The price of OPEC basket of thirteen crudes stood at $38.58 a barrel on Thursday, compared with $38.91 the previous day, according to OPEC Secretariat calculations.

The new OPEC Reference Basket of Crudes (ORB) is made up of the following: Saharan Blend (Algeria), Girassol (Angola), Oriente (Ecuador), Minas (Indonesia), Iran Heavy (Islamic Republic of Iran), Basra Light (Iraq), Kuwait Export (Kuwait), Es Sider (Libya), Bonny Light (Nigeria), Qatar Marine (Qatar), Arab Light (Saudi Arabia), Murban (UAE) and Merey (Venezuela).

Meanwhile, CNBC reports that all eyes are on Doha this weekend where a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers is being held to discuss freezing oil production output at current levels, but the finance minister of major oil exporter Russia poured cold water on any hopes for a deal.

"I want to say that we don't expect any changes in the price in spite of the negotiations which are being conducted currently with oil-extracting nations," he told CNBC on Thursday.

Oil prices have risen this week in anticipation of the meeting in Qatar on Sunday with Brent futures currently trading at $43.90 a barrel and U.S. WTI at $41.57. Expectations among analysts for any kind of deal between the world's rival producers are low, however. OPEC member Iran is unlikely, for example, to agree to cut production levels when it is trying to recover its oil industry after years of economic sanctions.

Siluanov told CNBC that Russia was trying to find ways to work with the current oil price or around $40 a barrel and had based its economic projections on such a price.

"Our economic plans are correlated in relation to the current oil price - about $40 a barrel. That is why we see that in the conditions of the slowing down of world economic growth rates, the accumulation of oil reserves by producers, there are no serious grounds for talking about increasing oil prices. We see that we will have to work within the conditions where oil prices fluctuate around $40 a barrel," he said.

Non-OPEC member Russia is one of the world's largest oil exporters but its economy has been hit by a double-whammy of low oil prices and international sanctions imposed on it for its annexation of Crimea and role in the pro-Russian uprising in east Ukraine.

Lower oil exports have hit government revenues hard but the finance minister said that the oil price had presented Russia with an opportunity to "further develop non-raw material industries" and diversify its economy away from oil.

"The economy's dependency on high oil prices which existed, in reality hurt other industries. High-tech industries and VAT industries were not developed because we were buying from external markets while selling expensive oil. Now this is no longer the case. We have to develop our own industries and this will create a more stable economy as well as profit base for our budget," he said.

"We are ready and we plan to work within the current price categories and for Russia this is quite acceptable and correct."


Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com/91.3fm with files from CNBC



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