In a significant move that could bring partial relief to the oil-producing countries reeling under sliding crude oil prices, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar and Venezuela agreed to freeze oil output on Tuesday at a crucial meeting in Doha, Qatar.
Qatar's energy minister Mohammad bin Saleh al-Sada said that the four countries would freeze output at January levels on condition that other major oil exporters also agree to it.
The talks involved Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak, among others, Reuters reported, citing sources. The meeting was also attended by Qatar, which currently heads the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), and Venezuela's Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino.
However, oil prices that gained on Tuesday morning reported a dip after it was announced that the decision was limited to freezing output, not to cut production, reports Marketwatch.
Crude oil prices had moved above $30 a barrel on Tuesday before the four-nation meeting.
Venezuela's Eulogio Del Pino said that talks would be held with two other major oil producers Iran and Iraq on Wednesday to drive a broader agreement on the output freeze.
Falling crude oil prices over the past 18 months have left the Opec countries worried at a time when major oil consumers like China and the US are experiencing a slowdown.
India is one of the major oil importing countries in the world and has been a major beneficiary of the windfall; about 80 percent of the country's oil requirements are met through imports.