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Saudi crown prince backs rollover of oil output cuts

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RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom supports extending a deal by oil producers to cut crude output beyond March next year.

“Of course,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg News published Thursday when asked if Riyadh will back an extension of the deal struck by OPEC and non-OPEC producers a year ago.

“We need to continue stabilising the market,” he said in the interview given on the sidelines of a three-day investment summit in the Saudi capital.

Oil producers led by OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC heavyweight Russia have already extended the original six-month deal by an additional nine months until the end of March.

The agreement to trim daily production by 1.8 million barrels has effectively curbed an excess of crude supplies to global markets, helped reduce record-high inventory levels and boosted oil prices to near $60 a barrel.

Prince Mohammed said that extending the cuts would bring benefits for both OPEC and non-OPEC producers.

The crown prince, who oversees the economic affairs of the world’s top oil exporter, confirmed that the initial public offering for five percent of giant national oil company Aramco will be carried out next year.

“We are on the right track,” he said of the IPO, which represents the cornerstone of the Vision 2030 reform package to reduce the country’s dependence on oil income.

“We don’t have any problems, we have a lot of work and a lot of decisions and there are a lot of things that will be announced,” he said.

Doubts have been raised in recent weeks about the viability of the IPO, expected to be the largest in history and which would generate around $100 billion based on a valuation of $2 trillion for Aramco.

Prince Mohammed also said the kingdom is in talks with the world’s biggest companies to develop technologies into the proposed mega economic zone called NEOM with investments worth $500 billion.

He said those companies include Amazon, Alibaba and Airbus.

“We are talking with everyone … We have the ‘who’s who’ from around the world engaging in this.” – Agencies

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