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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Saudi Arabia Encourages Russian Oil, Gas Money

Saudi Arabia would like Russian companies to invest in its energy sector to help its efforts to further develop the country's economy, the country's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told reporters on Friday.

Naimi was in Moscow this week for talks with Russian officials and to discuss OPEC's decision to maintain output at current levels.

Saudi Arabia and Russia are the world's two largest oil producers.

"The field of investment is wide open. There are opportunities in gas, there are opportunities in refining, there are opportunities in petrochemicals, there are opportunities in services to the oil and gas industry," he said.

Naimi held talks in the morning with representatives of state-controlled energy companies Gazprom, Rosneft and Zarubezhneft, Saudi and Russian officials said.

He also met with Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko, who is responsible for macroeconomic matters, and President Vladimir Putin's top economic adviser, Andrei Illarionov.

"We discussed the OPEC decisions, and the situation on the international market," Illarionov said after the meeting.

"We are both interested in the market having stable prices," he added.

Naimi would not discuss how exactly Saudi Arabia could increase oil production in the event of the prices spiking if the United States launched war on Iraq.

"We are praying and hoping that nothing will happen to [Iraq's] production facilities," he said.

Saudi Arabia, the only member of the OPEC oil-producing cartel with significant spare capacity, has promised to make up any shortfalls in the world oil market in the event of war.

Some analysts have suggested it does not have the capacity to do so. Energy Minister Igor Yusufov said his country would not be able to increase exports to cool the market.

"Our transport infrastructure is working at full capacity, we cannot give anything else to the world market," he said.