Oil is sliding after the 'world's scariest man' said no to freezing production

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

The price of oil is sliding on Tuesday, after comments from Igor Sechin, the president and chairman of Russia’s state oil company said that he sees no reason for a freeze or cut in oil production right now.

Crude oil prices rose to their best levels of the year on Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped OPEC reaches an agreement, while speaking at an energy congress in Istanbul.

“Russia is ready to join the joint measures to cap production and is calling for other oil exporters to join,” Putin said, according to Reuters.

However, speaking to Reuters at the same conference, Rosneft’s Sechin — often referred to as “Russia’s Darth Vader,” and once dubbed the “world’s scariest man” — questioned why he would take part in a cut, and said that Rosneft will not cut or freeze oil production as part of any possible agreement with OPEC.

When asked about the potential for a freeze or cut on the sidelines of the conference in Turkey, Sechin said: “Why should we do it?”

Sechin also cast doubt on whether certain countries in OPEC would actually be willing to join in with a cut: “Try to answer this question yourself: would Iran, Saudi Arabia or Venezuela cut their production?”

Sechin is one of Putin’s closest allies, but his comments are almost exactly the opposite of what Russia’s President said on Monday, suggesting potential conflicts in Russia’s official stance on oil.

His words have caused oil to slip a little off its best levels from Monday, with both major benchmarks lower by around 1% so far on the day. The slide was made even worse after new data from the IEA showed that production reached its highest level, clearly showing the scale of the challenge facing OPEC as it tries to boost prices.

At 10:00 a.m. BST (5:00 a.m. ET) Brent crude, the international benchmark, is at $52.55 per barrel, 1.11% lower, while US WTI crude has lost 0.99% to trade at $50.84

Here is how Brent looks:

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