June 21 (UPI) – The head of Russian oil producer Lukoil said Wednesday he was looking for stability in crude oil prices in order to form a reasonable investment program.

Russia is party to an effort led by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to balance an oversupplied market with coordinated declines in production. Russia is the largest contributor to the agreement outside of OPEC.

When it was implemented in January, the arrangement put a $50 per barrel floor under crude oil prices. OPEC in its latest monthly market report said balance was emerging, but at a slower pace than expected and crude oil prices have since moved into a bear market. The price for Urals crude oil, the Russian benchmark, was trading at around $44.80 per barrel early Wednesday.

Vagit Alexperov, the president of Russian oil company Lukoil, said he believed the drop in crude oil prices was temporary, but expressed concern about volatility.

“We need a stable price that allows us to form our investment program and encourages consumers to burn our fuel,” he was quoted as saying by Russian news agency Tass.

Speaking earlier this month at an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Alekperov said a decision from OPEC and other parties to the agreement to extend, rather than change, the agreement was enough to stabilize the market.

Crude oil prices started moving lower after parties to the agreement decided to extend the arrangement by three months to March 2018. Many market watchers had expected deeper cuts.

Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil company Rosneft, said recently that, from his perspective, the period of lower crude oil prices “is long-term.”

One of Russia’s largest oil companies, Lukoil said its oil production for 2016 was 8.6 percent lower than in 2015, but higher for the fourth quarter by about 2.5 percent.

About 95 percent of total Lukoil production volume comes from reserves in Russian territory.



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