Inside Story

Russia and Saudis ready to ‘cooperate’ on oil?

As oil prices plunge to their lowest levels in a decade, the two major producers could reach a deal.

With oil prices plunging to their lowest levels in a decade, a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia could take two million barrels a day off the market.

Less than two years ago, a barrel of oil cost more than $100. Since then, it has fallen to around $30.

That is the business story. But it is also a political story.

The last time oil prices dropped so low and stayed there was during the 1980s, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

Some Russians see history repeating itself. There is talk in the Kremlin of a US-led conspiracy and economic warfare by NATO.

Fifty percent of Russia’s government revenue comes from oil and gas. For every dollar fall in the oil price, Russia loses around $2bn in revenue.

It is not just Russia that is feeling the pinch.

Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries have seen their revenues slashed, but with lower production costs have more margin for manoeuvre.

A cut in production would drive up prices, but can Russia and Opec overcome their mutual suspicion and do a deal?

Presenter – Peter Dobbie


Anastasia Nesvetailova – political economist, City University, London

Sean Evers – Gulf Intelligence Oil, Dubai

Mikhail Krutihin – RusEnergy Consulting, Moscow