Saudi, Russia Energy Ministers to Meet in Doha as Output Cut Deadline Looms

Saudi Arabia and Russia energy ministers will meet in Doha, Qatar this week on the sidelines of Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), industry sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal said. The meeting comes as OPEC and non-OPEC members try to solidify an oil output limiting deal agreed to in September.

OPEC is hoping to complete a deal to reduce production by up to 700,000 barrels a day. That requires oil producers outside of OPEC, like Russia, to cooperate in the plan in order for it to succeed. 

The plan was formulated in September in Algeria. It is the first such OPEC to be considered since 2008, with special conditions given to Libya, Nigeria and Iran, whose output has been hit by wars and sanctions. However, disagreements persist among OPEC members and non-OPEC members like Russia on the exact details of the deal, Reuters reports. 

Khalid Al-Falih.

Khalid Al-Falih.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih is due to travel to Doha this week for meetings with peers on the sidelines of the GECF, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, though Saudi Arabia is not a member of the GECF. 

“If a formal deal can be struck, it would have far-reaching consequences on international politics and the global economy,” writes  in Canada-based McGill University’s journal, The McGill International Review. “Many market analysts have expressed doubts that a deal between the two countries will ever come to fruition or, if it did, whether it would change much.”

The recent surprise result in the U.S. Presidential election adds further uncertainty into OPEC’s plans. President-elect Donald J. Trump has repeatedly pledged to create “complete American energy independence” from “our foes and the oil cartels.” Like many of his campaign promises that he has walked-back since his win on November 9th, it is uncertain as to whether he will follow through.

The Financial Times reports that Saudi Arabia’s Al-Falih “pointedly reminded” Trump that the U.S. “benefits more than anybody else from global free trade,” adding, “energy is the lifeblood of the global economy.”