Saudi Crown Prince, Putin Discuss OPEC+ Cooperation for Oil Market Stability

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman discussed cooperation within the OPEC+ group of oil-producing countries in order to maintain oil price stability. 

The two leaders held a phone call on Monday ahead of the virtual meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, known collectively as OPEC+, which is set to be held virtually on Wednesday. 

The OPEC+ panel is likely to recommend keeping the oil producer group’s current output policy unchanged when it meets this week. 

The panel called the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), can call for a full OPEC+ meeting if warranted.

The JMMC is expected to discuss on Wednesday the economic outlook and the scale of Chinese demand and was unlikely to suggest tweaks to current policy.

Russian oil production has so far shown resilience in the face of Western sanctions imposed after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 and price caps introduced by Western countries in December.

The OPEC+ meeting this week comes as the price of oil has rallied in 2023 towards $90 a barrel on hopes Chinese demand will recover while the European Union and Group of Seven (G7) are set to broaden a price cap on Russian crude to refined products from Feb. 5.

The European Union is set to ban Russian oil product imports from Feb. 5, which is expected to curb Russia’s oil processing and lead to more crude oil exports. 

It comes as Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, may trim prices for crude grades sold to Asia for a fourth straight month in March, amid low physical oil premiums, as oversupply worries linger despite expectations of demand recovery in China.

State oil company Saudi Aramco may lower the official selling price of its flagship Arab Light crude by about 30 cents to Asian clients for March-loading cargoes, according to surveys of four refining sources. 

The supply overhang remains to cloud the Asian market as China and India continue to scoop up discounted Russian barrels.

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