Russia and Saudi Arabia Hold 'Catholic Marriage' with Poem and Badges, Form Enormous Oil Cartel

The influential OPEC oil cartel became even more powerful this week, formalizing its expansion to include Russia, Mexico and Kazakhstan as the organization seeks to increase its control over the price of oil worldwide.

With a new charter, celebratory badges and even a poem, Russian and Saudi officials joined those from 22 other nations to formalize OPEC+, which has been working to buoy falling oil prices.

According to Bloomberg, the nations have been coordinating for more than two years, battling the falling price of oil and grappling with the U.S.' recent ascension of the top of the oil-producing charts. OPEC+ nations will now account for almost half of all oil production globally.

Though initially considered a temporary alliance, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo declared Tuesday that the pact was now like a "Catholic marriage" and would last for "eternity."

The new family even decided to publish a poem marking the occasion. "Uncertainties remain, the challenge gets harder, but the future's bright, now we've a charter," the verse read.

The OPEC+ nations agreed that they would continue oil production cuts to March 2020, marking four years of efforts to prop up the price of oil. The project began in late 2016, when Saudi and Russian officials announced they would embark on six months of cuts despite testy relations between Moscow and Riyadh.

The extension of the "marriage" between Russia and Saudi Arabia was first announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, on Saturday, following his meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bloomberg reported that when Putin visits Riyadh later this year, other OPEC+ heads of state will join him to sign the group's new charter.

Other oil producers have been unsettled by the meteoric rise of U.S. oil production, driven by technological innovation unlocking huge deposits of crude, NPR explained. Its hold weakened, the Saudi-led OPEC needed a way to increase its clout in the global market.

Securing the support of Russia's mineral-dependent economy is a huge boon for the group, while Putin's central role in the new alliance will boost his global influence.

In February, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was "very confident" that Putin would not be able to use oil diplomacy to undermine U.S. influence in the Middle East, but the formalization of OPEC+ indicates that the Kremlin is making regional headway.

Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih, said the "historic" development "has created one of history's strongest producer partnerships, spanning the entire world from east to west."

Russia, Saudi Arabia, oil, OPEC, marriage
This photo shows the opening speech of the 176th meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries conference and the sixth meeting of the OPEC and non-OPEC countries on July 1, 2019 in Vienna, Austria. JOE KLAMAR/AFP/Getty
Russia and Saudi Arabia Hold 'Catholic Marriage' with Poem and Badges, Form Enormous Oil Cartel | News