Saudi oil chief holds talks with Counterparts in China and India
(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia’s energy minister held talks with counterparts from China and India, two of the kingdom’s biggest oil customers, amid a standoff with the U.S. over OPEC+’s decision to cut production.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held an online meeting with China’s National Energy Administrator Zhang Jianhua, during which they agreed to bolster “the bilateral relationship between the two countries in the field of energy,” according to a joint statement published by the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Friday.
They will “strengthen co-operation to address emerging risks and challenges,” the statement read. “The kingdom continues to be China’s most reliable partner and supplier of crude oil.”
The same day, Prince Abdulaziz traveled to New Delhi. He met several Indian officials, including Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, and told reporters that OPEC+ is doing a good job stabilizing the crude market. The Indian government didn’t make any statement about the meetings.
The Saudi minister was there partly to prepare for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s planned visit to India in November, the Economic Times reported.
Riyadh has come under criticism from the White House since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners -- a 23-nation alliance led by Saudi Arabia and Russia -- opted to reduce output. The State Department said the decision on Oct. 5 came at the “worst possible moment” given worldwide inflationary pressures. President Joe Biden said he will reassess the US’s military support for the kingdom.
Still, European and Asian nations have largely refrained from publicly condemning the Saudis and other members of the group, which said the cut was needed to re-balance the oil market amid a weakening global economy.
The prince’s comments in India came shortly after Turkey, another importer of Saudi oil, said the kingdom was the victim of “bullying,” without directly referring to the US.
“Turkey is not happy with the rising prices, but we’re not using a language of threat,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.