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By Olesya Astakhova
MOSCOW, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Russian Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky said on Thursday that a deliberate oil production decrease by the country would not support prices, responding to calls to reduce output.
His comments indicated that Russia was still unwilling to cut oil output as it argued that its oil wells, located mostly in harsh climate of Siberia, will not be easy to restart once they are mothballed.
Some leading oil producers, notably Venezuela, have called on Moscow to cut oil output in order to support prices, which have more than halved since peaking out in June 2014.
“I don’t think that some artificial production cuts will have a significant impact on (price) change,” Yanovsky said.
Russia is also reluctant to decrease extraction of oil as its rivalry for global market share with the world’s other leading producer of crude, Saudi Arabia, has heated up after supplies of Middle Eastern oil have increased in eastern Europe, Moscow’s traditional market.
Yanovsky’s comments, made just before next week’s meeting of Russia and other non-OPEC envoys with the officials from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, have pushed the price of oil down. (Reporting by Olesya Astakhova; writing by Katya Golubkova and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Christian Lowe and David Evans)