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Tsvetana Paraskova

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Russia Backs OPEC Deal With Wild Card for Iran’s Output

Shale Well

The latest chapter in the oil production freeze chatter saw Russia and Saudi Arabia issuing remarks about a possible deal, but while the Saudi foreign minister said that positions were moving closer, Vladimir Putin said he would be in favor of an OPEC deal with a ‘leeway’ for Iran which deserves to make a complete return to the market.

“Iran is starting from a very low position, connected with the well-known sanctions in relation to this country,” Putin said in an interview with Bloomberg. “It would be unfair to leave it on this sanctioned level.”

Putin’s view on Russia’s latest best friend, Iran, will not be sitting well with Iran’s regional archrival, Saudi Arabia, which is also OPEC’s top oil producer, with non-OPEC Russia sitting pretty as the world’s top producer.

In early August, when the rumors and speculation ahead of the informal OPEC meeting in late September were only starting to fly around, Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said he saw no grounds for resuming talks to put a freeze on crude production, but was open to join discussions if OPEC members were to raise the issue.

In yesterday’s Bloomberg interview, Putin said that a deal would be “right decision for world energy”, and was quick to remind the world that it was the Saudis who backed out of a deal in April.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's minister of foreign affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Friday that OPEC and non-OPEC partners were moving towards a common position.

A lot of other comments, statements, hints and remarks are bound to flood the market until September 26-28.

What’s clear now is that Russia is building up an increasingly friendly relationship with Iran. The cozying up between Moscow and Tehran has been explained with the overlapping political and, most importantly economic, interests of the two states. Some suggest that this overlap is temporary, judging by the history of the two countries and their certainly uneven relations, but however long it lasts, this relationship will put Russia on a firmer footing in the Middle East, to the disadvantage of other major players, namely, Saudi Arabia.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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