Putin, Trump agree global oil prices 'not in interests' of Russia, US
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 31 March 2020 5:57 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, have agreed that current global oil prices are "not in the interests" of their countries, the Kremlin says, as the coronavirus pandemic sends oil prices plunging to historic lows.
Trump called Putin and the pair had a lengthy and "constructive" conversation on the phone on Monday, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, adding that both leaders also agreed that their energy ministers had to begin consultations on the oil market.
Peskov, however, did not give details on what the two countries would do to change the situation and when contacts between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette might begin.
Separately and in a readout of the call, the Kremlin said that, "Opinions on the current state of global oil markets were exchanged. An arrangement was made on Russian-US consultations in this regard through energy department heads."
The Monday agreement marked a fresh twist in global oil diplomacy, days after a failed deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to reduce production launched a price war between Russia and OPEC's de facto leader, Saudi Arabia.
Before the Monday call, Trump had said that he did not want to see the US energy sector "wiped out" as Moscow and Riyadh "both went crazy" and started a conflict that he said pushed down oil prices.
"The price is so low now they're fighting like crazy over, over distribution and over how many barrels to let go," Trump said in an interview on Fox News.
The current low oil prices are threatening higher-cost drillers in the US – particularly the highly leveraged American shale industry – and across the world with bankruptcy. Washington is now seeking to convince Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, to reduce its crude output.
On Monday, oil prices further dropped, with US crude future CLc1 going below 20 dollars a barrel and international benchmark Brent LCOc1 falling to 18-year lows.
Moscow has described the situation as "very unpleasant" but not catastrophic, and it has so far been reluctant to repair relations with Riyadh following the breakdown of its production deal with Saudi-led OPEC.
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