Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh (L) and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak attend a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members. Photo: Amer Hilabi/AFP via Getty Images

OPEC is seeking to formalize its market management partnership with Russia and other producers, a proposal slated for discussion later this month in Vienna, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Plans to transform their existing, roughly 2-year-old oil supply management effort into something more durable signals how the U.S. production surge has upended oil markets and geopolitics.

  • Most recently, OPEC, Russia and allied producers agreed in December to jointly curb output by a combined 1.2 million barrels per day for the first 6 months of 2019.

The details: The WSJ, citing an unnamed OPEC official, reports that "under the current draft document, the alliance could last up to three years and wouldn’t be legally binding."

The intrigue: Proposals to turn the loose partnership often called OPEC+ into a more institutional arrangement have been a moving target for a while. In December, Russian energy chief Alexander Novak said it’s unlikely Russia and OPEC will create a formal, institutional structure.

The big picture: The U.S.' return to the ranks of global oil behemoths in recent years has prompted OPEC and Russia to cooperate in an effort to bolster prices.

  • As the WSJ notes, the Saudis in particular need prices above $80-per-barrel to balance their budget (right now Brent crude is trading around $62).
  • The U.S. is now the world's largest producer, with output closing in on 12 million barrels per day.

What's next: Per the WSJ, OPEC members and will meet with Russia and other non-OPEC producers to debate the idea in Vienna in 2 weeks, and hope to agree to a final deal in April.

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Jeff Sessions loses Alabama Senate primary runoff

Jeff Sessions. Photo: Michael DeMocker/Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for Senate to Tommy Tuberville in Alabama in Tuesday night’s primary runoff, AP reports.

Why it matters: Sessions had been the underdog in the race against former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who had the backing of President Trump. Tuberville will now face off against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November, who is considered to have one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in the country.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 13,273,537 — Total deaths: 577,006 — Total recoveries — 7,367,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,424,304 — Total deaths: 136,432 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Politics: Biden welcomes Trump wearing mask in public but warns "it’s not enough"
  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.

Bank CEOs brace for worsening economic scenario

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wells Fargo swung to its first loss since the financial crisis — while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported significantly lower profits from a year earlier — as the banks set aside billions of dollars more in the second quarter for loans that may go bad.

Why it matters: The cumulative $28 billion in loan loss provisions that banks have so far announced they’re reserving serves as a signal they’re preparing for a colossal wave of loan defaults as the economy slogs through a coronavirus-driven downturn.