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Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Russia, Saudi Arabia Extend Oil Partnership Indefinitely

Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to extend their oil partnership indefinitely, with the agreement stipulating that they could move to regulate oil production at any moment, TASS reports, quoting Energy Minister Alexander Novak.

"I think that the framework is the same (the current agreement). It will simply be institutionalized, and will not specify particular volumes. Most likely it will stipulate the possibility of decision-making if needed,” Novak said.

The news is a confirmation of what everyone was expecting from the largest participants in the OPEC+ deal. However, the significance of this agreement is only hypothetical: the terms cited by Novak are very general and—hardly surprisingly—there are no stipulations concerning specific production volumes.

Russia and OPEC are meeting next Friday to discuss the future of the production cut deal. Moscow and Riyadh have made it clear they are in favor of a return to higher production to keep a lid on prices but other OPEC members, notably Iraq and Iran, are against it. Related: The Fed Is Driving Down Oil Prices

On Saturday, Novak said he and his Saudi counterpart Khalid al-Falih had agreed to propose to the group to up production by 1.5 million bpd beginning in July. The final decision needs to be unanimous for OPEC, however, and many analysts expect the meeting to be a disaster.

"We are only proposing this for the third quarter. In September we will review the situation in the market and decide the future course," the minister said.

The need to increase production emerged as Venezuela’s production is in free fall and Iranian production is threatened by the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions. At the same time, global demand is growing according to most forecasts, which pushed Brent crude to over US$80 a barrel in April. This, however, proved too expensive for the world’s biggest consumers China and India—as well as from President Trump—and calls for reining in the price followed.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh G Salameh on June 18 2018 said:
    It is not a bad thing if Saudi Arabia and Russia institutionalize the current OPEC/non-OPEC production cut agreement creating a permanent mechanism which can respond quickly to any sign of a tightening in the global oi market or a return of the glut to the market.

    However, they should not give themselves extraordinary powers to breach the the OPEC deal at well by intervening to raise or lower production as they see fit thus sidelining OPEC.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London
  • Lee James on June 18 2018 said:
    -Big OPEC and little OPEC is the new reality?!

    Cooperation between Russia and the Saudis seems to be based on controlling market price. They may agree on production level, but look how differently the two countries are using their oil wealth. The Saudis are looking to modernize in a big way. Putin is talking up benefits for citizens; but they spend a lot on weapons, relative to the size of their economy.

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