CNN's October 7, 2022 Why Saudi Arabia defied the US over OPEC oil supply cut includes the following quotes:
“What Saudi Arabia did to help Putin continue to wage his despicable, vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans,” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, on Friday.
The Biden administration was swift in its reaction. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre put out a statement on Wednesday saying that it “is clear OPEC+ is aligning with Russia.” On Thursday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is “reviewing a number of responses” to Saudi Arabia’s move, adding that the White House is “consulting closely with Congress.” Some Saudis are describing the reaction as “hysterical.”
On the other side of the argument, the article includes:
For its budget to break even, global oil prices must be at around $79 a barrel, according to the International Monetary Fund. Last month, prices dropped to $85 per barrel from a high of $139 just seven months ago. That was a warning sign for Saudi Arabia and other oil exporters, who depend on oil for a majority of their revenue.
“But the Saudis do not want to just balance the books, they want to ensure a steady stream of surpluses,” said Robert Mogielnicki, a senior scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, adding that the kingdom “would like to see prices moving closer to the high $90s.”
Saudi Arabia has the lowest oil extraction cost in the world, at around $3 per barrel. That means the vast majority of the revenue earned from each barrel goes into its coffers. And those funds are needed to finance everything from futuristic trillion-dollar cities in the desert to a sizeable government wage bill, despite the introduction of new taxes in recent years and attempts to diversify the economy.
“The high price [needed to balance the budget] is because of the large spending on government services, infrastructure investment, public sector, etc,” said Omar Al-Ubaydli, director of research at the Bahrain-based Derasat think tank, adding that “conventional tax instruments are largely absent, especially personal income tax.”
“It is trying to have a diverse and stable revenue source for the government because unstable government finances are highly disruptive to the economy,” added Al-Ubaydli.
“The response coming from policy circles in Washington is exaggerated,” said Mohammed Alyahya, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC. “Saudi Arabia’s is primarily interested in ensuring that OPEC+ remains apolitical and focused on technical matters."
All of that at least feels convincing to me that Saudi Arabia is indeed likely to be simply exercising sound fiscal policy and not "siding with Russia".
Yet Schumer and the White House are "slamming" it and preparing to take actions to punish it. So I'd like to ask:
Question: Are there any objective arguments to support assertions that Saudi Arabia is "siding with Russia" and not simply just exercising sound fiscal policy?