Russia and Saudi Arabia’s alliance to prop-up global oil prices have collapsed into an all-out energy war. With increasing uncertainty about how much the novel coronavirus will impact the global economy, Russia’s decision to walk away from OPEC+ meetings two weeks ago—a decision reportedly driven by longtime Putin ally and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin—and a surge in oil production by Saudi Aramco, oil prices have reached record lows.
Now, with OPEC+ in tatters, Moscow determined to punish US shale producers, Riyadh insistent on reminding the world of its market-shaping power, and oil producers around the world scrambling to sustain their oil revenues, yesterday’s realities are rapidly changing as battle lines are drawn amid a pandemic.
Dr. Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council; Randolph Bell, Director, Global Energy Center, Atlantic Council; and Kirsten Fontenrose, Director, Scowcroft Middle East Security Initiative, Atlantic Council, discuss what is next for Russia and the Middle East as well as the dispute’s effects on global markets and international relations—particularly as governments are rocked by the ongoing global pandemic, with Ambassador John Herbst, Director, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council, moderating the discussion.
Putin, the Gulf, & more
Russia & the Middle East
Russia has long sought a strategic advantage in the Middle East and the Kremlin has become increasingly embroiled in regional security and political issues. From military intervention in Syria and tensions with Turkey to an oil price war with Saudi Arabia and support for Iran, Russia’s growing presence in the region poses issues for its long-term stability.
Mon, Mar 23, 2020
Russia is out of control. All of a sudden, it has launched an oil price war, even though it is unrealistic that the Kremlin can defeat Saudi Arabia and the United States in such a contest. Saudi Arabia’s population is one-fifth of Russia’s, while holding equivalent international currency reserves. The United States is still a net oil importer, meaning that its economy benefits from low oil prices. Russia, by contrast, is a major oil exporter and is utterly dependent on high oil prices.
Mon, Mar 9, 2020
“While Russia’s decision last week not to support OPEC’s proposal for a production cut and the subsequent oil price war—which as of publishing has pushed Brent crude down more than 9 percent—is surely part of the larger story of the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, it is actually better understood as a geopolitical story about how US energy production growth has strengthened the United States’ international posture, which in turn has reshaped a number of global relationships,” Randolph Bell says.
New Atlanticist by
Mon, Mar 23, 2020
The YPG leadership is said to be reassessing the strategic importance of its ties with what is an increasingly unreliable Washington, and is looking to further diversify its portfolio of international partners, with an eye toward strengthening ties with Russia.