US urges Saudi Arabia to ‘rise to the occasion’ and end its oil price war with Russia

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C-L) meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C-R) at Irqah Palace in the capital Riyadh on February 20, 2020.


The U.S. has called on OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia to put a stop to its ongoing oil price war with non-OPEC leader Russia.

In a statement released by the U.S. State Department Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed that Secretary Mike Pompeo had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.

“Secretary Pompeo and the Crown Prince focused on the need to maintain stability in global energy markets amid the worldwide response,” the statement said.

“The Secretary stressed that as a leader of the G-20 and an important energy leader, Saudi Arabia has a real opportunity to rise to the occasion and reassure global energy and financial markets when the world faces serious economic uncertainty,” it added.

Pompeo and bin Salman expressed their “deep concern” over the coronavirus pandemic and underlined the need for all countries to work together to contain the outbreak, according to the statement.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $26.46 a barrel Wednesday afternoon, down 2.5%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $23.47, more than 2.2% lower.

Oil prices have more than halved since climbing to a peak in January, with analysts warning crude futures could soon plunge into the teens over the coming weeks.

It comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to crush oil demand worldwide and with no end in sight to the ongoing price war between Riyadh and Moscow.

Earlier this month, the OPEC group of oil producers and its non-OPEC allies — sometimes referred to as OPEC+ — failed to agree on extending oil supply cuts beyond March 31.

This has led to heightened concerns of a supply surge from April 1, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both pledging to ramp up production.

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