Saudi Arabia's King Salman Arrives Russia for First Visit

Reuters

Reuters

"Today we see the market is in balance and we are seeing a return on investment in the industry", Novak said.

His comments, the strongest signal yet that the Kremlin is willing to redouble efforts to lift global energy prices, came as Putin prepared to welcome King Salman Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia to Russian Federation for the first time this week.

King Salman's four-day trip to Russian Federation is the first time a Saudi monarch has paid an official visit to Moscow following decades of frosty relations.

But oil was front and center. They are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.

USA shale oil coming to the market is not a concern, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday, adding that demand will absorb it. "But in general, speaking about a potential extension, it should last at least to the end of 2018".

A joint investment forum will be held in the framework of the visit of the Saudi King Salman to Moscow. The parties meticulously discussed the agenda of the talks and took account of geopolitical factors.

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However, the agenda also included issues on which the two sides deeply differ, including the war in Syria. And Russia is close to Iran, a fierce adversary of Saudi Arabia despite their status as OPEC members.

While they are partners on the oil market, on the foreign policy front, Moscow and Riyadh land on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict, with Russian Federation supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad while Saudi Arabia supports his opposition. Once they sign the expected deals, Putin will host a state dinner for Salman. "Previously, the primary focus of [Riyadh's] foreign policy was the [Middle Eastern] region and the United States".

Saudi Arabia's investment in Russian Federation has already amounted to $1 billion, but Russian Federation intends to increase the amount further at least twice.

Saudi Arabia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russian Federation to further localize military industries.

The move by OPEC and non-OPEC producers to balance the market is working, but the work is not yet finished, Saudi Arabia's oil minister said from Moscow.

As many as 100 Saudi businessmen are accompanying King Salman on his trip to Moscow. Top officials, energy ministers and leaders of sovereign wealth funds were due to attend, including Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi oil giant Aramco.

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The defense cooperation between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia are listed among the main topics of the talks in Moscow. The world's largest oil company in terms of oil production and reserves, Saudi Aramco controls fields with oil reserves totalling approximately 260.8 billion barrels (99 percent of Saudi Arabia's reserves), accounting for about a quarter of the world's explored oil reserves. It has allocated 191 billion riyals ($51 billion), or 21% of its 2017 budget, to military spending.

In July, Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov announced the signing of a preliminary agreement in the field of defense cooperation between the Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia in the amount of 3.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Saudi Arabia has agreed to buy Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, Saudi-owned al Arabiya television reported on Thursday.

"There is some interest, of course", he said.

Golani is now in a coma, Russian news agencies cited Russia's defense ministry as saying on Thursday.

Vision 2030, a blueprint for Saudi Arabia to move its economy away from oil, is driving that change. In Russia, President Vladimir Putin said he's open to prolonging a deal with OPEC to curb supplies, though a decision won't be made until the current agreement nears expiry in March.

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"The stakes are as high for Moscow as for Riyadh".

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