A virtual meeting with the OPEC+ group of countries including Russia set to take place on Monday has been delayed to at least Tuesday or Wednesday as Russia and Saudi Arabia continue to rebuke one another over the collapse in global energy prices.
Leading world crude exporter Saudi Arabia on Thursday made a surprise call for a meeting of the OPEC+ oil producers to "stabilize the oil market" amid an ongoing price war that has exacerbated already obliterated prices amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and falloff in energy demand.
An emergency meeting was scheduled to take place on Monday. However, flare-ups between Riyadh and Moscow on Saturday appeared to push that meeting back to at least this week to allow more time for negotiations among oil price producers on crude supply cutes, two OPEC sources told Reuters on Saturday.
Oil prices plunged in March after the so-called OPEC+ group of countries failed to agree to production cuts. A price war began soon after, with Saudi Arabia threatening to pump at a record-breaking pace to seize back market share, even as the coronavirus pandemic saw global demand drop precipitously.
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% from April 1, according to reports.
International benchmark Brent crude currently trades around $24 a barrel vs. over $70 a year ago. Prices did recover somewhat last week after President Donald Trump articulated the need for a production cut, but the ongoing war of words between Saudi Arabia and Russia could imperil a deal.