Saudi energy minister says agreements with Russian Federation helped oil markets to stabilise

Saudi Arabia's King Salman arrives in Moscow

Saudi Arabia's King Salman arrives in Moscow

Food security is a major concern for Saudi Arabia, which stopped local production of livestock feed and wheat due to water scarcity.

Russian Federation is not a member of the oil cartel Opec, but it has collaborated with Opec members on suppressing production to drive up oil prices.

Putin visited Riyadh in 2007 and last met Salman in Turkey in 2015.

But oil was front and center.

Anna Kitanaka commented that OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo's statement means returning to the 5-year global oil inventory target, which is the goal of OPEC and the cause of the restrictions.

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the partnership between Moscow and Riyadh has inspired unprecedented cooperation from 24 oil-producing states, including Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members and non-OPEC nations. The agreement remains in force until the end of March 2018. "But on the whole, if speaking about a possible extension, this should be at least until the end of 2018", he further said.

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The talks took place against a hard political backdrop.

However, the agenda also included issues on which the two sides deeply differ, including the war in Syria. USA crude rose 86 cents to $50.84.

At the Kremlin's opulent St Andrew's Hall, Mr Putin in televised remarks hailed the king's visit as a "landmark" event.

"Both countries are looking to reap political and economic benefits during the visit", said Yury Barmin, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council. "Previously, the primary focus of [Riyadh's] foreign policy was the [Middle Eastern] region and the United States".

Among the expected agreements is the establishment of a $1 billion fund for technology investment, cooperation in water desalination and energy efficiency in air-conditioners, as well as Saudi investment into toll-free roads in Russian Federation.

"In 2015, Saudi Arabia pledged $10 billion to invest in Russian Federation but two years on nothing has been invested", he said.

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He stressed that Saudi Arabia has already held talks with a dozen Russian energy companies and has certain developments, projects, plans for cooperation.

Analysts see Salman's trip to Moscow, which follows other visits by Gulf royals, as the clearest sign yet that Russia's high-risk gamble in Syria has paid off, the report said. However, Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser said such a deal was not being discussed at this stage.

Defense was another topic. It has allocated 191 billion riyals ($51 billion), or 21% of its 2017 budget, to military spending. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is leading the worldwide coalition launching daily airstrikes against Houthi-held settlements in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, also saw a production jump.

"There is some interest, of course", he said.

Saudi Arabia's General Investment Authority granted licenses to four Russian companies to work fully in the construction sector. New York, London and Hong Kong are the main contenders.

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