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RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Thursday after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak played down the prospect of further production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, at its meeting next week.

Brent crude futures were down $1.07, or 1.37 percent, to $77.29 a barrel at 1:30 p.m., while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.14, or 0.7 percent, to $73.20.

On Thursday, Novak said he expected no new steps from the OPEC+ oil producers at its meeting in Vienna on June 4, Russian media reported.

Novak also said that high US interest rates and a slower-than-expected Chinese economic recovery kept oil prices from rising further.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC+ oil producers announced cuts of more than 1 million barrels per day in April after crude prices in March fell toward $70 a barrel, the lowest in 15 months.

Novak said he expected Brent LCOc1 price to be above $80 a barrel by the end of the year, the state-owned news agency RIA reported. He said current prices between $75 and $76 reflected the market’s assessment of the global macroeconomic situation.

Kashagan oilfield output falls 

Oil output at Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan oilfield fell this month after its operator shut two offshore injection wells on May 20 following the detection of sour gas during routine sampling, the company said on Thursday.

The North Caspian Operating Co. closed the wells to conduct an integrity test and further the survey program.

“Oil production (was) reduced during this testing period,” NCOC told Reuters.

Kashagan typically produces about 300,000 bpd.

Kazakhstan’s total daily oil and gas condensate output between May 21 and 24 averaged 240,525 tons per day, down from 252,133 tons per day between May 15 and 20, the country’s Oil and Gas Information and Analysis Service said.

NCOC is a consortium that includes Shell, Eni, TotalEnergies and Exxon Mobil Corp. as well as companies from Kazakhstan, China and Japan.

Norway oil companies raise investment forecast

Norwegian oil and gas companies have increased their investment forecasts for 2023, partly due to cost inflation, data from the country’s national statistics office showed on Thursday.

The country’s biggest business sector now expects to invest 197.8 billion Norwegian krones in 2023, up from a forecast of 187.8 billion Norwegian krones made in February, said the agency.

(With input from Reuters)

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