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Iranian Oil Minister Heads For Energy Talks In Russia 

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh arrived in Moscow on Monday for senior-level talks regarding the global oil market and energy cooperation between Iran and Russia, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

Zangeneh will be meeting with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak to discuss energy-related issues, according to Iranian media.

Russia, the leader of the non-OPEC group of nations part of the OPEC+ deal, was reportedly the deal broker that convinced Iran to agree to the wording of the production cut deal that began on January 1 and currently expires in June.

Iran, alongside Libya and Venezuela, was exempted from the production cuts at the OPEC/non-OPEC meeting in December, due to the U.S. sanctions on its oil industry.

The visit of the Iranian oil minister in Moscow comes a month before the United States is due to decide whether to extend all or some or none of the waivers it had granted to key Iranian oil customers when it re-imposed the sanctions in early November.

The U.S. waivers for eight key Iranian oil customers, including China, India, Japan, and South Korea, expire in early May.

While the U.S. Administration says that it continues to pursue zero Iranian oil exports, analysts expect Washington to extend waivers to at least a few of the currently exempted buyers, with reduced volumes allowed under the new waivers, as the Administration wouldn’t want to push oil prices too high.

Russian oil companies, on the other hand, are currently sticking to the production cuts through June. The firms have not discussed production plans for the second half of the year and have decided that they would do so after April, Vagit Alekperov, president and CEO of Russian oil producer Lukoil, said last month.

Last week, reports had it that Russia—always the reluctant actor in OPEC+ cuts extensions—may not support an extension of the deal for the full six months until the end of the year.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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