Putin starts war on U.S. shale oil industry

The move is seen as retaliation for American sanctions hindering Nord Stream 2 gas pipe completion.

On Friday, Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak told his Saudi Arabian counterpart Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the OPEC HQ in Vienna that Russia was unwilling to cut oil production further. The Kremlin had decided that propping up prices as the coronavirus ravaged energy demand would be a gift to the U.S. shale industry.

The frackers had added millions of barrels of oil to the global market while Russian companies kept wells idle, YahooFinance reports. Now it was time to squeeze the Americans, Russia thought. Oil prices fell more than 10%.

For over three years, President Vladimir Putin had kept Russia inside the OPEC+ coalition, allying with Saudi Arabia and the other OPEC members to curb oil production and support prices. On top of helping Russia’s treasury – energy exports are the largest source of state revenue – the alliance brought foreign policy gains, creating a bond with Saudi Arabia’s new leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But the OPEC+ deal also aided America’s shale industry and Russia was increasingly angry with the Trump administration’s willingness to employ energy as a political and economic tool. It was especially irked by the U.S.’s use of sanctions to prevent the completion of a pipeline linking Siberia’s gas fields with Germany, known as Nord Stream 2. The White House has also targeted the Venezuelan business of Russia’s state-oil producer Rosneft.

“The Kremlin has decided to sacrifice OPEC+ to stop U.S. shale producers and punish the U.S. for messing with Nord Stream 2,” said Alexander Dynkin, president of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, a state-run think tank. “Of course, to upset Saudi Arabia could be a risky thing, but this is Russia’s strategy at the moment – flexible geometry of interests.”

(c) Unian


  1. “Of course, to upset Saudi Arabia could be a risky thing, but this is Russia’s strategy at the moment – flexible geometry of interests.”

    I just waiting to see how this “war” pans out. Seeing as the Saudis are going to cut prices by $8 a barrel, and increase production, I would say Russia lost before they started.

  2. Regardless what mafia land will do, they lose. It’s what you call a win-win situation for us and for them in reverse.

  3. Russia is betting that price crash will cause U.S. production to crash, helping restore its dominance. If that is really Moscow’s thought process, it is likely to be disappointed. Saudi Arabia already attempted a similar strategy to kill U.S. shale, flooding the market with crude in 2014 to create an enormous glut and drive down prices in an effort to reclaim market share. Needless to say , it didn’t work. It shows a complete misunderstanding of the U.S. bankruptcy laws .

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