Is Saudi Arabia Leaving The U.S. Behind For Russia?

Some saw this well publicized meeting as the first sign of an emerging partnership between the two greatest global oil producers. If the warmth of the meeting was any evidence, it seems likely that Russia, a non-OPEC producer, might come a lot closer to the fold.That could mean that, at the very least, Russia would have a voice in the cartel’s policy decisions on production. And if so, it would be a voice on the side of stable but rising prices.

The great Indian journalist, M.K. Bhadrakumar (MKB), may have been the first to point out that there was plenty of reasons for the Saudis and Russians to come closer together. Among these are the U.S.’ diminishing dependence on Middle Eastern energy, due to the momentous development of shale resources. There’s also the over-riding goal of the U.S. to pivot toward the East, where a huge economic transformation is unfolding, while reducing the U.S. role in the Middle East. It’s clear that the Saudis are going to have to make new friends.

MKB also makes the point that although the Saudis are wildly opposed to any form of U.S. entente with Iran, the clear-eyed Kremlin understands that there are many temptations for its erstwhile ally, Iran, to move much closer to the west.

Pepe Escobar of Asia Times saw the Prince’s visit as harboring the first glimmer of light in ending the current global oil trade war, in which the Saudi’s might turn down the spigot and lower production, enabling prices to rise:

“Facts on the ground included Russia and Saudi Arabia’s oil ministers discussing a broad cooperation agreement; the signing of six nuclear technology agreements; and the Supreme Imponderable; Putin and the deputy crown prince discussing oil prices. Could this be the end of the Saudi-led oil price war?”

Ali al-Naimi publicly praised the enhanced bilateral cooperation between Riyadh and Moscow, stating that, “[t]his, in turn, will lead to creating a petroleum alliance between the two countries for the benefit of the international oil market…”

This could be music to the ears of oil price bulls. But more skeptical minds were quick to clamp down excessive optimism. “Of course, we shouldn’t read into any new developments outside political frameworks, because I can hardly imagine that Saudi Arabia has decided to turn against its alliances—but it probably wants to get out of the narrow US corner and expand its options,” Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, wrote in a column after the summit.

At the meeting, the Saudis and Russians signed several memoranda of understanding including the development of nuclear power plants in the Kingdom, with the Saudis planning some 16+ plants

The two sides also plan on setting up working groups to study other possible energy joint ventures in Russia. Russia also agreed to the construction of railways and metro subways for the Saudis. Russia is also believed to have agreed to supply advanced military defense equipment to the Kingdom, despite the Saudis being long time arms customers of both the UK and U.S.

Full article: Is Saudi Arabia Leaving The U.S. Behind For Russia? (Oil Price)

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