Sparta Report

Russia and Saudi Arabia May Team Up to Increase Oil Production

Russian and Saudi Arabia are probably the most powerful countries in OPEC, and if they decide they want to increase oil production, it’s going to happen. If a production hike occurs, get ready for a big crash in the price of oil:

On Friday, Russia’s energy ministry said it has reached a general consensus with Saudi Arabia that its newfound relationship with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) should be “institutionalized,” and be extended to monitor the market and take action if needed. OPEC will meet this upcoming Friday, and then with Russia and other non-OPEC members after that.

The chumminess of Russia and Saudi Arabia, however, is not unexpected. The relationship between two of world’s largest oil producers is being reinforced as OPEC is poised to grapple with several thorny issues. Chief among them is how to deal with the declines of supply from OPEC member Venezuela, and the effect of renewed sanctions on Iran by the United States.

Iran is being sanctioned by the U.S. after President Donald Trumpwithdrew from a deal between Iran and six other countries designed to end its nuclear program. Trump said the deal was not tough enough, and under the renewed sanctions, companies around the world in essence will have to stop dealing with Tehran if they want to deal with the world’s largest economy.

“This time more than most, [OPEC’s meeting] is almost more about geopolitics than it is about the market,” said Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit.

“Iranian exports are already down. One of the challenges they face is calibrating the impact of sanctions on Iran, which are already being felt in the market place, although they haven’t actually been imposed yet,” said Yergin. “There’s suddenly a disruption in Libya, and Venezuela keeps sinking.”

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