The price for Brent crude oil fell by more than 6 percent in early trading in Asia on April 18 after a meeting of oil producing countries ended in Qatar without agreement on boosting global oil prices.
cartoon by Ali Romani, Iranian daily Shargh
Russia's Energy Minster Aleksandr Novak said at the end of the April 17 Doha meeting that the Kremlin was not optimistic about an agreement to freeze production because of "heated debates" at the conference and "Iran's position."
Iran, a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), boycotted the talks.
Tehran insists it will not limit its output until it raises its oil production to the level before international sanctions were imposed over Iran's nuclear program.
With those sanctions now lifted as a result of Iran's nuclear accord with world powers, Tehran wants to increase its daily oil production by one million barrels per day.
The Doha talks gathered together 18 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC countries
The talks followed a February agreement between Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Venezuela to push for a production freeze in order to shore up prices by reducing a global supply glut.
But Saudi Arabia said at the Doha gathering that any production freeze must be binding to all producers - effectively allowing Iran to block the deal by refusing to take part in it.
Qatar's Energy Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada said after six hours of negotiations in Doha that top oil producing countries needed "more time."
"The general conclusion was that we need more time to consult among ourselves in OPEC and non-OPEC producers," Sada told a press conference after the end of the talks.
Sada said OPEC members would meet in Vienna in June to again consider a possible freeze.
Novak, the Russian energy minister, said late on April 17 that Moscow will watch the positions of OPEC member countries and see "whether they are able to reach agreement between themselves that they all must take part in the freeze of oil production."
Russia - the world's third larger oil producer after Saudi Arabia and the United States -- is not a member of OPEC.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and TASS
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