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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.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.