May 25, 2018 / 11:28 AM / 9 months ago

Saudi Arabia assures China about oil market stability, supplies: NEA

FILE PHOTO: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

BEIJING (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is committed to ensuring oil market stability and sufficient supplies to offset any potential shortfall and meet incremental demand, the kingdom’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told China’s energy chief on Friday.

The discussion took place by telephone between Falih and Nur Bekri, the head of China’s National Energy Administration (NEA), a joint statement issued by the Saudi ministry and the NEA said.

Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, “together with other producers will ensure the availability of adequate supplies to offset any potential shortfall and meet incremental demand,” the statement said. China is the world’s biggest crude oil importer.

Oil prices have risen to their highest since 2014 after U.S. President Donald Trump on May 8 announced his decision to exit an international nuclear deal with Iran and revive sanctions on OPEC’s third-largest producer, amid fears of tight supplies.

Crude exports from Iran could drop by 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1 million barrels bpd as a result of U.S. sanctions, according to BP.

On Friday, however, Brent crude fell more than 2 percent towards $77 a barrel as Saudi Arabia and Russia said they were ready to ease supply curbs.

Reporting by Josephine Mason and Tom Daly; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr and Dale Hudson

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