Oil Trades Near $50 as US Exports Soar, Putin Comments on Cuts

Reuters

Al-Falih and other Aramco officials are now accompanying Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz on a historic visit to Russian Federation as part of efforts to deepen ties between the world's two biggest oil producers.

On his journey into central Moscow from Vnukovo airport late on Wednesday, King Salman's limousine passed billboards bearing his photograph and messages in Russian and Arabic welcoming him.

Later the Saudi monarch invited President Putin to Riyadh.

Vedomosti newspaper reported that Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund is also eyeing investment into a toll road project in Moscow, which would be the first one for the capital.

The dramatic improvement in relations between Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia comes even though both countries support different sides in the six-year war in Syria.

A possible extension of the deal "should be at least until the end of 2018", Putin said in Moscow.

Though a rally in September helped propel oil into a bull market, prices have slipped back amid concern the market remains oversupplied despite cutbacks by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russian Federation. The kingdom's plan for an initial public offering of state-owned Saudi Aramco is on track for the second half of next year, Al-Falih said.

The message of further joint Saudi-Russia action on output helped push up oil prices on Thursday.

Brent crude was up 35 cents at $56.15 a barrel by 1000 GMT.

"Today, the King of Saudi Arabia went to Moscow, and at the same time, the president of Turkey went to Tehran, to Iran".

Lavrov said the Saudi monarch and Putin's meeting saw a "particular focus on Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen".

His Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, said new horizons had opened for Russia-Saudi ties that he could not previously have imagined.

A frame grab taken from footage released by Russia's Defence Ministry November 26, 2015, shows a Russian S-400 defense missile system deployed at Hmeymim airbase in Syria.

"We aim to strengthen our relations in the interests of peace and security, in the interests of developing the world economy", the Saudi king responded.

The Saudi monarch's decision to visit Russian Federation, now of all times, marks a new shift in Riyadh's foreign policy, Vyacheslav Smirnov, director of the Scientific and Research Institute for Political Sociology, told Radio Sputnik.

State oil giant Saudi Aramco will sign several non-binding MoUs on Thursday with Russian companies Gazprom (GAZP.MM), Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM), Sibur and Litasco.

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