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.


Saudi Cabinet welcomes Ethiopian, Eritrean peace agreement

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 9 min 35 sec ago
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Saudi Cabinet welcomes Ethiopian, Eritrean peace agreement

  • The king briefed the Cabinet on the results of his meetings with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to sign the Jeddah Peace Agreement
  • The king wished the two countries further security, prosperity and stability

JEDDAH: King Salman chaired the Cabinet’s session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday.

The king briefed the Cabinet on the results of his meetings with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to sign the Jeddah Peace Agreement.

King Salman expressed his congratulations to the two countries and said that he hoped the signing of the agreement would be a strong basis for closer cooperation and friendship, achieving security and stability, and would positively affect the security and stability of the region.

The king also congratulated Djibouti and Eritrea on their historic meeting in Jeddah — which came in response to his invitation — wishing the two countries further security, prosperity and stability.

The Cabinet praised the efforts of the two countries’ leaders to restore relations between them to establish a new stage that would witness a great development in relations and further cooperation.

The Cabinet congratulated the king and crown prince on the success of these efforts, which resulted in the signing of the Jeddah Peace Agreement and also the historic meeting between Djibouti and Eritrea after ten years of severed relations. 

The Cabinet praised the resolutions of the 150th ordinary session of the Arab League’s Council at the level of foreign ministers held in Cairo, and the statement issued by the Arab Quartet Ministerial Committee held on the sidelines of the 150th session of the Arab League’s Council, on the follow-up of the crisis with Iran and ways to address its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries.

The Cabinet highlighted the terrorism practiced by Iran through its interference in Arab affairs, which needs cooperation to confront and deter, reiterating that the Kingdom has made efforts to combat terrorism and has not hesitated to provide support with the cooperation of the international community to address this.

The Cabinet expressed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation of the suicide bombings north of Tikrit in Iraq, the Somali capital of Mogadishu and Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, expressing condolences to the families of the victims, the governments and peoples of Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan.