Ministers from both countries this week travelled in the same car, held press conferences together and publicised visits to oilfields in each other’s countries. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
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An oil alliance between Saudi Arabia and Russia was once deemed unthinkable.The two oil superpowers, which pump one in every five barrels of crude, demonstrated in Vienna this week that their joint management of the market would remain a fixture of the industry long after an extended deal to curb supplies expired in March 2018 .Comments from Khalid al Falih, the Saudi energy minister, and his Russian counterpart, Alexander Novak, at a meeting of Opec and other big producers, imply that what was once a short-term pact designed to tackle an oil crash is strengthening.Together the countries spearheaded the plan to keep supply cuts equal to roughly 2 per cent of global demand, split between 24 Opec and non-Opec countries, believing that doing so would shrink swollen oil inventories built up during the downturn.The original deal in November to cut supplies by Opec and big non-Opec producers – together responsible for more than half of world supplies – was supposed to be only a temporary fix to speed the market's recovery.The plan to squeeze the upstart industry in a market-share war failed, and Russia and Saudi Arabia are trying to adapt to its growth, he adds.This is to misread the intention, however, says another Gulf Opec delegate.
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