Oil cartel, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), aims to agree on a longer-term partnership with non-member producers by the end of the year, Suhail al-Mazrouei,United Arab Emirates energy minister told local media Thursday.
Mazrouei, who currently holds the rotating OPEC presidency on behalf of UAE, says putting a “draft charter” in place by the end of 2018 is a goal of his government, in an interview published by The National.
The objective, the minister said, is “for this group to stay together for a longer time”.
OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia in January first called for extending cooperation between the 14-member cartel and independent producers after a deal it spearheaded with Russia to cut output succeeded in shoring up prices.
The call, the first explicit invitation by Riyadh for long-term cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, came with oil prices topping $70 a barrel thanks to the deal after they dove below $30 a barrel in early 2016.
Producers have hailed the cut of 1.8 million barrels per day as a major boost for crude markets.
Mazrouei in January said the number of independent producers who have joined the deal had climbed to 16 countries, up from 10 originally.
Leading non-member Russia has appeared less committed to the idea of establishing a permanent framework, however.
Alexander Novak, Russian Energy Minister in January said the cooperation had thus far been a “successful experiment” but added that “mutual action between OPEC and non-OPEC countries” could also continue in the form of “consultations”.