Russia’s Putin: OPEC+ Oil Production Cuts Are Not Political

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that decisions taken by the OPEC+ group to cut oil production were “depoliticized” and unrelated to what Moscow calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

After Russia launched what it calls a special military operation in Ukraine in February last year, Western nations have accused OPEC of manipulating oil prices and undermining the global economy through high energy costs. The West has also accused OPEC of siding with Russia.

“I have to tell you that all the decisions taken within the framework of OPEC+ to reduce production are, above all, of a depoliticized nature,” Putin said in comments at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“This is not related to Russia’s special military operations, or other considerations,” Putin said, adding that the current oil price environment was suitable for Russia.

OPEC+ has cuts of 3.66 million barrels per day (bpd) in place, amounting to 3.6% of global demand, including 2 million bpd agreed last year and voluntary cuts of 1.66 million bpd agreed in April.

Putin also said that Russia offers different discounts on its oil in various markets. The United States said the Kremlin’s changes in the way it taxes oil sales were forced by Western sanctions on Russia over Ukraine and will affect its ability to produce oil over time.

He said traditional Russian sales markets are being replaced by other markets as Moscow moves its oil and gas trade away from Europe.

“We don’t see a catastrophe there,” Putin said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by David Evans)

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