A senior U.S. energy official said he doubted the success of a proposal by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to freeze crude oil output in an oversupplied market and boost prices.
Oil prices have crashed 70 percent in the past 20 months, driven by near-record production by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers, mainly Russia.
In an attempt to stabilize prices, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Venezuela have agreed a deal to freeze production at January levels if other producers do the same.
“I am highly skeptical of this deal,” said Amos J. Hochstein, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for international energy affairs. “Locking in countries’ production near historic production highs does not change an oversupplied market.”
Russia and OPEC were both pumping oil at near-record volumes last month, with Russia reaching another post-Soviet high of 10.88 million barrels per day (bpd).
Russia believes the oversupply of around 1.8 million bpd could be halved if the deal to freeze oil production at January levels takes effect.