Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for an official visit to Russia.The King deputized Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, to administer the State’s affairs and take care of the interests of the people during his absence.
This is the first visit to Moscow by a reigning Saudi Monarch.Several investment deals, including those relating to a liquefied natural gas project and petrochemical plants, could also be signed during the trip and plans for a $1-billion fund to invest in energy projects are likely to be finalized.
King Salman will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Billboards in Arabic and Russian have been erected on the road from the airport to central Moscow welcoming King Salman.A business forum on the sidelines of the visit will include speeches by senior ministers and the heads of state-owned energy giants Saudi Aramco and Gazprom as well as a presentation of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will organize the Saudi-Russian Investment Forum on Thursday.Representatives of more than 200 Saudi and Russian companies will participate in the forum.
Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih, Governor of SAGIA Ibrahim Al-Omar, Managing Director of Public Investment Fund (PIF) Yasir Al-Rumayyan, CEO of RDIF Kirill Dmitriev as well as high-ranking representatives of Russian and Saudi businesses from such companies as Saudi Aramco, SIBUR, ALROSA, and Aeroflot among others will take part in the Forum.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow hoped the King’s trip would breathe life into a relationship with huge potential and was interested in maintaining dialogue with Riyadh.Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview broadcast on Monday that the planned $1-billion fund to invest in energy projects was part of efforts to strengthen cooperation in oil, gas, electricity, renewable energy and other projects.
Russian firms are also discussing deals with Saudi Aramco, such as providing drilling services in Saudi Arabia, and Russian oil giant Rosneft’s interest in crude trading, he added.Russian Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said on Tuesday investors were interested in a nuclear energy plant Saudi Arabia wants to build and Saudis would be offered investment opportunities including in shipping company Sovcomflot.
A Russian energy source said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was expected to be signed between Novatek and Saudi Arabia on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, known as Arctic LNG-2, that aims to start up in the 2020s.He said details were still being discussed.
Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) are expected to sign an MoU with Russia’s biggest petrochemical firm Sibur to examine opportunities for building petrochemical plants in the two countries.
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