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Scared by looming U.S. anti-cartel legislation for the oil industry, the Organization for the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies such as Russia have decided against creating a formal body, at least on paper.
A draft of a document – setting up a new alliance and dated January 2019 – and seen by Reuters carefully avoids any mention of sensitive issues such as oil prices, market share and production cuts.
OPEC and Russia have been cutting production together to support prices since 2017, after clinching a deal in December 2016, in moves that have provoked criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump.
A committee of the U.S. Congress passed legislation, known as the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC, last week.
The draft says OPEC and Russia will discuss creating “a mechanism” rather than “an organization” when they meet in April 17-18 in Vienna, calling for the creation of an “Alliance of Oil Producing Countries”.
“It looks genuine. It’s also been updated since,” an OPEC source said without giving any further details.
Russia’s energy ministry declined to comment.