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Saudis skeptical about Russia's oil production prospects

Saudi Arabia's projection that Russian oil production will dwindle significantly triggered a backlash in Moscow, which says it has options up its sleeve that will prove Riyadh wrong.
Participants, including Russian President Vladimir Putin (4th R) and Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih (3rd L), attend a session of the Russian Energy Week international forum in Moscow, Russia October 3, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC111436C470

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated in a recent interview with Bloomberg that within the next 19 years, Russia’s role in the oil market might substantially decrease. He even suggested Moscow might stop exporting oil. At the same time, Prince Mohammed praised his own kingdom's supply of hydrocarbon resources, which he said will keep Saudi Arabia a top market player for decades to come.

Unsurprisingly, Prince Mohammed's Oct. 5 interview caused a negative reaction in Russia. Russian officials, supported by a large number of experts, criticized the Saudi prince for what they said is an excessively gloomy prediction. They agree there are some problems in the country’s oil sector, but say they're manageable. On Oct. 9, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak declared, "Russia is a leader of the global oil industry and, from the long-term perspective, it will retain this status. Our strategy is to keep oil production at the current level" and perhaps even increase it slightly.

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