MOSCOW Russian President Vladimir Putin said an agreement between oil exporters to freeze output would be the right decision for the global market and a compromise should be found for Iran to achieve a deal.
Attempts by OPEC and non-OPEC oil exporters to reach a pact on stabilizing production levels earlier this year foundered because Iran, which is anxious to increase exports after the lifting of international sanctions, declined to participate.
"I think that from the point of view of economic expediency and logic, it would be right to find some sort of compromise" on Iranian output, Putin said in an interview with Bloomberg, a transcript of which was published on the Kremlin website.
"I would very much like to hope that all the participants in this market, who want to maintain stable and fair world prices for energy resources, will at the end of the day take the necessary decision," Putin was quoted as saying.
He said he would convey his position to Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he may meet on the sidelines of a G20 gathering in China this weekend.
"It wasn't us who rejected a freeze on production volumes, it was our Saudi partners who at the last minute changed their point of view and decided to take a time out in taking this decision," Putin was quoted as saying.
"If Prince Salman and I talk on this subject, I will of course lay out our position again: we believe that it (an output freeze) is the right decision for global energy."
An informal meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and exporters outside the group is due to take place in Algeria later this month.
RUSSIAN OUTPUT DOWN
Oil output in Russia, the world's biggest producer of crude, was near record highs over the past year but fell to 10.71 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, its lowest in almost a year.
The drop in Russian production last month brought it close to that of top crude exporter and OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia, which pumped an average of 10.70 million bpd, an increase from July, according to a Reuters survey.
According to Russian energy ministry data, decreases at Rosneft, Bashneft, Novatek and production-sharing operators were behind the fall in output last month. <O/RUS1>
The energy ministry sees domestic oil output at 542-544 million tonnes this year after it hit 534 million tonnes (10.73 million bpd), a 30-year high, in 2015.
(Additional reporting by Katya Golubkova, Natalia Chumakova and Olesya Astakhova; Editing by Christian Lowe and Dale Hudson)