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The Deputy Prime Minister held a number of bilateral meetings to develop business relations between Russia and the KSA, including with the KSA Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, and also spoke at the international conference “Middle East Green Initiative”.

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Working visit of Alexander Novak to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak paid a working visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

During the visit, the Deputy Prime Minister held a number of meetings related to the development of Russian-Saudi energy and business cooperation in the world market.

The constant priority of cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia remains the increase in trade between the two countries and, despite the influence of a number of factors, it continues to grow, Alexander Novak noted during negotiations with the co-chairman of the Russian-Saudi Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Abdel Aziz bin Salman al -Saud. “Last year it grew by 0.7% compared to 2019 and reached USD 1.7 billion. In January – September 2021, its volume increased by another 20%, ”he said. Within the framework of the bilateral meeting, the results of the seventh meeting of the Russian-Saudi intergovernmental commission held this year, as well as the current and future work of the two countries within the framework of the IGC working groups for this year were discussed. In particular, Alexander Novak noted the great prospects for large and small nuclear power in the territory of the KSA, cooperation between countries in the development of the chemical industry, the supply of agricultural products, including an increase in the supply of meat products from Russia to Saudi Arabia of the “halal” category. In addition, the current trends in the global energy sector related to global climate change, in particular, the reduction of carbon emissions during the production and transportation of hydrocarbons, the more active use of renewable energy sources and the development of hydrogen energy, were discussed.

“It is important to establish joint work in the field of using renewable energy sources, hydrogen energy. On the climate track, our states bear a special responsibility to the world community as one of the key suppliers of energy. At the same time, we believe that Russia and Saudi Arabia, as the two largest energy powers, should carefully approach decarbonization issues, prevent the artificial acceleration of the greening of the international agenda at the expense of the sustainability of the national energy sectors, ”the Deputy Prime Minister stressed.

The leading mechanism for the development of bilateral cooperation between countries remains precisely the business segment, the growth of bilateral investments in the economies of countries, Alexander Novak emphasized during a bilateral meeting with Chairman of the Saudi-Russian Business Council Tariq al-Kahtani. The growth in the number of large projects, in particular, is facilitated by the partnership between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the Deputy Prime Minister continued. “Within the framework of the specialized platform, 2.5 billion US dollars were spent. Currently, 20 new projects are being worked out, which cover such areas as oilfield services and oil refining, freight transportation, information and communication technologies and agriculture. I am convinced that the activity of the representatives of the business community will determine what vector the trade and investment component of the partnership of our countries will take, ”added Alexander Novak.

In addition, within the framework of the meeting, the important role of expanding interbank cooperation and simplifying visa issuance procedures for the development of bilateral trade of countries was emphasized.

Traditionally, the fuel and energy complex acts as a separate area of ​​cooperation development, partnership in which is maintained both at the bilateral level with the Russian side and through business initiatives. Thus, within the framework of such cooperation and the development of personnel exchange programs, following the meeting of Alexander Novak with Tariq Al-Kakhtani, Zarubezhgeologia JSC and ARGAS signed an agreement on the mutual secondment of employees (secondment), as well as an agreement on cooperation between ARGAS and JSC “Rosgeo”, covering a variety of categories of geophysical and geological exploration and research.

In addition, within the framework of the working visit, Alexander Novak met with the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud. As Alexander Novak noted, thanks to the joint efforts of Saudi Arabia and Russia, for several years now, it has been possible to ensure a stable balance between supply and demand in the oil market. “Saudi Arabia is an important partner of Russia in the Middle East, relations with which we build on the principles of mutual trust. We advocate the promotion of our interaction in various areas, including we believe that the ambitious environmental programs announced by your country – the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives – can become not only an important component of global efforts on the environmental track, but also an attractive example for putting forward similar projects by other countries, ”the Deputy Prime Minister noted.

Alexander Novak spoke in more detail about Russia’s potential in the global energy market in the framework of current trends to reduce its carbon footprint during his participation in the international conference “Middle East Green Initiative”. “The Russian Federation fully supports the Saudi and Middle East green initiatives – these ambitious environmental programs are aimed at improving the quality of life and protecting future generations, and can make a significant contribution to the joint efforts of the world community to preserve the climate. In this regard, we see new opportunities for cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia, ”said Alexander Novak.

Russia, according to the Deputy Prime Minister, has significant prospects both in terms of reducing carbon emissions on existing projects and in developing new energy production facilities with low environmental impact. “If we talk about the current energy balance of Russia, it is already one of the most diversified and cleanest in the world. Moreover, Russia intends to reach carbon neutrality no later than 2060, ”he said. Today, a significant part of the Russian energy balance is natural gas, as well as nuclear power generation facilities. “We also view nuclear power generation as a clean source of energy. Direct CO2 emissions from nuclear power plants are practically zero. We plan to further increase the share of nuclear energy in the energy balance and develop new directions, ”added Alexander Novak.

At the same time, despite the development of carbon-free generation, hydrocarbon energy sources will not cease to play a key role in world markets, the Deputy Prime Minister emphasized. “We see a significant potential in this direction in gas – the cleanest hydrocarbon energy source. At the same time, it is obvious that it is necessary to increase the efficiency and environmental friendliness of the use of hydrocarbons through the use of the most modern technologies, ”he said.

In conclusion, Alexander Novak invited the conference participants to continue discussing key trends and challenges in the development of the world energy in the framework of the 25th World Energy Congress, scheduled to be held in St. Petersburg from 24 to 27 October 2022.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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