Total CEO says OPEC deal possible only if Russia participates
By Bate Felix
PARIS, Nov 24 (Reuters) – The OPEC deal to cut global oil production is possible, but would only happen if countries that do not belong to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also agree to cut output, Total’s chief executive said on Thursday.
“It will only be possible if non-OPEC countries including Russia also agree to cut (output), because Saudi Arabia will not shoulder the burden alone,” Patrick Pouyanne told an energy forum in Paris.
OPEC is due to meet on Nov. 30 to coordinate an output cut agreed in Algiers in September, potentially with the cooperation of Russia, which is not a member of the group.
Russia could revise down its 2017 oil production plans if a global output freeze pact comes into force, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday.
“To be honest, the missing element is; In what way the election of Donald Trump (as president of the United States) is going to affect the dynamics within OPEC?” Pouyanne said, without elaborating.
France’s Total signed a deal with Iran this month to further develop its part of the world’s largest gas field, becoming the first Western energy company to sign a major deal with Tehran since the lifting of international sanctions earlier this year following a nuclear deal.
“When I take a decision to sign an accord with Iran on the eve of the election of Donald Trump, I do that knowing that I’m potentially exposing about $1 billion of the company’s funds to risks. But I do so knowing that in the $150 billion that we manage, that risk is acceptable,” Pouyanne said, in a speech about energy and geopolitics.
“But I also do so knowing that being the first oil major to sign a deal will open doors for the company to potentially benefit in a major market and our Iranian partners will appreciate it,” he said.
Trump has called last year’s deal ending a diplomatic standoff between Iran and six world powers over the country’s nuclear policy and opening the way for western investment “the worst deal ever negotiated,” although he has also conceded it would be hard to tear up a deal enshrined in a U.N. resolution.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain and Adrian Croft)