Saudi crown prince India visit ‘historic event,’ says ambassador

The first state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India later this month will be a historic event, India’s ambassador to the Kingdom said Thursday. (Photo: Supplied)
Updated 14 February 2019

Saudi crown prince India visit ‘historic event,’ says ambassador

RIYADH: The first state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India later this month will be a historic event, India’s ambassador to the Kingdom said Thursday.
Ahmed Javed told media the two countries would sign agreements across different sectors including energy, infrastructure, housing, tourism and information technology.
The deals would attract potential infrastructure investment and boost development in India, he said.
India and Saudi Arabia enjoyed cordial and friendly ties that were deeply rooted in a shared history and nurtured by vibrant personal exchanges, he said. These links had been strengthened over the years through trade and commercial ties, the ambassador added.
Last month Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah teamed up with Indian hotelier Oyo to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and improve hospitality in Makkah and Madinah.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih has visited India three times, meeting Indian authorities to discuss energy sector investment, while Saudi Aramco has signed an agreement with an Indian consortium to jointly develop a $44 billion refinery in the western port town of Ratnagiri.
Accompanying the crown prince will be a high-level delegation, including ministers and leading Saudi businessmen, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Bilateral trade was $27.48 billion during the last financial year, making Saudi Arabia India’s fourth-largest largest trading partner, the MEA said in a statement issued earlier this week. It added that the Kingdom also supplies around 20 percent of India’s crude requirements.
Nearly 3 million Indians live in Saudi Arabia, making them the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia, it said. “Their positive and highly appreciated contribution to the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 175,000 Indians every year.”
The crown prince arrives in Pakistan on Feb. 16 and will stay there for two days. He will be in India from Feb. 19 to 20.

It was Russia, not Saudi Arabia, that pulled out of OPEC+ deal: Saudi ministers

Updated 04 April 2020

It was Russia, not Saudi Arabia, that pulled out of OPEC+ deal: Saudi ministers

  • Saudi foreign and energy ministers say Moscow's claim that Kingdom withdrew from the OPEC+ deal was unfounded
  • They said it was Russia that abandoned the agreement, leading to a collapse in world oil prices

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's foreign and energy ministers on Saturday denied Russia's claim that the Kingdom abandoned the OPEC+ deal, leading to a collapse in world oil prices.

In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said "a statement attributed to one of the media of President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation claimed that one of the reasons for the decline in oil prices was the Kingdom's withdrawal from the deal of OPEC + and that the Kingdom was planning to get rid of shale oil producers."

"The minister affirmed that what was mentioned is fully devoid of truth and that the withdrawal of the Kingdom from the agreement is not correct," the statement said.

In fact Saudi Arabia and 22 other countries tried to persuade Russia to make further cuts and extend the deal, but Russia did not agree, it said.

Prince Farhan expressed surprise that Russia had to resort to "falsifying facts" when Saudi Arabia's stance on shale oil production is known, the statement said.

He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is one of the main investors in the energy sector in United States, implying that there is no reason for the Kingdom "to get rid of shale oil producers" as Russia has claimed.

He further said the Kingdom "is also seeking to reach more cuts and achieve oil market equilibrium for the interest of shale oil producers."

OPEC+ refers to the cooperation between members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC oil producers. The cooperation deal which called for cuts in production by the producers was meant to stabilize oil prices. 

In a separate statement, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman rejected Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak’s similar claim that the Kingdom refused to extend the OPEC+ deal and withdrew from it.

Novak "was the first to declare to the media that all the participating countries are absolved of their commitments starting from the first of April," Prince Abdulaziz said in a statement.

He said Novak's statement led other countries to decide "to raise their production to offset the lower prices and compensate for their loss of returns." 

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of oil exporters after US President Donald Trump said he expected the Kingdom and Russia to cut production by 10-15 million barrels per day.

Prince Farhan said he was "hoping that Russia would take the right decisions in the urgent meeting" so that a "fair agreement that restores the desired balance of oil markets" could be achieved.

The global oil market has crashed, with prices falling to $34 a barrel from $65 at the beginning of the year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Fuel demand has dropped by roughly a third, or 30 million barrels per day, as billions of people worldwide restrict their movements.

A global deal to reduce production by as much as 10 million to 15 million barrels per day would require participation from nations that do not exert state control over output, including the United States, now the world’s largest producer of crude.

A meeting of OPEC and allies such as Russia has been scheduled for April 6, but details were thin on the exact distribution of production cuts. No time has yet been set for the meeting, OPEC sources said.