Russia is fighting on three fronts: Crimea, Syria and energy. Following the OPEC meeting in Algiers recently, the stance of non-OPEC member Russia has evolved enough for oil prices to reach USD 50 per barrel that is a new high since June 2016. This evolution has pleased Saudi Arabia that has to deal with limited budgetary issues, and US producers who found here some time off for a more optimistic outlook in 2017.
Enthusiasm remains cautious considering that the similar bullish move in June 2016 fell back to USD 40 per barrel in less than two months following a number of unrealized announcements. However the determining factor of the current trend is the rare – possibly momentary – understanding between Russian and Saudi interests, although they oppose each other in the Middle East where the worsening Syrian situation participates in the increasing prices.
The active presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the World Energy Congress in Istanbul (Turkey) and the signature of an intergovernmental agreement with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the Turkish Stream pipeline’s development simultaneously concretized the Russian-Turkish rapprochement – to the great displeasure of the United States and the possible major reason behind the vivid tension between Moscow and Washington – and Russia’s goal to assert itself as the equal of Saudi Arabia on energy issues.
Taking note of its rising influence, Turkey and other countries – especially Algeria – see Russia as a useful partner and an opportune counterweight to the Saudi-American strategic alliance.