Leading world crude exporter Saudi Arabia on Thursday made a surprise call for a meeting of the OPEC+ oil producers to “stabilise the oil market” amid a price war.
“The kingdom calls for an urgent meeting of OPEC+ and a group of other countries with the aim to try and reach a fair deal to restore balance to the oil market,” said a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
The move followed a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“This call comes in the framework of the kingdom’s continued support for the global economy under these exceptional circumstances and in estimation of a call by US President Donald Trump and US friends,” the statement said.
Riyadh reiterated that it had tried to reach an agreement among OPEC+ members to cut production and “secured the support of 22 countries… but failed to secure consensus”.
Saudi Arabia had blamed Russia for refusing to agree to an additional output cut of 1.5 million barrels per day on top of reduction already in place of 1.7 million bpd.
As a result, the kingdom opened its crude oil taps, deciding to raise its production to a record 12.3 percent from April 1.
It later said it will export at least 10 million bpd in April, which will be raised to a record high 10.6 million bpd to flood the global markets.
The price war sent prices crashing to 18-year lows, putting a tremendous pressure on US shale oil, which is expensive to produce.