The major oil-producing countries will hold a meeting on Sunday that is supposed to test the strength of the understanding between Saudi Arabia and Russia, after indications recently revealed a divergence in some positions.
The 13 member states of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, and its ten partners, led by Russia, meet in Vienna, the headquarters of the organization.
The second physical meeting of the organization since March 2020 is scheduled to be held at noon.
Bloomberg reported that its reporters, as well as reporters for Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, were not invited to the meeting.
The Financial Times indicated that a decision was taken at the initiative of Riyadh, which is suffering from the pressure of falling prices.
A number of countries in the group raised a surprise in April by announcing cuts amounting to more than one million barrels per day in an attempt to raise prices.
After improving for a short period, prices fell more than 10% amid fears of a global economic recession, an increase in interest rates for major central banks and a slower-than-expected recovery in demand in China after the end of restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 epidemic.
At the end of May, the price of a barrel of Brent North Sea oil came dangerously close to the $70 threshold, below which it has not fallen since December 2021.
Most analysts expect existing stakes to be maintained, but mixed signals have come from Riyadh and Moscow.
The Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman warned speculators last week on the sidelines of a forum in Doha.
He said, “I don’t have to reveal my cards, I am not a poker player… but I tell them (speculators) only be careful.”
He hints that the coalition will move to stop the retreat.
On the other hand, Russian Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Alexander Novak ruled out any change in production.
“I don’t think there will be any new changes” after the ministerial meeting, he told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.
According to analysts and companies, Russia is operating separately, and it’s far from the pledges made in February to reduce its production from 500,000 barrels per day, and is focusing on Asian markets such as India and China.
Moscow has reservations about closing the faucet of black gold, which it needs to finance its costly war in Ukraine, thus weakening the position of OPEC+.
In response to a question by reporters Thursday, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov sought to calm down, stressing that relations between the two countries are constructive and effective.
This Saudi-Russian alliance was shaken in March 2020 when Russia refused to reduce its production to support prices, which fell due to the spread of the Coronavirus to the lowest levels.
Then, Saudi Arabia responded by flooding the market with black gold by increasing its oil exports to a record high, sending prices below $50 at a threshold that took eight months to return to.