPEC-led efforts to hold oil prices at around $18 a barrel.

Nazer, speaking to reporters after arriving in Norway from Moscow, said: "Moscow is willing to cut . . . by 7%."

In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Gerasimov announced that agreement had been reached but did not specify the amount of the cutback.

"We are an oil exporter and we are interested in stabilizing prices, so we have cut back our exports," Gerasimov told a news conference. He was referring to last year's 8% to 9% reduction in Soviet oil exports to Western Europe.

"As a result of our talks with the Saudi minister, we are cutting back our oil exports a little further."

Nazer, who went to Moscow in his capacity as chief of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has been seeking support from non-OPEC countries for moves by the international cartel to shore up world oil prices.

The first Saudi oil minister to visit the Soviet Union, Nazer held talks with Kremlin leaders Monday through Wednesday.

Soviet Prime Minister Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, who met the Saudi envoy Wednesday, afterward voiced what Western analysts said was Moscow's first public expression of support for OPEC.

"The Soviet Union approves of OPEC's constructive efforts and takes them into consideration," Ryzhkov said.

Nazer's visit followed an agreement by OPEC in Geneva last month to cut production in order to tighten an oversupplied market and underpin higher prices.

OPEC is trying to defend a current oil price of about $18 per barrel after prices plunged to just under $9 a barrel from nearly $30 a year ago.

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