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Saudi and Russia Unite to Tackle OPEC’s Pinocchio Problem

  • OPEC+ leaders are aligned again after brief oil price war
  • They gambled that smaller players wouldn’t call their bluff
Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman

Photographer: Karim Sahib/AFP via Getty Images

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A deal to extend record OPEC+ output cuts was going smoothly -- until Saudi Arabia and Russia discovered just how much some of their allies had been cheating.

In private conversations, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak had agreed with little fanfare on May 28 to extend oil production cuts by one more month. Their bosses had spoken the day before. With the two power players aligned, Prince Abdulaziz suggested bringing the meeting with other OPEC ministers forward, and Novak had no objection.