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Saudis Insult Putin For Lying About Oil Price Collapse, Jeopardizing Crucial OPEC+ Meeting

So, he's lying, but what else is new?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the OPEC+ virtual meeting planned for Monday may be delayed after Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan decided it would be a good idea to insult Vladimir Putin.

“Russia was the one that refused the agreement”, the Saudi foreign ministry snapped, in a statement. “The kingdom and 22 other countries were trying to to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the agreement”.

On Friday, in the course of saying Russia would be willing to join in a global arrangement to cut production, Putin denied any responsibility for the price collapse.


“It was the pullout by our partners from Saudi Arabia from the OPEC+ deal, their increase in production and their announcement that they were even ready to give discounts on oil”, he said, referencing Riyadh’s dramatic cuts to official selling prices for April announced on March 7, the day after an OPEC+ meeting in Vienna aimed at cementing a deal to support the market in the face of unprecedented demand destruction tied to coronavirus containment measures ended in acrimony.

“This was apparently linked to efforts by our partners from Saudi Arabia to eliminate competitors who produce so-called shale oil”, Putin added. “To do that, the price needs to be below $40 a barrel. And they succeeded in that. But we don’t need that, we never set such a goal”.

By most accounts, it was in fact Putin who wanted to drive US shale out of business, perhaps in retaliation for the Trump’s administration’s opposition to Nord Stream 2 and also in response to sanctions on Rosneft.

In other words, Putin on Friday attributed his own motives to the Saudis.

So, Putin is lying. But what else is new, right? That is, pride aside for the Saudis, what difference does it make? I’d imagine some of Russia’s inland production is at risk of being shut in at current prices (or at least at prices that prevailed before last week’s rally), and although Moscow may be in a less precarious fiscal situation than the Saudis, the total collapse of the market isn’t great for anyone.

But Riyadh is having none of it from Putin.”The Russian Minister of Energy was first to declare to the media that all the participating countries are absolved of their commitments”, Prince Abdulaziz said Saturday, in a statement of his own. “This led to the decision by countries to raise their production in order to offset lower prices and compensate for their loss of returns”.

Market watchers were already skeptical of any grand bargain and even those inclined to be optimistic warned that virtually no production cut would be large enough to offset the kind of outright demand destruction brought about by the travel restrictions and other containment measures in place around the world in association with the virus.

In any case, crude is coming off a blockbuster week. If the talks collapse, that won’t be good news for the nascent rally, and it will surely infuriate Donald Trump.

Remember: All that really matters is what Putin and Prince Mohammed say to each other, either through subordinates or directly. The rest of this is, at best, public posturing. At worst, it’s just noise.

Read more: Trump Says Mohammed Bin Salman, Putin To Announce Giant Production Cut, Sparking Insane Oil Rally

8 comments on “Saudis Insult Putin For Lying About Oil Price Collapse, Jeopardizing Crucial OPEC+ Meeting

  1. Why wouldn’t Trump institute tariffs on foreign oil imports to protect US producers if Saudi/Russian talks fail?

    • Putin knew he would crash shale oil bonds. His Oil Minister was last to the meeting and said as much.He had a war chest going in.He has humiliating setbacks from Turkey in Syria. Corona did not concern him domestically. Putin needs scapegoats for several reasons.
      I did read somewhere that the Saudis can do $20 bl for 5 years easily.
      For Trump to do a Tariff/tax is bad timing for an economy that may put cheap oil to better use. Oil has always been a boom or bust business . Oil as an important national interest may have worked politically 20 years ago. Hence ethanol. He has granted numerous ethanol exemptions since taking office and added a trade war to corn growers concerns.
      The Saudis seem to have the simplest hand to play. Uncertainty rules the day. Chinese economy enjoys the fallen fruit.

    • Here’s where it comes from. Putting up tariffs would start a whole new set of messes:
      https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=727&t=6

  2. Mr. Oxygen

    That might penalize every other industry and and person in the country, and for what the sake of the pushy bad neighbor meat-heads and gamblers in the frack patch?

  3. This is all a Dog and Pony show….Saudi and Russian interest are the same on this issue and and both need cover because a vindictive American temperament… The Chinese are also complicit busy building storage capacity… Europe watches in dismay as the trade routes in oil are rerouted …The source is good on this….

  4. Since we have so much helicopter money, do a reverse tariff on USA shale oil. Let our Arab and Russkie friends do their dance.

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