By Arab News
By Noor Nugali
Saudi Arabia and Russia are working hand in hand to bring stability to global oil markets and triple their number of joint projects, senior representatives of both countries said on Saturday.
The co-chairs of the Saudi-Russian intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation met in Riyadh in preparation for a full gathering at the end of March.
“We are working with the Kingdom on the global stability of the oil market,” said Alexander Novak, the former Russsian oil minister who is now the country’s deputy prime minister.
The Saudi Energy Minister, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, said: “The forthcoming 7th commission meeting will consolidate this progress, but also set us on the path to new areas of co-operation — in finance and banking, infrastructure and urban development, the digital economy and smart cities, transportation and logistics, SMEs and sports.
“The new road map for 2020-2023 will be even more ambitious in its aims — the number of new projects will be tripled, as an indication of the sincere desire for greater collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
“What we have is an addition of 72 new initiatives. When we hold that meeting at the end of March, we will show everybody what has been achieved. That’s the beauty of our work, is that we are KPI-ing our work.”
Cooperation will be enhanced across the full range of economic and social activity, from the high-tech sectors such as space, information technology and telecommunications, to collaboration in education, knowledge exchange and cultural activities.
Novak said mutual visits between the two countries had enhanced cooperation, and the volume of bilateral trade had increased by more than 60 percent.
Both ministers agreed on the importance of strengthening cooperation between the relevant authorities in oil and gas, electricity, energy efficiency and alternative energy, and providing support to overcome any challenges facing this cooperation.
There will also be greater cooperation in industry, space, information and communication technologies, urban development, finance and banking, transport, education and culture.
Prince Abdul Aziz renewed his criticism of oil market speculators, ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ alliance on Jan. 4 to discuss oil output levels.
“We were discussing how to make speculation a type of ballet dance,” he said. “Speculators will not just be on their toes, but also on their nails.
“No one will know what we will do on the 4th except on the 4th. That has always been approach and always will be our approach.
“You are well aware there are many countries in the agreement, but, as has always been the case, we get a common view before the decision and we will work on a common view.”
With Russia, Prince Abdul Aziz said, “we are on the same page in our bilateral relationship and making sure that the market is stable and sustainable. Continuous sustainability and stability is the pillar.”