MOSCOW, December 18 - Russian President Vladimir Putin does not rule out the possibility of a price conspiracy between Saudi Arabia and the US on the market of energy resources but says it is not possible to confirm the data.
“There’s a lot of talk around” in what concerns the causes for the slide of oil prices, he said at a major annual news conference. “Some people say there is conspiracy between Saudi Arabia and the US in order to punish Iran or to depress the Russian economy or to exert impact on Venezuela.”
“It might be really so or might be different, or there might be the struggle of traditional producers of crude oil and shale oil,” Putin said. “ Given the current situation on the market the production of shale oil and gas has practically reached the level of zero operating costs.”
“If this rate is kept up, everything will fall apart (in the production of shale oil) and the prices will start climbing,” he said. “But we can’t tell this with a hundred percent assuredness.”
He believes the interests of the US Administration and main producers of oil may coincide at the moment because Washington treats investment in the production of shale oil by private companies very quietly.
“The main thing for us is the overall level of prices but the low price is kept for too long, the companies will stop investing in new deposits,” Putin said.