It’s over. The three-year marriage of convenience between Saudi Arabia and Russia is done.
The Saudi’s argued that Russia and OPEC producers must cut production further in response to falling demand for oil in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. Russia refused to support deeper cuts to production in order to stabilize prices. OPEC responded to the Russian stance by ending all curbs on production. Immediately.
“From April 1 neither OPEC nor non-OPEC have restrictions,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told reporters today, Friday, March 6.
U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell 9.48% today to $41.55 a barrel. International benchmark Brent crude tumbled 9.00% to $45.49 a barrel.
Oil stocks took it in the neck.
Big integrated multinationals, which have downstream sales to buffer the full in the price of crude, were down heavily. ExxonMobil (XOM) was down 4.83% and Chevron (CVX) was off 1.92%.
But smaller producers with heavy exposure to U.S. oil shale production and no downstream refining or retail operations took an even heavier hit. Shares of Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) were down 11.37% and Concho Resources (CXO) was down 10.74%.
For those of you who like to follow geopolitics at home, the break between Russia and Saudi Arabia has negative implications for the two countries relations in Syria where they support opposite sides in the war.
Do remember that lower oil prices aren’t a completely bad thing for consumers (lower costs at the pump) and for heavy oil consuming sectors such as airlines.