ST PETERSBURG   -    Saudi Arabia said on Friday that OPEC and its allies should extend oil production cuts at around current levels as the kingdom did not want a fight for market share with the United States or a repeat of the price collapse five years ago. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih also said OPEC was close to agreeing to extend a pact on cutting oil supplies beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries that were part of the production deal.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide their next move. “On the OPEC side, a rollover is almost in the bag. The question is to calibrate with non-OPEC,” Falih said at an economic forum in the Russian city of St Petersburg. “I don’t think there will be a need to deepen the cut.” “I’m hoping it will be an easy decision and that we’ll roll over, but if it’s not, we will be flexible in terms of our position in the kingdom,” he said. Oil prices are up 16% so far this year thanks in part to the OPEC+ deal. But they have fallen from a peak above $75 in April to below $62 a barrel on concerns about demand due to a U.S.-China trade dispute and slowing economic growth.