On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told CNBC that cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC producers should continue — in some form or another — past the end of the calendar year. He added that Riyadh’s bilateral relationship with Moscow would be a “key ingredient” for that to happen.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, Novak said he “fully agreed” with his Saudi counterpart.
And when asked whether something longer-term was happening regarding the relationship between the world’s two largest oil producers, Novak replied: “I have the same feelings and they are based on the fact that firstly we have fairly frequent and positive contact at the highest level.”
Russia and Saudi Arabia are leading a joint OPEC and non-OPEC effort to try and reduce a global supply overhang and prop up prices. Brent crude oil futures have soared 50 percent since mid-2017, reaching $70 a barrel for the first time in over three years earlier this month.
The main price driver has been a supply cut from OPEC and its allied producers, who started to withhold output in January 2017. The production cuts are scheduled to last throughout 2018.
Nonetheless, while the two countries appear poised to work together to support the energy market next year, Novak also said cooperation would likely transcend into other areas too.
“Of course, we are concentrating on the development of economic and trading collaboration and the development of our political relations as well,” he said.
In October, Russia rolled out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia’s King Salman as the monarch led a high-profile and highly significant delegation to Moscow. It was the first ever state visit to Russia by a reigning Saudi monarch.
The visit was seen as a sign of increasingly cordial relations and closer economic and political ties between the two oil giants. However, not all observers are convinced of Russia and Saudi Arabia’s newfound collaboration and harmony.
Russia and Saudi were at odds during most of the Cold War and Riyadh has been hampered by Moscow’s decision to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at a time when Saudi Arabia was supporting the Syrian opposition.
'Positive contact' with Saudi Arabia will continue beyond OPEC deal, Russia's energy minister says