‘Very exciting’ project to be unveiled during Putin visit to Saudi Arabia

Russian President Vladimir Putin told industry leaders at the Energy Week International Forum in Moscow that Russia based its relationships with energy partners worldwide on ‘commerce, not political reasoning.’ (Reuters)
Updated 14 October 2019

‘Very exciting’ project to be unveiled during Putin visit to Saudi Arabia

  • Multimillion-dollar deals expected in oil, agriculture and tourism, Russian investment chief tells Arab News

MOSCOW: Russia and Saudi Arabia are planning to clinch a raft of business and investment deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars during the forthcoming state visit by President Putin to the Kingdom, according to one of the leaders of the Russian business scene.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, told Arab News that there would be new business deals in the oil industry, agriculture, tourism and petrochemicals.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Russia Energy Week summit in Moscow, he said: “We are going to be signing more than 10 new investment agreements between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

“One example is a joint investment with Saudi Aramco in Novomet, a Russian pumps manufacturer, one of the leaders of the industry, supplying pumps to Saudi Aramco, which will be investing with RDIF in this company,” he said.




Russian business leader Kirill Dmitriev is upbeat about new business deals 
being signed during President Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia. (AFP)

There was one big project which he said was “very exciting” that would be announced during the visit, but he declined to identify this. RDIF is already a partner with the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund in multibillion-dollar projects in Russia, Dmitriev said.

“We’ve made investments with our Saudi partners of more than $2.7 billion, from the Saudi side. It is already producing good returns and now we expect the fund to begin investing in Saudi projects — in tourism, petrochemicals and other areas.”

Agriculture could be the big beneficiary following a change in Saudi Arabia’s import regime. “Saudi Arabia recently announced it was removing bans on Russian agricultural products, wheat specifically, and we will be signing a big agreement with the Saudi Agricultural Investment and Livestock Company (Salic) during the visit,” he said.

FASTFACT

The Russia Saudi Investment Fund was set up in 2017 and has total committed capital of $6 billion.

RDIF has invested alongside Saudi institutions in a range of infrastructure and energy projects in Russia via the Russia Saudi Investment Fund, which was set up in 2017 and has total committed capital of $6 billion.

Dmitriev said that the recent attacks on Saudi Aramco oil facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais had given the Kingdom the opportunity to demonstrate “tremendous resilience” as it hurried to repair the physical and economic damage to its oil industry.

“It has completely recovered from this oil shock and now we see that everything was fixed very quickly and very orderly, and I think lots of people are very impressed by this,” he said.

He added that the strength of the business relationship between Russia and Saudi Arabia was a testament to the success of the visit of King Salman to Moscow in 2017, and reflected the close relationship between President Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Make or break days for global oil ahead of OPEC crunch meeting

Updated 08 April 2020

Make or break days for global oil ahead of OPEC crunch meeting

  • OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia, were on Thursday scheduled to take part in virtual discussions with non-OPEC members, led by Russia, about a possible deal to revive the OPEC+ alliance
  • On Friday, energy ministers from the G20 nations, under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, will convene in another digital forum that will bring in the third part of the global oil equation – the US

DUBAI: The global energy world, in the midst of crisis as demand slumps to unprecedented levels due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, faces two days that could make – or break – the oil industry for months to come.
Leading producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, were on Thursday scheduled to take part in virtual discussions with non-OPEC members, led by Russia, about a possible deal to revive the OPEC+ alliance that fell apart in Vienna at the beginning of last month.
Then, on Friday, energy ministers from the G20 nations, under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, will convene in another digital forum that will bring in the third important part of the global oil equation – the US, currently the biggest oil producer in the world.
If no deal is reached from the two days of oil summits, the immediate prospect looms of a further fall in crude prices and, with global storage facilities already filling rapidly, the possibility of major exporters “shutting in” oil fields, jeopardizing future production.
Energy experts say the purpose of the meetings is two-fold: To reach agreement on how to limit the vast quantities of oil that are still being produced even as demand collapses; and to present some kind of united front in geopolitical terms in the face of the biggest economic recession since the 1930s.
The most visible immediate sign of any success from the meetings will be an increase in the price of crude oil on global markets. Brent crude, the Middle East benchmark, has lost nearly half its value in the past month.
The first aim – to try to balance oil supply and demand – is the more difficult. Global demand has fallen by at least 20 per cent from the usual daily consumption of around 100 million barrels, oil economists have calculated.
But, following the collapse of the OPEC+ deal that was putting a lid on supply, all producers have been pumping more crude. Saudi Arabia is producing more than 12 million barrels per day (bpd), a bigger volume than at any time in its history. All OPEC members, as well as Russia, have said they will increase output.
In this stand-off, US President Donald Trump intervened last week to say that he had spoken to Saudi and Russian leaders and that he “expected” a cut of 10 million, possibly even 15 million, bpd.
That looks like wishful thinking. For one thing, it would not rebalance markets. Anas Al-Hajji, managing partner of US-based Energy Outlook Advisers, said: “The amount of the cut is relatively small given the major drop in demand.”
There are also some difficult relationships to smooth over in the OPEC+ alliance. Saudi Arabia and Russia exchanged angry statements last weekend, each accusing the other of starting the oil price war. Iran, with big reserves but hampered by US sanctions from exporting in large quantities, said that it might not take part in the conference.
The choreography of the two meetings also presents hurdles. The US will not be present at the OPEC+ meeting, but American Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said he would take part in the G20 event.
Because it is a free-market industry, America cannot order its oil producers to reduce output, but most analysts are agreed any attempt to rebalance global supply would be impossible without a US contribution.
By going first, Saudi Arabia and Russia are “playing blind” without knowing what the Americans are thinking. Neither would want to agree big price-restoring cuts only for US producers – under big financial pressure at current levels – to swoop back into the market.
This week there have been some signs that the Americans are considering their own versions of cutbacks. The biggest US company, Exxon Mobil, said it would reduce capital expenditure on future projects by 30 percent; the US Energy Information Administration said oil production would fall by nearly 1 million bpd this year, in response to falling demand and financial pressures.
But even if the Saudis and Russians cut substantially alongside other big OPEC producers such as the UAE, and the Americans enter a long-term pattern of falling demand, it is still hard to see how cuts could reach the 10 million barrels Trump “expects,” let alone 15 million.
J. P. Morgan, the big US investment bank, said that it expects OPEC+ to come up with combined cuts of about 4.3 million barrels, most of that coming from Saudi Arabia, Russia and the UAE. “If it’s 4.3 million it only puts off the day when global storage gets filled completely,” said Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy consultancy.
Storage facilities are nearly at the brim. Malek Azizeh, director of the premium facilities at the Fujairah Oil Terminal in the UAE, joked that he was going to hang a sign on the terminal gates: “Thanks, but no tanks.”