Commodities Corner: Here’s why Russia may still be reluctant to go along with a Saudi-led cut in oil output

One of the big uncertainties of the upcoming meeting of major oil producers next week is whether Russia will cooperate with any decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production.

A lot is at stake at the Dec. 6 meeting in Vienna of OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers following a more than 30% drop in oil prices since early October. That hefty decline may not be enough of an incentive for Russia to cooperate because it can produce a barrel of oil at a much cheaper rate than OPEC member Saudi Arabia.

Still, on Thursday, citing two industry sources, Reuters reported that Russia is becoming more convinced that it needs to reduce oil output along with OPEC, but that it is “still bargaining” with Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest oil producer, over when and by how much to cut.

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