LONDON - OPEC secretary general Mohammed Barkindo welcomed Thursday the rebalancing of the world oil market, hinting the cartel would likely renew its output-cutting deal next month.
Barkindo made the comments at the annual Oil & Money conference in London, before the latest production meeting of the 14-nation Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in early November.
"There is no doubt that the market is rebalancing at an accelerating pace -- and there is far more light at the end of the tunnel," Barkindo told journalists on the sidelines of the industry event in the British capital.
The OPEC boss highlighted recent upward global demand revisions from various organisations including the Paris-based International Energy Agency watchdog.
He also spoke after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared in October it was possible to extend the OPEC deal "at least until the end of 2018", during Saudi Arabian King Salman's visit to Moscow.
"Putin gave a very pointed answer. We took it seriously -- it was the president talking," said Barkindo on Thursday.
He added that Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh and Russian counterpart Alexander Novak would "take their cue" from Putin's comments in upcoming discussions with other oil producers.
Late last year, the Saudi-led OPEC cartel joined with Russia and other producer nations in cutting crude output in a pact that has helped prop up prices.
The deal, which was subsequently extended through March 2018, has helped guide oil prices back above $50 per barrel.
OPEC will convene again on November 7 for the next scheduled gathering at its Vienna headquarters, where any deal extension will be decided upon.
"At the moment consultations are ongoing for the agenda for November, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia," added Barkindo.
"Khaled al-Faleh is touring member countries and Alexander Novak the others. It would not be appropriate to comment."
He noted that OPEC nations had increased their level of compliance with production targets in September from August, according to preliminary data.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are two of the world's two biggest energy exporters.