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Russia prepared to join production freeze: Minister

Alexander Novak, Russia's minister of energy, moved to reassure oil-price watchers by reaffirming at a CNBC-moderated panel at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul that his country is prepared to join the oil-producing cartel OPEC in a production freeze.

"Yesterday, when the President (Vladimir Putin) was talking here, I think he answered that question," Novak said through an interpreter during the panel discussion.

"He said that at present, at the current period, the freezing or decreasing of production is the cleverest and the best way to re-balance the market so that we all could decrease the risk and mitigate the volatility risk that can influence the situation in the market."

"It will help in bringing investment into the industry, because if there are no investments… In the future we will be faced with the challenge of the lack… of energy resources, and it will influence the socio-economic development of different countries."

"That's why we are prepared to join this freezing," Novak went on to say.

Russia was prepared to consider the positions of other countries, Novak said, and understood that the situations and positions of OPEC members could be different. He went on to state that OPEC was an organization that had been influential for a long time, and that the group would "manage to come to a consensus within themselves."

Oil prices rallied on Monday after Russia said it was ready to join OPEC in an output freeze deal loosely agreed in September.


Amid rising skepticism over whether OPEC – and potentially, Russia – could follow through on a proposal to cut their oil output, the International Energy Agency said in its monthly report on Tuesday that the "real work starts now", with thorny issues surrounding the deal yet to be worked out.

Also speaking on Tuesday's panel was Eulogio del Pino, Venezuela's minister of petroleum. "Now, we are at the right time to be able to talk, we're going to have the opportunity to talk tomorrow to Alexander Novak… and some other ministers present here at this meeting," he said.

"We are using this kind of conference to get together, to talk, and to (make) progress in the construction of the consensus that is so needed for the world economy," del Pino added.

"Because, as my President, (Nicolas) Maduro, mentioned yesterday, it's not a question of the economy of the producers, it's a question of the economy of the world."

CNBC's Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report