March 11, 2020 / 3:11 PM / 25 days ago

Russia's Lukoil calls for oil producing states to cooperate over virus impact

MOSCOW, March 11 (Reuters) - Russia’s second-largest oil company Lukoil urged crude producing countries on Wednesday to continue cooperating to tackle the impact of the coronavirus on the energy market.

Lukoil head Vagit Alekperov also told investors on a conference call that he expected a meeting this month of a panel of experts from OPEC and non-OPEC nations to make a proposal to stabilise the oil market, which has been roiled by the collapse of a pact between OPEC, Russia and others on limiting supplies.

The deal fell apart after Russia rejected a call by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for deeper production cuts. As result, OPEC scrapped all its limits on output, promising to flood the market with extra supplies.

The Joint Technical Committee of experts from the informal alliance known as OPEC+, which includes OPEC, Russia and others, meets in Vienna in mid-March. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia would send its representative.

“I hope that after the technical committee OPEC+ panel in March, the countries will be able to find a mutually beneficial decision, which would allow the stabilisation of prices and the market,” Alekperov said.

Lukoil has been one of the staunchest supporters of Russia’s cooperation with OPEC.

A Lukoil manager told the call his company’s plans to raise its hydrocarbon production by up to 1% this year were not affected by weaker oil prices and it would stick to a plan to spend 550 billion roubles ($7.7 billion) in 2020.

Oil prices plunged after the supply pact collapsed.

Alekperov said Lukoil was better prepared for cheaper oil than it was five years ago when the oil market was rattled by overproduction and other factors that sent prices tumbling.

He said he would join a meeting between Russia’s energy minister and representatives from other Russian oil producers on Thursday.

$1 = 71.9646 roubles Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Edmund Blair

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