FAST FIVE: Saudis Unwilling To Upset Putin As Biden Begs For More Crude
But US gasoline prices at $5 a gallon and the loss of part of the Russian supply have made President Biden reconsider and meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Saudi Arabia has publicly reiterated its “warm” ties with Russia on several occasions since Putin invaded Ukraine, and considers keeping Russia in the OPEC+ alliance an important part of its oil policy.
Novak was speaking after a meeting in St Petersburg with Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who made a surprise appearance at a Russian economic forum. During that meeting, the Saudi minister said that Saudi-Russian relations were “as warm as the weather in Riyadh.” Two weeks before that meeting, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Riyadh and met with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
But the Kingdom had to check with Russia first before proposing the redistribution of the September increase in July and August, sources with knowledge of the behind-the-scenes diplomacy told Reuters this week. Both the Saudis and Russia benefit from the OPEC+ deal, so Riyadh wants to keep Russia on board, the sources say. “The Saudis are enjoying high prices while the Russians need guaranteed support from OPEC+ in the current circumstances,” a source familiar with Russian thinking told Reuters. “No one is interested in a market collapse,” added the source. After the production cuts are completely rolled back next month, a more difficult decision for OPEC+ looms: what to do next as Russia is more than 1 million bpd behind target and could lose more supply as the EU embargo on its oil begins at the end of this year. Neither is OPEC+ as a group anywhere close to reaching its target production, nor has Saudi Arabia much spare capacity left to boost production further, as the US and other major consumers want.
Per the OPEC+ deal, the Saudi target (as well as Russia's) is at 11.004 million bpd for August.