Saudi Arabia calls for swift response to energy supply threats

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A video released by the US Central Command (USCENTCOM) on June 13, 2019, reportedly shows an Iranian navy patrol boat in the Gulf of Oman approaching the Japanese operated methanol tanker Kokuka Courageous and removing an unexploded mine. (AFP)
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Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan. (Al-Ekhbariya)
Updated 16 June 2019

Saudi Arabia calls for swift response to energy supply threats

  • Energy minister Khalid Al-Falih's comments come as Kokuka Courageous and Front Altair heading to ports in the UAE
  • GCC adds to international condemnation of attacks on two oil tankers in Gulf of Oman

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia called for a swift response to the threat to energy supplies, two days after attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

"There must be a rapid and decisive response to the threat of energy supply, market stability and consumer confidence, which are posed by recent terrorist acts in both the Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf, against the major global energy supply chains," Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said at a G20 meeting in Japan.

His comments came as the UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said the Gulf of Oman attacks and an attack last month on four tankers off the Emirates' coast  were carried out by a state-actor using sophisticated technology.

GCC Secretary-General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani added to the chorus of international condemnation on Saturday, describing the attacks as a dangerous escalation and violation of international laws.

He also said that it was a direct threat to maritime safety and the world’s energy supply. He said that “this attack is a terrorist act that calls for the international community to respond quickly and decisively to protect international shipping lines in this vital region of the world.” 

 

US President Donald Trump said the attack had Iran "written all over it" and Saudi Arabia said it agreed with Washington's initial assessment that Tehran was responsible. 

On Friday, the US military released video footage it said suggested that Iran wanted to hide evidence that it was behind the attacks.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to disrupt the Strait of Hormuz - the narrow shipping lane into the Arabian Gulf through which one fifth of the world's oil is transported.

Iran on Saturday summoned the British ambassador to Tehran after London also blamed it for the attacks, the Students News Agency ISNA reported.
"During the meeting with Iran's foreign ministry official, Iran strongly condemned the unfounded allegations and criticised Britain's unacceptable stance regarding the attacks in the Gulf of Oman," it said.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt issued a statement Friday blaming Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for the attacks, saying no other state or non-state actor could have been responsible.

Meanwhile, crew members of the Norwegian-owned oil tanker that was attacked landed Saturday in Dubai after two days in Iran.
Associated Press journalists saw the crew of the Front Altair after their Iran Air flight from Bandar Abbas, Iran, landed in the UAE.

Earlier, the oil tanker left Iran's territorial waters and was under tow to the UAE, shipping officials said Saturday.
The Norwegian company which owns the ship said specialists would board the vessel on Saturday to assess the damage.

The other tanker that was attacked, the Kokuka Courageous, was heading to port Saturday, its owners said.

The Japanese tanker's Tokyo-based operator Kokuka confirmed the vessel was heading to the UAE.

"We still don't know if the tanker goes to Khor Fakkan or Fujairah as they are very close," said a spokesman.

Maritime experts would then seek to transfer its highly flammable cargo to shore, according to an unnamed official quoted by Japanese state media.

Earlier, Al-Falih said that he hopes oil producers will be able to balance the oil market before next year.
“We hope that we will balance the market before next year. We are working on it,” Al-Falih told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Karuizawa, Japan, when asked about the current oil market situation.
Al-Falih said earlier this month that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was close to agreeing to extend a pact on cutting oil supplies beyond June, although more talks were still needed with non-OPEC countries that were part of the production deal.


Saudi Arabia, Russia sign agreements during Vladimir Putin visit to Riyadh

Updated 14 October 2019

Saudi Arabia, Russia sign agreements during Vladimir Putin visit to Riyadh

  • King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman welcome Russian leader at Al-Yamamah Palace
  • 20 deals of cooperation were signed between the two countries

DUBAI: Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Riyadh on Monday on his first visit since 2007, and was welcomed to Al-Yamamah Palace by Saudi King Salman as well as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar earlier personally welcomed the Russian leader as he disembarked from his aircraft at King Khalid International Airport.

An official welcoming ceremony was held in honor of Putin and various agreements were signed between the governments of Saudi Arabia and Russia including an oil cooperation pact.

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READ MORE: Dedicated Arab News ‘Putin in Saudi Arabia’ spotlight

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Some 20 agreements were signed between the two countries, in a ceremony overseen by the king, crown prince, Putin and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF and Saudi Arabia's SALIC signed an agreement to team up in searching for investment projects in the Russian agricultural sector, RDIF said in a statement on Monday.

A string of multi-million-dollar investment contracts were also signed in the aerospace, culture, health and advanced technology sectors.

Putin’s “long-awaited” visit will include discussions on “further cooperation to stabilize prices on the world carbohydrate market” as well as the situation in Syria, the Gulf and Yemen.

The Russian leader, in an interview with Arab broadcasters and aired on Sunday ahead of his arrival, described the “very good relations” with the Saudi leadership.

“We consider Saudi Arabia a friendly nation. I have very good relations with both the King and the Crown Prince,” Putin said, and noted the improved bilateral relations between both countries.

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PHOTO GALLERY: Vladimir Putin visits Saudi Arabia

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Putin in the interview likewise condemned the Sept. 14 attacks on Aramco facilities, and said “such actions do not bring any positive results to anybody, including perpetrators,” as they do not have a strong effect on the market.

“We condemn any such actions, end of story. This is the official position … regardless of who stood behind the incident,” the Russian president commented.

A forum attended by Saudi Arabian and Russian business leaders and government officials earlier Monday resulted in the signing of several agreements between companies of both countries.

(Developing)