Oil prices dip as Saudi-Russia dispute deepens, OPEC meeting delayed

Oil prices fell by 12% as markets reopened this week after Saudi Arabia and Russia made no progress towards ending their price war that has decimated the oil market, along with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Brent crude lost more than US$3 to trade at just over $30 a barrel, but held on to most of the gains made last week after US President Donald Trump suggested that the Saudi’s and Russians would agree to supply cuts to boost prices.

However, a key OPEC meeting scheduled for today has been postponed until Thursday after Riyadh and Moscow accused each other of sparking the price war to hurt the US oil sector. Last month, Saudi Arabia announced it would boost its production after Russia refused to make further cuts.

The postponement is a further blow to the oil industry, which has also had to contend with the largest ever demand drop in history due to the coronavirus outbreak. Prices had collapsed by up to 60% prior to Trump’s intervention last week.

Over the weekend, the US president hinted at imposing tariffs on Saudi and Russian oil supplies if the ‘free market’ didn’t resolve the price crash. “I would do tariffs, very substantial tariffs, because we’re independent and we want to have our own oil,” he said.

Meanwhile, non OPEC-members Norway and Alberta (Canada’s largest oil-producing province) said they would participate in the meeting on Thursday,