Skip to main content

Does Moscow’s withdrawal from OPEC-plus deal end Russia-Saudi honeymoon?

Russia’s decision to break off from the Saudis in the OPEC-plus agreement has some merits.

The decision by Moscow to withdraw from OPEC-plus beginning April 1 caused shock and panic among market analysts. This structure emerged as a result of joint Russian-Saudi efforts that, in 2016, led to the Vienna Agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC countries, a deal aimed to decrease oil production in order to prevent the fall of oil prices and ensure their stability. The initial six-month OPEC-plus deal was then extended several times. It also led to the formation of a permanent forum-like structure with its own charter signed in July, which allows participants to coordinate and adjust their production policies.

This Russia-backed format proved to be effective and achieved, at least temporarily, relatively high and stable oil prices. In December, the deal was extended until April. Consequently, until the very last moment, the Kremlin’s withdrawal from the deal seemed to be hardly possible, although Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak periodically told the international community that his country did not plan to stay the part of this structure forever.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.