Saudis, Russia at Odds Before OPEC Meeting

Saudis, Russia at Odds Before OPEC Meeting
Saudis, Russia at Odds Before OPEC Meeting

Saudi Arabia and Russia are once again heading into an OPEC+ meeting on opposite sides of a crucial debate about the oil market.
Riyadh is publicly urging fellow members to be “extremely cautious,” despite prices rebounding to a one-year high. In private, the kingdom has signaled it would prefer that the group broadly holds output steady, delegates said. Moscow, on the other hand, is indicating that it still wants to proceed with a supply increase, Bloomberg reported.
The positions mirror those taken at recent meetings, but this time the Saudis have a new bargaining chip -- 1 million barrels a day of voluntary cuts. The kingdom pledged to make these extra curbs only in February and March, but some see signs that could change as the negotiations get underway.
“The key question for me is how they return the Saudi barrels,” said Bill Farren-Price, a director at research firm Enverus and veteran observer of the group. The kingdom could potentially use them as “leverage for getting a deal,” he said.
Ten months after slashing crude production when Covid-19 crushed global demand, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are still withholding 7 million barrels a day from the market, about 7% of global supply.
It’s been a sacrifice, with members such as Iraq and Nigeria struggling economically as exports dropped. But it has yielded results, reviving prices to above $65 a barrel in London and shoring up producers’ battered revenues.
By most estimates, the cuts have meant oil demand exceeded production this year by a wide margin. 

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