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Oil steady as talk of new OPEC deal balances US exports

Oil steady as talk of new OPEC deal balances US exports

Riyadh supports rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces while Russian troops and Iranian militias have sided with Assad.

On a landmark visit to Russia, Saudi Arabia's King Salman and President Vladimir Putin were set on Thursday to clinch a host of multi-billion-dollar energy and defence deals despite discord over the Syrian war.

Falih also said that Saudi Arabia was looking at investments in India.

US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked during a recent briefing whether the United States was concerned about the recent moves of its staunch allies - Turkey and Saudi Arabia. On his journey into central Moscow from Vnukovo airport late on Wednesday, King Salman's limousine passed billboards bearing his photograph and messages in Russian and Arabic welcoming him.

For the first time, the two countries succeeded in leading the worldwide oil market out of the most critical crisis.

Saudi Arabia's turn to Russian Federation comes after Turkey, a longtime backer of Syrian rebels, changed course and pooled efforts with Russian Federation and Iran to help broker de-escalation zones in Syria that helped reduce violence.

The first official trip to Russian Federation by a Saudi monarch will also see the leaders of the world's largest energy exporters discuss an extension of an OPEC agreement to cap oil output.

Novak reminded that 24 countries are participating in the oil production cut agreement, and added that other countries are welcome to participate.

The announcement of the Saudi investment comes as the Saudi Minister of Energy and Industry, Khalid Al-Falih, claimed that the cooperation between the Kingdom and Russian Federation has "breathed life back into [Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries] OPEC", which would help raise the price of oil for the benefit of both countries.

For Russia, "price gains are more valuable than volume gains - how much can you really pump more from last year's peak production level?" he said.

Brent crude was up 35 cents at $56.15 a barrel by 1000 GMT. His Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, said new horizons had opened for Russia-Saudi ties that he could not previously have imagined.

A joint investment forum will be held in the framework of the visit of the Saudi King Salman to Moscow.

"We aim to strengthen our relations in the interests of peace and security, in the interests of developing the world economy", the Saudi king responded, according to AFP news agency.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Al Arabiya TV this week that the two sides plan to launch a $1 billion fund to invest in energy projects, without giving further details.

Russian state nuclear company Rosatom has sent proposals to Saudi Arabia to build a nuclear power plant in the country, the company's head Alexei Likhachev said, according to TASS.

Aramco representatives have met officials of provincial governments including West Bengal and southern Andhra Pradesh to scout for investment opportunities, sources said.