Having boosted its oil output to historic records, Saudi Arabia denied that it seeks to “get rid of” US shale oil producers, after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Riyadh of aggressively targeting competitors.
Rejecting the accusation as “fully devoid of truth,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud insisted that the Kingdom is and has always been “seeking to reach more cuts and achieve oil market equilibrium for the interest of shale oil producers.”
Despite pumping oil at a record pace of 12 million barrels per day and offering its customers unprecedented discounts, Riyadh rejected any responsibility for the oil market collapse, blaming Russia instead.
Back in March, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on deeper cuts to boost oil prices amid the coronavirus outbreak, but Russia recommended prolonging the existing deal, arguing that non-participant nations – like the United States, which remains the world’s top producer at 13 million bpd – would immediately fill the void. As a result of the disagreement, the OPEC+ deal expired in April, creating the risk of even greater oversupply.
Putin made clear on Friday that Moscow is always open to negotiations and totally “ready for agreements” with OPEC and other partners, as long as all sides cooperate on equal terms. US President Donald Trump also said he expected a “fair” deal (and hinted at potential tariffs otherwise), even though Washington itself has no intention to limit its own oil output.
The global oil market has taken a beating in 2020, with prices plummeting by nearly two-thirds and some benchmarks hitting 18-year lows this week amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Following a call for an emergency meeting from Riyadh and mounting pressure from the US, the OPEC member states are set to address the crisis by way of a video conference on Monday.
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