Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Friday poured cold water on long-simmering plans to make Moscow's alliance with OPEC and other oil producers permanent. The group of roughly two dozen producers has been managing global petroleum supply for the last two years in order to rebalance the market after a prolonged and punishing oil price downturn.
The effort succeeded in shrinking global crude stockpiles and boosting prices to four-year highs — until the market suddenly crashed again in early October. The group has agreed to a fresh round of output cuts that begin Jan. 1.
For at least a year, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo has discussed "institutionalizing" the arrangement. That would essentially form a supergroup of oil producers comprised of the 14-nation OPEC, Russia and nine other oil-exporting nations, which would be able to more quickly respond to problems in the market.