Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to cooperate to stabilize the oil price. But the world's two biggest oil producers didn't agree on a production stop to counter a global supply glut - the real reason oil is so cheap.
Energy ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia said Monday that their countries had agreed to "act together" to lift the price of oil out of its two-year slump, though they provided few details as to how they planned to achieve that goal.
The ministers announced their countries would set up a joint task force to review the state of the oil market and recommend policy measures aimed at stabilizing it.
Their announcement came after a meeting at the G20 summit in China.
Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak, hailed the cooperation as marking a "new era" in relations between Moscow and Riyadh. Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world's largest and second-largest producers of oil, respectively.
Russian President reportedly met with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 to discuss how to best address a global supply glut that has hammered oil prices for the last two years.
Both countries' energy ministers are set to meet later this month at a meeting of the International Energy Forum in Algeria, and again at a meeting of the oil cartel OPEC in November, where they said they would further discuss their cooperation.
But without agreeing to curb output, it's unclear how either country hopes to affect the price of oil around the world. There has been tension in the oil markets ever since sanctions against Iran were lifted, thereby allowing the Islamic Republic to ramp up oil production to pre-sanctions levels.
cjc/uhe (AFP, Reuters)