Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih talks to journalists before a meeting of OPEC oil ministers in Vienna, Austria, June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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Two years after triggering an oil price war, Saudi Arabia has seemingly had enough of cheap crude amid budget pressures, fear of a future supply shortage, and as it seeks to offload a stake in state-owned producer Aramco. The change in tone comes as OPEC and other producers such as Russia may resume talks on stabilising output when they meet in Algeria later this month, after a similar effort to boost oil prices collapsed in April due to Saudi-Iranian tensions.OPEC in November 2014 made a landmark policy shift, led by Saudi Arabia, refusing to cut production by itself in the hope that lower prices would discourage higher-cost competitors that had eroded the group's market share.At private talks with the Nigerian oil minister before the June 2 OPEC meeting, Falih was willing to revive the idea of a production freeze while showing more tolerance towards Iran, which is raising output post-sanctions, sources said.OPEC agreed to appoint Nigerian Mohammed Barkindo to the position.Saudi Arabia is by far the largest OPEC producer, pumping more than twice as much as the second-biggest, Iraq.
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