A short-term cap in oil output would reduce market volatility, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday at a meeting with OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo. But as Laura Frykberg reports, Iraq's reluctance to play ball could be a problem.
Russia knows all too well the impact of plunging oil prices. It's one of the world's biggest producers - and cuts have hit its budget hard. Despite this - it's been largely absent from negotiations to solve the crisis. Until now. Russia's Energy Minister has met with the Saudi Secretary-General of OPEC in Vienna. And given signs the country could be joining the party. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN ENERGY MINISTER, ALEXANDER NOVAK, SAYING: "Being a short-term measure, freeze or even a cut for a certain period of time, may help to lower volatility in the market and make it more stable" Alexander Novak's words echo last month's OPEC meeting in Algeria. When members agreed to slightly reduce output - due to be finalised in the coming weeks. But some warn, wobbles are still ahead. (SOUNDBITE) (English): DARREN SINDEN, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "Even if the Saudis and the Russians do find common ground - and let's be clear they're backing different sides in the civil war in Syria - so there's a stumbling block there in the first instance - even if they do find common ground over oil, there are many other players in the lexicon who are not going to play ball." One of them is Iraq. Its oil minister says it won't agree to any OPEC deal to cut output. Adding its market share has been compromised by wars it's fought since the 1980s. The news sent oil prices falling on Monday. Russia's involvement in OPEC negotiations could either help this crisis, or complicate it even further.