RIYAADH: Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that he expect global oil stocks to fall by the end of the first quarter, added that the market was still affected by political and economic factors as well as speculation.
“Our focus remains on fundamentals, I can tell you that we will achieve a supply and demand balance in 2019.”
Oil steadied on Wednesday after one of its biggest declines for years but remained under pressure from oversupply and concern that the global economy will slow down demand for fuel.
OPEC members and non-OPEC producers, including Russia, are committed to reducing stockpiles under the Vienna agreement on Dec. 7, he said, adding supplies had already begun to fall in the past few weeks.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other oil producers agreed this month to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd), more than 1 percent of world demand, in an effort to dispose of stocks and boost prices.
Al-Falih said the US-China trade war would not affect Saudi Arabia’s relations with Beijing.
Al-Faleh said earlier on Wednesday that the Saudi oil giant Saudi Aramco would double gas production and availability over the next 10 years.
In terms of renewable energy projects, Al-Falih said Saudi Arabia is implementing an agreement with the Vision Group of the Softbank Group to provide 200 gigawatts of solar energy in the Kingdom.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has agreed to invest $ 45 billion in the technology fund led by Softbank and is working with others on a number of solar projects.
Saudi Arabia is embarking on plans to transform its economy and reduce its dependence on oil. The Kingdom is looking at solar energy as a way to reduce the amount of crude used to generate electricity inside and then increase the volume of exports.
The government also wants to privatize the Saudi Electricity Company as part of broader reforms to its energy sector.