Moscow, Riyadh to Set Up Market Stability Task Force

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s top oil producers.Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world’s top oil producers.

Russia and Saudi Arabia agreed to set up a task force to review oil market fundamentals and recommend measures for securing oil market stability, according to a joint statement issued on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Monday.

"Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement to seek cooperation in the oil market with Russia," Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said at a news conference in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Reuters reported.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said at the news conference that cooperation with Saudi Arabia includes ways to stabilize global oil markets, including limiting oil output.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are the world's first- and second-largest oil producers, respectively.

“There is no need now to freeze production,” Falih said in an interview with Al Arabiya television in Hangzhou, China. “It is among the preferred options, but it is not necessary today. The market is improving day by day.”

Crude prices gained more than 5% before Falih and Novak made a joint statement, amid speculation that the two oil producers could reach an agreement to cap output.

A similar proposal in April failed after Saudi Arabia insisted that Iran also participate. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met on Sunday in Hangzhou and agreed to work together to ensure stability in the oil market.

Falih described Saudi Arabia’s agreement with Russia as “important” and said the two producers would continue to cooperate.

"The countries discussed several options to stabilize oil markets, including a joint freeze on output," he said.