Saudi Arabia is ‘flexible’ on Russian idea to extend oil cuts to end of 2018

Updated 06 October 2017
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Saudi Arabia is ‘flexible’ on Russian idea to extend oil cuts to end of 2018

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia made no firm pledge on Thursday to extend a deal between OPEC, Russia and other producers on cutting supplies but said it was “flexible” regarding Moscow’s suggestion to prolong the pact until the end of 2018.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih was speaking in a television interview a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the supply reduction deal that is due to expire in March could run to the end of next year.
“In the kingdom, we have to keep all options open, President Putin agreed with us on this and expressed his readiness to extend until the end of 2018 if this is agreed, and if this is the best option,” Al-Falih told Al Arabiya television.
He said he welcomed the “flexibility” shown by Russia on the issue and said the Saudi government aimed to “be flexible in leading the producing countries in and outside of OPEC to a consensus that takes the market to where we want it to be.”
Saudi Arabia and Russia helped secure a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 rival suppliers to cut output until the end of March 2018 in an effort to reduce a glut.
Oil rose above $56 a barrel on Thursday, supported by expectations of an extension to the supply cut pact. But prices are still half their mid-2014 levels.
Climbing US shale production has kept a lid on price gains, but Falih said inventories were still falling.
“Shale coming in and happening again in 2018 doesn’t bother me at all. The market can absorb it,” Al-Falih said, speaking alongside Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on a panel at an energy forum in Moscow.
“We have seen a steady reduction in inventories. We see as we enter the fourth quarter that supply is less than demand and inventories are declining around the world,” Al-Falih said.
Novak said he was satisfied with oil prices and Moscow would welcome other producers joining the deal to curb output.
Al-Falih said this week’s visit by King Salman to Russia, the first by a Saudi monarch, showed the high level of mutual trust between the world’s two biggest oil producers.
The two nations would continue working to stabilize the market, Salman told Putin. The king also said there were opportunities to expand economic cooperation with Russia.
Al-Falih echoed these comments, saying: “I see huge opportunities in front of our countries and for the business sector in both nations.”
A slew of investment agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are due to be signed during the king’s trip. Plans for a $1 billion joint fund to invest in energy projects are also expected to be finalized.
Al-Falih said MoUs would be signed with Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, alongside other deals for military industries and marine development.


Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

Updated 45 min 2 sec ago
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Crown prince: Saudi investment in India to reach $100bn

  • Mohammed bin Salman says value of investments to increase rapidly over next two years
  • Modi praised relations between the two countries after signing cooperation agreements

DUBAI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday he expects Saudi Arabia’s investments in India will be worth $100 billion in the next two years.

During a press conference with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the crown prince said the Kingdom had invested $10 billion in technology and small companies in India which had “achieved very remarkable returns.”

Speaking on the second day of hist India visit, and after the signing of five agreements with Modi, the crown prince also said that there were many opportunities for India in Saudi Arabia.

“We expect that the opportunity we are developing in India in many fields will exceed 100 billion dollars over the next two years,” Prince Mohammed said. “We want to work as two governments to ensure these investments and achieve beneficial returns for both countries. 

“We also hope that relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and India will contribute to providing more opportunities for Indian laborers and manpower to contribute to the future of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and building the Kingdom's Vision 2030.”

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The crown prince spoke of the depth and history of relations between the two countries, acknowledging the role Indian labor and businesses had played in the Kingdom’s development.

He also said the economic partnerships were grounded in the two nation’s similar challenges - “extremism, terrorism and the security of the Indian Ocean.”

He said Modi’s visit to the Kingdom in 2016 had achieved investments worth $44 billion in refining and petrochemicals.

The two countries planned to expand India’s oil storage capacity to make India an “important regional center in distributing oil and its products.”

"As a neighbor who guarantees suppying us with energy needs, the Kingdom is considered India's most important partner," Modi said. "We have enhanced our relations through establishing a strategic partnership."

The crown prince and Modi earlier oversaw the signing of agreements in the fields of investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting.

It was also announced that the Kingdom would join the International Solar Alliance, a group of countries focussed on improving solar technology.

Prince Mohammed then met a number of CEOs from India's leading businesses.

The crown prince arrived in India after a two-day trip to Pakistan as part of a tour of Asia.

Earlier he attended a ceremonial welcome in New Delhi after landing in the country on Tuesday evening.