UPDATE 1-OPEC agrees to hold Moscow seminar -Russian minister

Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:23pm IST

* Energy minister says held talks with OPEC's Badri

* Says OPEC accepts Russian proposal for seminar

* Says seminar could take place by year-end

(Adds details, quotes, background)

By Anastasia Lyrchikova

ABAKAN, Russia, Sept 17 (Reuters) - OPEC has agreed to hold a seminar in Moscow, Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said on Thursday, in a sign both sides want to smooth out differences over Russia's reluctance to join widespread cuts in oil output. Shmatko told reporters he had talked in the last two days with OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah al-Badri and Qatari Energy Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah. "We agreed that in the near future -- and this was a Russian proposal -- we will hold an event in Moscow in the form of a Russia-OPEC seminar," Shmatko said in the Siberian city of Abakan.

"We will specify the date later, but I think it will take place by the end of the year."

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, the largest producer outside the group, rekindled a courtship last year when oil prices slumped, leading many within OPEC to expect Moscow would join its record production cuts.

The opposite has happened. Russia pushed output to a record monthly high in August, grabbing market share from OPEC, and its oil-heavy economy has shows early signs of recovery in part due to the higher crude prices fostered by OPEC cuts. [ID:nL2461058]

Shmatko last month proposed a meeting with OPEC in Moscow. Russia and other observers have been excluded from the group's recent meetings, and Badri said after the latest gathering in Vienna he was not encouraged by Russia's stance. [ID:nLA728188]

Only last week, Shmatko answered these comments by saying Russia had made no promises to OPEC [ID:nLA362686]. But he said on Thursday his proposal to restore contact had been accepted.

"We agreed that Russia and OPEC are interested in keeping and developing the partnership that we have formed," the Russian minister said. (Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin, editing by Anthony Barker)

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