Saudi Arabia calls ‘urgent’ meeting of oil producers

A flame from a Saudi Aramco oil installion known as "Pump 3" is seen in the desert near the oil-rich area of Khouris, 160 kms east of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on June 23, 2008. (AFP)
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Updated 03 April 2020

Saudi Arabia calls ‘urgent’ meeting of oil producers

  • Crude prices jump after move, which Kingdom says is part of efforts ‘to support global economy in these exceptional circumstances’

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries and other oil exporters, to discuss restoring the “desired balance” in global energy markets.

The move — which prompted a big jump in the price of oil on global markets — is part of the Kingdom’s “constant efforts to support the global economy in these exceptional circumstances, and in appreciation of the request of the President of the USA, Donald Trump, and the request of friends in the USA,” according to a statement published by the official Saudi news agency.

Global oil prices reacted immediately. Brent crude, the Middle East benchmark, increased by 20 percent, taking it back above $30 a barrel.

The price of crude has been under pressure as a result of collapsing demand due to the coronavirus crisis, and Saudi Arabia’s determination to win market share from American and Russian producers.

During an OPEC meeting in Vienna last month, the Kingdom offered to implement further cuts in oil production but Russia refused to participate.

“Saudi Arabia would like to underscore its efforts during the past period to restore balance in the oil market, as it drew support for that from 22 counties of the OPEC+, but it was not possible to reach an agreement or get consensus,” according to the official Saudi statement.

Oil industry expert Daniel Yergin said: “This represents a recognition of how much the world has changed for oil in a single month as demand falls away so dramatically, and the impact of Donald Trump becoming personally engaged.”

The Saudi call for talks came after a hectic round of communications between the US, Russia and the Kingdom.

In a message posted on Twitter after the Saudi announcement, Trump wrote: “I just spoke to my friend Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin and I expect and hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10m barrels, and maybe substantially more, which will be great for the oil and gas industry.”

However, officials in Riyadh downplayed any suggestion of a commitment to specific reductions in the levels of oil output. There is no indication yet of when the “urgent” meeting of OPEC and others might happen, nor what will be on the agenda, they said.

President Vladimir Putin denied that he had spoken to the crown prince about the price of oil. Novosti, the official Russian news agency, said there was no such conversation, but added that the president had discussed falling oil prices with other OPEC members and with the US.

“The Americans are worried because of their profitability for shale oil production,” said Putin. “This is also a difficult test for the American economy.”

This week, Saudi Arabia produced more oil in a single day than at any time in its history, with 12 million barrels flowing from pumps at Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company.

Saudi envoy praises Japan’s support for Donors’ Conference for Yemen

Updated 03 June 2020

Saudi envoy praises Japan’s support for Donors’ Conference for Yemen

  • Japan has made a number of pledges in the past three years

RIYADH: The Saudi Ambassador to Japan, Naif bin Marzouq Al-Fahadi, commended the Japanese government for its support in aid and contributions to ease the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. 

Japan has made a number of pledges in the past three years during high-level meetings to help the Yemeni people, highlighting its commitment to work side by side with Saudi Arabia and UN member states.

Chaired by Saudi Arabia, the Virtual Donors’ Conference for Yemen 2020, which convened on Tuesday, saw a number of pledges made by UN members.

Suzuki Keisuke, Japan’s foreign affairs minister, pledged $41.2 million in aid to Yemen at the forum. 

In 2017, Japan pledged $61.7 million and provided $63.5 million in aid. In 2018, it pledged $38.8 million, but provided $57.7 million in aid. In 2019, the Japanese government pledged $52.8 million and provided aid worth $44 million. 

Al-Fahadi said that the initiative to convene the Virtual Donors’ Conference for Yemen 2020 comes as a result of interest from the highest levels of the Saudi leadership in light of recent developments in Yemen, including the crisis related to the consequences of the coronavirus, and to complete the efforts of reconstruction and the establishment of stability and peace in the country.

He said that that the Kingdom has provided a total of $16.95 billion since the beginning of the crisis through its relief and humanitarian arms, headed by King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) and the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen.