12:49 GMT19 January 2021
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    Political Crisis in Venezuela (579)

    RIYADH (Sputnik), Anastasia Dmitrieva - A crisis in major oil producer Venezuela, where an opposition leader declared himself the interim leader of the country, has not had any impact on the oil market so far, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Falih told Sputnik in an interview on Monday.

    "It’s premature, we hope for the best for Venezuelan people. The impact on the oil market so far is zero. The oil market is very steady. No action is needed to take right now," Falih said.

    READ MORE: Moscow Not Planning to Have Any Contacts With Venezuela's Guaido — Kremlin

    The minister added that the escalation of the crisis had not been discussed within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

    "No, we have not discussed [the situation in Venezuela]," Falih said.

    According to OPEC statistics, Venezuela, one of the organization’s founding members, held 302.8 billion barrels in proven crude oil reserves, as of 2017, the most of any OPEC country.

    Khalid Falih added that he was hoping for the oil output cuts agreed most recently by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-cartel producers to be implemented by more than 100 percent.

    "The cuts that we have discussed are in place, we have to implement them hopefully by more than 100%. We will see what happens in March or April, so let’s give it time," Falih said.

    In December, participants of the OPEC-non-OPEC oil output cut deal agreed to reduce overall production by 1.2 million barrels per day for six months starting from the next year.

    Riyadh Expects Putin's Visit

    Riyadh is looking forward to a 2019 visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and expects it to create a lot of cooperation opportunities, Khalid Falih stressed.

    "In the future, there will be a lot of collaboration opportunities coming out of the discussions that lasted two years between the leaders. We are looking forward to President Putin coming and visiting the Kingdom in 2019. As we know, King Salman had a great state visit to Russia and that created a lot of opportunities. The same will happen when President Putin comes here," Falih said.

    Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed in early December that Putin's visit to Saudi Arabia would take place in 2019, adding that the date had yet to be agreed.

    Russia’s Interest in Investing in Saudi Arabia

    Riyadh is glad to see Russia's interest in investments in Saudi oil and gas projects and technology sectors of the economy, Falih stressed.

    READ MORE: Russia, Saudi Arabia Take Control of Oil Output Ahead of OPEC Talks

    "We are very happy with the Russian interest in Saudi investments. We have seen a delegation come from Russia a few weeks ago and they were quite interested in investing not only in oil and gas facilities, but also in some advanced industries," Falih said.

    He also expressed satisfaction that "a lot of Saudi investments" similarly go to Russia, voicing optimism about the two countries' economic cooperation.

    "And, of course, there are a lot of Saudi investments outbound from the Kingdom going to Russia… The future for the Kingdom is bright, the future for Russia with all of your economic transformation and energy resources is also very good," the minister added.

    Falih stressed that Riyadh was glad to see many representatives from Russian companies and media at the launch of Saudi Arabia's new economic strategy.

    Russia and Saudi Arabia have been steadily developing economic cooperation over recent years, with bilateral trade increasing almost twofold in 2017 to $915 million, and a number of investment opportunities under discussion.

    In December, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) CEO Kirill Dmitriev said that around $2 billion worth of funds from a Russian-Saudi foundation would be invested in Russia in 2019. According to Dmitriev, RDIF is considering investing in the Arctic LNG 2 project together with Saudi Aramco oil giant.

    Several months earlier, Falih told Rossiya 24 television channel that Saudi Aramco and Sabic, a diversified chemicals producer, were considering investing in the construction of a petrochemical plant in Russia. Falih expressed hope that the cooperation between Saudi Aramco and Russia's Sibur petrochemical company would help do this.

    Political Crisis in Venezuela (579)


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