MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and Saudi Arabia will sign more than $2 billion of deals and discuss the OPEC+ oil output agreement during President Vladimir Putin’s first visit to the kingdom in more than a decade next week, a senior official said on Thursday.
Putin’s visit to Riyadh on Monday comes as Russia is trying to expand its political and commercial clout in the Middle East. Riyadh and Moscow - the top two oil-exporting powers - have also been cooperating on curbing global oil output since 2016.
“This is a historic visit and it emphasises the important role of Russia as a player that brings stability to the region,” the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, told reporters.
“The OPEC+ deal will also be discussed during the meetings,” he added.
The two oil-exporting powers plan to sign 10 deals during Putin’s first visit to Saudi Arabia since 2007, in sectors including agriculture, railways, fertilisers and petrochemicals, Dmitriev said.
One of the deals will be worth $700 million and RDIF will also announce a joint investment with Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant Saudi Aramco, he added.
Moscow is also the world’s largest wheat exporter and has long sought access to the Saudi and broader Middle Eastern and North African markets.
It made some progress in August when Saudi Arabia agreed to relax its specifications for wheat imports, opening the door to Black Sea imports.
Dmitriev said a number of petrochemical projects would be discussed during the visit, and Moscow was cooperating with Aramco on the issue.
“We will continue to promote (Russia’s largest petrochemicals company) Sibur’s project in Saudi Arabia with the participation of Saudi Aramco, Total,” he added.
He said Russia and Saudi Arabia were also working on another 25 projects worth $10 billion, along with other ongoing projects without going into details.
“We will continue to move forward. We believe that strategic relations with Saudi Arabia are extremely important because we are interested in a stable oil market, a stable region and large-scale joint investments,” he added.
Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya; Writing by Polina Devitt; Editing by Tom Balmforth, Alison Williams and Andrew Heavens
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