* Angola says will support extension of output cuts
* Iraq would adhere to an extension
* Saudi energy minister to speak on Tuesday
(Adds Exxon declined to comment)
By Liz Hampton and Ruthy Munoz
HOUSTON, March 6 Russia and Iraq said on Monday
it was too early to discuss an extension of a historic deal to
curb oil output beyond June while cash-strapped Angola supported
the move to boost oil prices.
Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC) including Iraq and non-OPEC countries such as
Russia last year agreed to cut oil production by some 1.8
million barrels per day (bpd)for six months beginning Jan. 1 to
reduce global oil supplies that have weighed on prices.
On Tuesday, all eyes will be on Saudi Arabia's Energy
Minister Khalid al Falih who is scheduled to speak at the
CERAWeek energy conference in Houston. Falih met his Russian
counterpart, Alexander Novak, on Monday and the two voiced
satisfaction with the deal so far. He also met with Exxon Mobil
Corp CEO Darren Woods, an industry source said. An Exxon
spokesman declined to comment.
"It's premature to talk about extending the agreement,"
Novak told reporters on Monday.
Russia agreed to cut its output by 300,000 bpd under the
deal, and would reach that target by the end of April, Novak
said in remarks translated from Russian. So far, Russia has cut
about half of that, he said.
Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi also was cautious on
the possibility of an extension.
"It's very premature to talk about any changes or to predict
anything," Luaibi said.
Iraq, which seeks to sharply increase its output by the end
of the decade, would participate in cuts if OPEC extended the
agreement beyond June, he added.
Iraq agreed to cut its production by 210,000 bpd as its part
of the bargain in November.
Russia led the non-OPEC producers that joined the deal,
which has lifted global oil prices more than 10 percent
Russia expects oil prices to stay at between $55 to $60 per
barrel in 2017, he said. Benchmark Brent crude settled
at $56.01 a barrel on Monday.
Saudi Arabia said last week it would like to see oil prices
rise to $60 per barrel in 2017.
Angola, which agreed to cut 80,000 bpd under the November
agreement, would welcome an extension of the six-month deal,
said the chief executive of Sonangol, the West African nation's
state-run oil company.
"We feel that there is a great deal of upside (to the cuts)
and it was about time OPEC had an agreement," CEO Isabel dos
Santos told Reuters.
"If an extension came along, we would comply with it...
Considering the current environment, it could be positive."
Russia has been the subject of Western economic sanctions
for its annexation of Crimea and conflict in Ukraine. In
December, former President Barack Obama authorized expanded U.S.
sanctions against Russia for intervening in the U.S. election.
It is unclear if those sanctions will remain in place under
President Donald Trump, an advocate for more cooperation between
the United States and Russia.
Novak said there was lots of "untapped potential" for Russia
and the United States to cooperate on energy matters.
(Reporting by Liz Hampton and Ruthy Munoz; Writing by Simon
Webb and Ron Bousso; Editing by Leslie Adler and Lisa Shumaker)