Russian energy minister Alexander Novak has expressed confidence that the OPEC-led group of crude exporters are capable of covering potential supply shortages, S&P Global reported.

There are concerns that the group may not be able to prevent prices from rising over the coming months when US sanctions on Iran combine with continued problems in Venezuela to reduce global supply.

“There is a fairly significant combined potential by the countries [participating in the deal] that can increase production and this potential can be used if necessary,” Novak told reporters on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum.

He said he sees no short-term risks of supply shortages as demand is generally reduced in winter, even though the prospect of an Iranian withdrawal from the market adds “huge uncertainty”.

“I don’t forecast too high prices. To the contrary, I think the price can be corrected down, taking into account [upcoming] low demand season, while currently we are still in the high demand summer level,” Novak said.

However, he did not rule out the possibility that the consortium of producers may further ease production caps should potential deficits need to be covered.

He declined to comment on what Russia may have planned for the group’s upcoming Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, to be held in Algeria on September 22 and 23.

“The situation has been changing and we need to give a serious estimate of the current stand of affairs and also supply and demand forecasts for the next six months in Algeria,” he said, adding that the technical committee of the group is preparing such a study.