Saudi Arabia made oil offer to Russia during Putin meeting: report

London (Platts)--27Aug2013/732 am EDT/1132 GMT


More details of a meeting at the end of July between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan have emerged, with the Saudi prince reportedly having suggested the two sides come up with a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on global oil supply and price.

The Kremlin has admitted the meeting took place, although neither side has revealed details of what was discussed.

But in recent weeks elements of the conversation have been leaked to the Russian press.

Now, further details, including the Saudi suggestion on oil, have been published by Lebanese daily newspaper As-Safir.

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According to As-Safir, Prince Bandar was reported to have offered cooperation in the oil and gas sector in return for Russia backing down over its support for the existing Syrian regime.

"Let us examine how to put together a unified Russian-Saudi strategy on the subject of oil. The aim is to agree on the price of oil and production quantities that keep the price stable in global oil markets," Prince Bandar was reported to have said.

"We understand Russia's great interest in the oil and gas present in the Mediterranean Sea from Israel to Cyprus through Lebanon and Syria. And we understand the importance of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe. We are not interested in competing with that," he was reported as saying by As-Safir.

He also offered Saudi investment in Russia.

"The kingdom can provide large multi-billion-dollar investments in various fields in the Russian market. What's important is to conclude political understandings on a number of issues, particularly Syria and Iran."

Putin, in response, was reported to have said that these topics should be discussed by the relevant ministries in both countries.

On Syria, however, Putin said that Moscow's position would not change.

"We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people," he was reported as saying

Saudi Arabia has been strongly supportive of the rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. But Russia, to the fury of Riyadh and its Western allies, has refused to cut its cooperation with the Damascus regime.

Prince Bandar also reportedly said he hoped that the Russians would understand that Russia's interests and the interests of the Gulf states are one in the face of the nuclear challenge from Iran.

But Putin said Russia still backs Tehran's right to have nuclear power.

"We support the Iranian quest to obtain nuclear fuel for peaceful purposes. And we helped them develop their facilities in this direction. Of course, we will resume negotiations with them as part of the P5+1 group," Putin was reported as saying.

"I will meet with President Hassan Rowhani on the sidelines of the Central Asia summit and we will discuss a lot of bilateral, regional and international issues.

"We will inform him that Russia is completely opposed to the UN Security Council imposing new sanctions on Iran. We believe that the sanctions imposed against Iran and Iranians are unfair and that we will not repeat the experience again," he was quoted as saying.

--Stuart Elliott, stuart.elliott@platts.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@platts.com

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