Saudis 'ready to cooperate' on crude output: Report

Saudi Arabia is ready to cooperate on output but has not proposed a 5 percent production cut to bolster weak crude prices, according to a report Thursday.

Earlier Thursday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the Saudis had floated oil production cuts of up to 5 percent by each country. But a senior Gulf OPEC delegate later said Saudi Arabia has not proposed scaling back output or asked Russia to do the same, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The official told the newspaper that a proposed 5 percent cut was previously floated by Algeria and Venezuela. But he said Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf allies "are ready to cooperate with others" to bring stability to international oil markets, according to the report.

It backs up earlier skepticism of the production cut proposal. After Novak made the claim, OPEC delegates responded by saying there were no plans to hold talks to cut production, according to Bloomberg News.

Novak earlier said "these parameters were proposed to cut production by each country by up to 5 percent" when asked if Saudi Arabia had proposed curbing oil output.

A decrease of that much would represent around 500,000 barrels per day of cuts by Russia.

"This is a subject for discussions, it's too early to talk about," he said.

Novak also told reporters that there was a proposal of a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC countries on the level of oil ministers and that Russia was ready for the meeting.

"There are lots of questions about the oversight over cuts," he added.

Oil markets rallied on the news, with Brent crude hitting its highest level since early January when it traded at $36.67 a barrel. However, crude gave up most of its gains as expectations for production cuts were tempered.

—CNBC.com contributed to this report