Russia, Saudis Sign Nuclear Energy Deal

Russia, Saudis Sign  Nuclear Energy DealRussia, Saudis Sign  Nuclear Energy Deal

A number of cooperation documents were signed by Russia and Saudi Arabia on Thursday, after President Putin met with Saudi Prince Mohammed in what was one of the most anticipated meetings at the international economic forum in St. Petersburg.

The pair has signed six agreements in total, Al Arabiya News Channel reported. A cooperation agreement on a peaceful nuclear program was among the documents, the press service of Russia’s nuclear agency, Rosatom said, Ria-Novosti News Agency reported.

According to Rosatom, the document is the first in the history of Russia-Saudi relations to create a legal framework for cooperation between the nations in the field of nuclear energy. Future joint projects might include construction of nuclear power reactors, provision of services in nuclear fuel cycling, including those for nuclear power stations and research reactor facilities.

The Persian Gulf kingdom has no industrial nuclear power plants, but has big plans for developing nuclear energy.

The two oil heavyweights have also agreed on the creation of a working group to develop joint energy projects, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Thursday. Saudi Arabia is interested in energy projects in Russia, the minister said, adding that Russia doesn’t aim to replace existing partners in oil and gas cooperation, but rather wants to establish new ones.

The crown prince also extended an invitation to the Russian leader to visit the kingdom, saying "I have the honor to pass on an invitation to visit the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as we regard Russia as one of the important states in the contemporary world, and our relations have roots in the past," adding that Russia had been the first country to officially recognize Saudi Arabia.

Putin accepted the invite and invited the prince's father, King Salman, to visit Russia, an invitation which has also been accepted.

Oil Coop.

The oil ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to discuss a broad cooperation agreement at an economic forum in St Petersburg, two sources told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia is the top producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and the world's top oil exporter, while Russia, which is not an OPEC member, is the second biggest oil supplier to the global markets.

One source said the agreement to be discussed between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi would not be about joint oil production or export strategy.

Russia has stepped up contacts with OPEC after oil prices plunged last year, but it has dismissed any suggestion it might cut output to prop up prices. OPEC has also refused to curb its output in order to defend market share.

A spokeswoman for Russia's Energy Ministry confirmed the meeting but declined to comment on the agenda.

The talks in Russia's second city follow OPEC's meeting on June 5 in which the group kept its output policy unchanged. Before the meeting, an OPEC delegate said the group would not cut supply unless non-OPEC producers contributed.

Saudi Arabia is pumping oil at a record high as it focuses on keeping market share, while Russian output hit a post-Soviet high of 10.71 million barrels per day in April.

Despite ample supply, oil prices have rallied to almost $65 a barrel in 2015 after sliding toward $45 in January, supported by stronger-than-expected demand and signs the supply glut will ease.