Moscow, Riyadh eye long-term oil policy coordination

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman (5th L) during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 31 May 2017
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Moscow, Riyadh eye long-term oil policy coordination

MOSCOW: Russia and Saudi Arabia hailed their growing partnership in oil markets and dialogue on Syria on Tuesday, in a departure from past hostilities between the top global producers and major players in the Middle East.
Russian President Vladimir Putin heaped praise on Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who looks after the Kingdom’s defense and energy, as he welcomed the prince to the Kremlin.
It was the second meeting between the two men over the past year following a breakthrough meeting in China, where Putin and Prince Mohammed showed the first signs the world’s two biggest oil exporters could clinch a deal to prop up oil prices.
Non-OPEC Russia had long opposed any cooperation in reducing oil output in tandem with OPEC.
Russia’s military campaign in Syria to support President Bashar Assad in the past two years has effectively pitted the Kremlin in a direct military confrontation with Saudi Arabia as Riyadh has long fought for Assad’s removal.
But the oil price plunge in the last two years has overstretched the budgets of both producers, making joint cuts more likely, especially with Russia facing a presidential election next year and Saudi Arabia requiring higher prices for economic reforms and the listing of its energy giant Aramco.
“The relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia are going through one of their best moments ever,” Prince Mohammed told Putin.
“We have a lot of common ground. As far as our disagreements are concerned, we have a clear mechanism of how to overcome them. We are moving forward quickly and in a positive way,” he added.
“The most important thing is that we are succeeding in building a solid foundation to stabilize oil markets and energy prices,” Prince Mohammed said.
Last December, Russia and 10 other non-OPEC nations agreed to join OPEC’s output cuts for the first time in 15 years. Last week Moscow agreed to extend its cooperation by another nine months until March 2018.
Both Moscow and Riyadh said that cooperation would last beyond the current agreement as both countries are still trying to find ways to co-exist with US shale oil producers, who are not part of the global output reduction deals.
As a part of Tuesday’s talks, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding with the Russian Direct Investment Fund to explore an opportunity to join a consortium of investors in a Moscow real estate project.
The Russian fund also said in a statement both parties are evaluating more projects, including in retail, real estate, alternative energy projects, transportation and logistics infrastructure.
“We are grateful to you for your ideas and the joint work between OPEC and the countries which are not part of the group,” Putin told Prince Mohammed.
“We support political contacts, contacts between Defense Ministries. We work together on sorting out difficult situations, including in Syria,” Putin said.


Saudi citizen rewarded after new car turned out to be used

Updated 55 min 53 sec ago
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Saudi citizen rewarded after new car turned out to be used

RIYADH: A citizen from Buraidah has been rewarded by the Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) for complaining about a commercial fraud. He exposed an auto agency who sold him a “new car” which turned out to be second-hand with a chequered history.
The MCI granted a reward of SR25,000 to Hamad Faleh Al-Qahtani, who reported the fraud.
He bought a new car from the auto agency and made the full payment, but soon realized he had been given a second-hand car.
Not only was it used but it had also been in a crash and been repaired and repainted, which was contrary to what had been agreed upon and in violation of the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law. The ministry followed up the matter with investigations to find the truth and take legal action.
The matter was referred to the public prosecution and then to the Administrative Court in Buraidah, which issued the final verdict that the agency was guilty of violating the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law.
The agency was fined SR100,000 ($26,687). Article 11 of the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law states that anyone reporting a case of commercial fraud which is found to be true upon investigation shall be granted 25 percent of the value of the fine.
The MCI honors 100 informers by granting them financial rewards and gifts on World Consumer Rights Day, which is observed on March 15 every year to foster global awareness about consumer rights and needs. The day was inspired by US president John F. Kennedy, the first world leader to formally address the issue of consumer rights.
The consumer movement first marked that date in 1983 and uses it every year to mobilize action on important issues.
The MCI has urged consumers to report commercial frauds through the Consumer Call Center (1900), through the application of a commercial violation report and through the ministry’s website.