An oil tanker at the port of Ras al-Khair, about 185 kilometers north of Dammam in Saudi Arabia overlooking the Persian Gulf. Photo: AFP / Giuseppe Cacace

Top oil-producing countries agreed Sunday to cut output in order to boost prices, which have plummeted due to the coronavirus crisis and a Russia-Saudi price war.

Kuwait Oil Minister Khaled al-Fadhel tweeted that, following extensive efforts, “we announce completing the historical agreement to cut production by nearly 10 million barrel per day by OPEC+ members starting May 1.”

Mexico’s Energy Minister Rocio Nahle said on Twitter the agreement was for “an oil reduction of 9.7 million barrels from May.”

OPEC producers, dominated by Saudi Arabia, and allies led by Russia, met via videoconference for an hour Sunday in a last-ditch effort to cement an accord struck early Friday that hinged on Mexico’s agreement.

Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry said in a statement earlier Sunday that “the meeting will take place in the framework of consultations resulting from the meeting on April 9 of ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC countries.” 

Sunday’s meeting was chaired by Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

Initially reticence from Mexico to introduce output cuts had led to a standoff that cast doubt on efforts to bolster oil prices, pushed to near two-decade lows by the demand-sapping pandemic and a Saudi-Russia price war that rattled global markets.

Oil prices have slumped since the beginning of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Compounding the problem, Russia and Saudi Arabia had both ramped up output in a bid to hold on to market share and undercut US shale producers. 

The production cut deal marks a possible end of the price war between Riyadh and Moscow.