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Saudi crown prince, Putin boost energy cooperation in Moscow meeting

The recent meeting between the Russian president and the Saudi crown prince appears to have moved the two countries closer to a grand bilateral energy deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during their meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia June 14, 2018. Yuri Kadobnov/Pool via REUTERS - RC1F6D500190

On June 14, the meeting of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as the talks between their energy ministers, Khalid al-Falih and Alexander Novak, brought important results. On the one hand, Moscow and Riyadh seemed to finalize their joint position regarding the future of the Vienna agreement, in which OPEC countries agreed to reduce their production of oil. On the other hand, Russia and Saudi Arabia declared their readiness to form a coalition that would be determining the future of the global oil and gas market. This is a serious declaration, as the two countries still have a lot of differences they need to overcome.

Recent Russian-Saudi negotiations left no doubts that there will definitely be an increase in the oil output of OPEC plus (a group of OPEC and non-OPEC members that in 2016 agreed to limit their oil production in order to stabilize the global oil market). Moscow and Riyadh agreed on this and see the revision of oil production quotas as inevitable. However, it is not clear whether Novak and Falih agreed on the exact volume of production increase they will be offering to other members of OPEC plus at their meeting in late June. Yet it seems that the Saudis gave the green light to Moscow to suggest a higher increase volume than was initially expected. After his consultations with Falih, Novak said Russia might go for an increase of 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) instead of the initially suggested 1 million bpd. This move is completely in Russian interests.

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