Oil to remain ‘crucial’ to global economic development: Saudi Energy Minister

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Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday that oil will remain crucial to global economic development.

“Petroleum resources will remain crucial to global economic development in the future,” Prince Abdulaziz said during a televised conference held in Riyadh.

The conference, aired live by Al Arabiya, was held in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and key officials from both Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The energy minister also announced that 20 agreements were signed between Saudi Arabian and Russian officials on Monday during the Saudi-Russian CEO Forum. The total value of the deals, however, has not yet been announced.

The Saudi-Russian CEO Forum was held during Putin’s historic visit to Riyadh, which is his first official trip to the Kingdom in 12 years.

Both countries will cooperate in the fields of energy, space, artificial intelligence, and petrochemicals, Saudi and Russian officials announced.

On Sunday, Putin told Al Arabiya that Russia’s largest petrochemical company, Sibur, is “exploring the possibility of building a facility” in Saudi Arabia with investments of more than $1 billion.

Meanwhile, in a seperate interview with Al Arabiya, Kirill Dimitriev, the chief executive officer of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said that the fund would sign 14 agreements valued at over $3 billion with Saudi Arabian companies during the forum.

In the nuclear sector, Russia’s state nuclear corporation Rosatom is ready to cooperate with partners from the US, Europe, and Asia to build a nuclear power plant in Saudi Arabia, according to the company’s CEO Alexey Likhachev on Monday.

Russia and Saudi Arabia have so far funded and approved bilateral projects worth $2.5 billion across various sectors, including artificial intelligence, infrastructure, transport, and medicine.

Saudi Aramco and the RDIF are also mulling projects in the oil services sector with a total investment value of over $1 billion, and in the oil and gas conversion segment worth over $2 billion, according to the RDIF.

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