Russia will not be the one to first demand a stop to the oil price war with Saudi Arabia because Russian President Vladimir Putin is unlikely to yield to what he sees as “Saudi blackmail,” sources familiar with Moscow’s thinking told Bloomberg.
The OPEC+ coalition between OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia and the leader of the non-OPEC nations in the production cut deal, Russia, abruptly ended earlier this month after Russia refused to back a huge additional supply cut in response to depressed demand. Saudi Arabia didn’t take that break-up too well, and made a U-turn in its oil policy, saying it will be pumping at will and supply the oil market with record-high volumes of crude oil in the coming months.
Russia isn’t backing down either, promising to boost production, too.
OPEC members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are flooding the oversupplied market with oil, going for Russia’s market share, while Russian oil firms also plan to boost production as of April 1.
Putin doesn’t have immediate plans to contact either the Crown Prince or the King of Saudi Arabia, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday, as carried by TASS.
“Putin is known for not submitting to pressure,” Alexander Dynkin, head of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, told Bloomberg. The institute is a state-run think tank which advises the Russian government on topics of international and economic relations.
Both Russia and Saudi Arabia are set to suffer from the oil price war, as $30 oil is below both countries’ fiscal breakevens, especially below Saudi Arabia’s $80-plus oil price breakeven.
Russia admitted this week that its revenues from oil and gas would be US$39.5 billion (3 trillion rubles) lower than planned due to the tumbling oil prices, and that Russia’s budget would be in deficit this year.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor Russia are currently backing down from the oil price war, but the one who blinks first will likely be the one whose finances will be hurt more.