Putin, Saudi leader urge oil cooperation as prices flag


(MENAFN- AFP)

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia used a rare face-to-face meeting to urge oil producers to stick to pledged supply cuts, a joint statement said Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to the Saudi capital a day earlier came as oil prices continued to slide, with US oil finishing below $70 per barrel for the first time since July.

Analysts have begun to consider the possibility that Saudi Arabia could abruptly decide to open the spigots, recalling a move by the kingdom in 2014 to counter rising US production.

Meeting in Riyadh, Putin and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Gulf kingdom's de facto ruler, highlighted the work of the 23-member OPEC+ group of oil producers "in enhancing the stability of global oil markets."

"They stressed... the need for all participating countries to adhere to the OPEC+ agreement, in a way that serves the interests of producers and consumers and supports the growth of the global economy," said a statement from the official Saudi Press Agency.

The OPEC+ bloc unveiled fresh supply cuts after a virtual meeting last week, with Russia saying it would slash oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day between January and March, having already introduced a cut of 300,000 barrels a day earlier this year.

Saudi Arabia said it would it would extend its voluntary production cut of one million barrels per day over the same period.

Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Algeria and Oman agreed to make smaller cuts.

Cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia on supply cuts has at times drawn the ire of Washington.

Putin's trip on Wednesday, which also included a stop in the United Arab Emirates, was only his third outside the former Soviet Union since he invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Putin and Prince Mohammed also expressed "deep concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza", where Israel launched military operations to eradicate Hamas after the Palestinian militants staged the deadliest attack in Israel's history on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking around 240 hostage, according to Israeli officials.

The death toll in Gaza has soared above 16,200, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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