Russia, European Union and the slippery oil market

Dr. Sudhir Saxena

Vladimir Putin

As the winter is approaching, the wind chill is increasing in the European countries. The prolongation of the Russia-Ukraine war has shattered many speculations and has given rise to new fears. Russia has its own problems and there are also lines of worry on Vladimir Putin’s forehead. The green signal to the atomic train and the threat is a sign of their desperation, but the seven-month war is unlikely to end and nothing is happening for the European countries, including the European Union, to heave a sigh of relief. Their dependence on Russia for energy is an issue that has left them perplexed.

The outcome of the meeting of OPEC+ (Opec+ is a group of 23 oil-exporting countries which meets regularly to decide how much crude oil to sell on the world market) and other countries in Vienna on 5 October has heightened the concerns of the European Union. EU was making plans to corner Russia on the basis of OPEC, whereas now it has to rethink its strategy. At the Vienna meeting, the oil producing nations decided to cut oil production and supply. In the meeting led by Saudi Arabia, it was decided to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels per day. This quantity is equivalent to two percent of the global supply. This will be the biggest reduction in oil production since 2020 following the Kovid epidemic. This decision has confirmed that Russia and Saudi Arabia are following a common strategy of mutual cooperation to control the oil market and prices. Saudi Arabia has dismissed all criticism by saying that Western countries often suffer from “money glut” in commentary.

It is natural for the United States to be disappointed with the Vienna meeting. About two months ago, US President Joe Biden went on a visit to Saudi Arabia with the aim of increasing Saudi Arabia’s production of oil. The decision of the meeting led by Saudi Arabia clearly shows that it is not concerned about American requests and interests. On the contrary, the Vienna-meeting confirmed that Riyadh and Moscow have come closer. The statements of US officials testify to America’s desperation. The bottom line of all developments is that the Kremlin, with Saudi cooperation in the politics of oil, has defeated the White House. European countries realize that if oil prices remain high in the market, then Russian oil prices will not be able to be tied at a low level and Russia will gain as oil prices will rise due to the OPEC decision to reduce oil production. To curb Russian oil, the EU, G7 and some other countries have decided to hold regular meetings, but it is difficult to say how far their talks will go. According to sources, European Union leaders have assured Greece, Malta and Cyprus that their commercial interests will be protected. These nations are at the some of the worst affected by the oil crisis.

It can be said that the slippery path of oil-politics is sure to leave a negative impact on the European nations. America’s problem is that it doesn’t have many trump cards. The round of watching the oil and oil edge is still on. It will be interesting to see what the US and the European Union expect from India and China – the two big buyers of Russian oil.

Dr. Sudhir Saxena is a prolific writer and Editor-In-Chief of “दुनिया इन दिनों” (Dunia in Dino) published from New Delhi and Bhopal. He has worked in senior positions in various media houses, namely, Aaj, Jagran, Maya, India News, Samachar Bharti, Web Duniya, Voice of America, Raj News and Mahakaushal. He has a vast number of published titles to his credit.

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