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Russian Deputy PM Novak discusses decarbonization, oil cooperation with Saudi officials

Highlights

Warns against accelerating decarbonization at the expense of national energy sectors

Calls for cooperation on renewables, nuclear and hydrogen projects

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak discussed oil and green energy cooperation with Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohamad bin Salman and Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, during a working visit to Riyadh Oct. 25, the Russian government said in a statement.

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"We believe that Russia and Saudi Arabia, as the two largest energy powers, should carefully approach decarbonization, and prevent the artificial acceleration of 'greening' the international agenda, at the expense of the sustainability of national energy sectors," Novak said, according to the statement.

Novak discussed existing cooperation on ensuring stable supply and demand on the global oil market with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"Saudi Arabia is an important partner for Russia in the Middle East, we have built a relationship based on mutual trust," Novak said.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are key members of the OPEC+ group which has coordinated crude output volumes to balance markets and minimize price volatility since 2017.

Novak called for increasing cooperation between the two countries on climate projects.

"We advocate promoting cooperation in various areas, including the ambitious environmental programs announced by your country - the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives. They may become not only an important component of global efforts on the environment, but also an attractive example to put forward for similar projects by other countries," Novak said.

He also called for development of joint projects on renewable energy sources, hydrogen, nuclear, chemicals and agriculture.

During the visit Novak said that despite the development of carbon neutral power, hydrocarbons will continue to play a key role in global markets.

"We see significant potential here for gas – the cleanest hydrocarbon power source. At the same time it is obvious that it is necessary to increase efficiency and make hydrocarbons more environmentally friendly through the use of the most modern technology," Novak said.

Russia is targeting reducing carbon emissions at existing projects and developing new projects with a lower 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," Novak said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently announced that Russia plans to be carbon neutral by no later than 2060.

Novak said that Russia-Saudi bilateral trade grew by 0.7% year on year in 2020, and reached $1.7 billion. In January-September 2021, volumes increased by another 20%, he said.

Joint investment by the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Saudi Public Investment Fund, has totaled $2.5 billion. This investment currently covers 20 projects in areas including oilfield services, oil refining, transportation, information and communication technologies, and agriculture, the statement said.