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Russia, Saudi Arabia Approve Oil Freeze Deal, Says Oman Minister

Saudi Arabia and Russia have approved a deal to freeze crude output until Oct. 1 at January levels and other producers are expected to do so, Mohammed Al Rumhy, Oman’s oil minister, said in an interview in Doha.

At least 16 nations representing about half the world’s oil output are gathering on Sunday in the Qatari capital to discuss the proposal, aimed at stabilizing the oil market. Prior to the meeting, Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince said the nation wouldn’t agree to restrain its production unless other producers, including Iran, agree to freeze. Iran decided not to attend the meeting.

The comments from the world’s largest oil exporter cast doubt on the outcome of Sunday’s summit. Crude oil has rallied more than 30 percent since an agreement was first mooted in February. If the group were to fail to reach an agreement it would lead to a “severe” drop in prices, Citigroup Inc. predicted before the meeting.

Everybody is “optimistic” Kuwait’s Acting Oil Minister Anas al-Saleh said before the meeting, adding that a deal would “hopefully happen.”

Saudi Position

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, would cap its market share at about 10.3 million to 10.4 million barrels a day, if other producers agreed to the freeze, Prince Mohammed bin Salman said during an interview April 14 at King Salman’s private farm in Diriyah. Iran’s oil minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, said Saturday he won’t attend the Doha talks and won’t be a signatory to any deal as it would amount to self-imposed sanctions on the country which is restoring crude production after the removal of a ban on its shipments.

“If all major producers don’t freeze production, we will not freeze production,” said Prince Mohammed, 30, who has emerged...