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Oil nations may extend pact

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KUWAIT: The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and rival oil producers met in Kuwait yesterday to review their progress with a global pact to cut supplies and may discuss whether the agreement should be extended beyond June to help stabilise the market.

Opec and 11 other leading oil producers, including Russia, agreed in December to cut their combined output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day in the first half of the year.

The accord, aimed at propping up the weak oil market, lifted crude prices to more than US$50 (S$70) a barrel.

But the price gain has encouraged US shale oil producers, who are not part of the pact, to boost output.

Kuwaiti Oil Minister Essam al-Marzouq said the oil market may return to balance by the third quarter of this year if producers comply fully with their production targets.

"We assured ourselves and the world that we would reach our adjustment to 100 per cent conformity," Mr Marzouq said. - REUTERS