Saudi Arabia on Saturday strongly condemned comments made Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he blamed the kingdom for the collapse in global energy prices.
The fresh rift between the two countries is likely to slow down the process of ending the oil price war, which emerges ahead of an OPEC+ emergency meeting, due on Monday (April 6).
In a statement on Saturday morning, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said that Putin laying blame on Riyad for the end of the pact between the two nations were ‘fully devoid of truth’.
“Russia was the one that refused the agreement, while the kingdom and 22 other countries were trying to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the agreement,” the prince said.
He also said an alleged Russian contention that “the kingdom was planning to get rid of shale oil producers” was false as well US shale producers have made America one of the world’s top producers, but they’ve been hurt badly by the price collapse. Trump has met with concerned producers about that.
Prince Faisal did not identify the story, nor the outlet he was critiquing.
Putin on Friday had said that “Saudi Arabia didn’t agree to extend the deal on current conditions, effectively withdrew from the deal and announced significant additional discounts for their oil.”
Oil prices sharply fell after the so-called OPEC+ group of countries including Russia failed to agree to production cuts in early March.
A price war began soon after, with Saudi Arabia threatening to pump at a record-breaking pace to seize back market share even as the coronavirus pandemic saw demand sharply drop as airlines worldwide halted flights.
International benchmark Brent crude fell to around USD 24 a barrel, compared to prices of over USD 70 a year ago. Prices slightly have rebounded with President Donald Trump tweeting and talking about the need for a production cut, but rancour between Saudi Arabia and Russia could imperil a deal emerging from a planned teleconference Monday.