Russia ready to meet with OPEC over low oil prices

Moscow (AFP) - Russia's energy minister said Thursday that Moscow was ready to take part in an OPEC meeting aimed at establishing possible "coordination" in the face of low oil prices due largely to a supply glut.

Moscow -- which is not a member of the oil cartel -- has seen its recession-hit economy damaged further by a recent slump in oil prices to a 12-year low.

"OPEC countries are currently trying to convene a meeting with the participation of member countries and non-members in February," Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

"Some countries have proposed this initiative and the question is being studied by different nations. From our side, we have confirmed the possibility of our participation," Novak said.

Novak said that a meeting could allow for "consultations about the situation on the market, the low price and possibilities for coordination in terms of production."

The minister also alleged OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia had proposed that oil-producing countries cut production by up to 5 percent, a prospect he said would be discussed at an upcoming meeting.

Saudi officials have not commented on Novak's claim.

Oil prices recovered slightly on Thursday after hitting 12-year lows last week, in part on the back of possible negotiations between Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

On Tuesday the Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil ministers said that OPEC will not cut production unless producers outside the cartel do the same, despite the plunge in crude prices.

Last year Russia's oil production hit a post-Soviet high of 10.7 million barrels a day on average.