Saudi king leaves for Moscow, crown prince in charge

Saul Bowman
October 5, 2017

The visit comes a month before members of the OPEC oil cartel, of which Saudi Arabia is the biggest producer, are due to meet with the other nations that have joined them in cutting crude output, including Russian Federation, to discuss extending the pact that has helped prop up prices.

"Our focus is not just on strengthening our cooperation within the framework of the OPEC and non-OPEC (agreement) but also the strengthening of cooperation in oil, gas, electricity renewable energy and other projects for oil and gas equipment", he told the television channel regarding the fund's activities.

On Saturday, official data showed Saudi Arabia's economy has slipped back into recession as the oil sector stagnates and the government sector is hit by austerity policies created to curb a state budget deficit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet the king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, on Thursday to discuss the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.

King Salman left Riyadh on Wednesday for an official visit to Russian Federation.

Moreover, Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said that Libya is also expected to join the OPEC deal.

General Authority for Statistics figures show that gross domestic product shrank by 2.3 percent in the second quarter compared with the first three months of 2017, mainly over low oil prices and less production.

Asked about ties with Riyadh during a panel discussion at an worldwide energy conference Wednesday, Putin responded that Moscow doesn't see close U.S. -Saudi relations as an obstacle for closer cooperation with the Saudis, and added that alliances tend to shift.

OPEC and non-OPEC ministers will work on recommendations for the next major meeting between global producers in November, Novak said. It was subsequently extended through March 2018.

"(But) they are likely to continue monitoring the state of market fundamentals before announcing further extensions" and were likely to "play their cards close this time round, and not signal their decision to the market too early, so as to avoid being held hostage to the market's pricing it too early and demanding more (as what happened last time)".

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