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Russia blames Gulf nations for oil price crash

Russia blames Gulf nations for oil price crashRussia never sought a sharp oil price fall or an end to cooperation with Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the Gulf nations are to blame for the crisis on the global oil markets, a senior Russian official has said.

OPEC and its allies, led by Russia, this month failed to agree how their deal to cut oil output should work. With global oil demand slumping because of the coronavirus, OPEC wanted to deepen supply cuts but Russia said it would agree only to an extension to the existing pact.

The international benchmark, Brent crude, fell from nearly $50 per barrel on March 6, when the deal collapsed, to around $26.98 per barrel on Friday after Russia and Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, said the world’s two biggest oil exporters would open the taps from April 1.

“(The) Russian position was never about triggering an oil prices fall. This is purely our Arab partners’ initiative,” Russian First Deputy Prime Minister, Andrei Belousov, was quoted as saying by TASS late on Saturday, according to Reuters.

“Even oil companies who are obviously interested to maintain their markets did not have a stance that the (OPEC+) deal should be dissolved.”

Belousov reiterated that Russia was proposing to extend the existing curbs by at least one more quarter and potentially until the end of 2020. “But (our) Arab partners took a different stance,” TASS quoted him as saying.

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