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S/Arabia Defies Price Drop With Bullish Budget

Saudi Arabia is continuing with its investments in the oil and gas industry as well as solar energy despite the current drop in oil prices.

The kingdom’s oil minister, Ali Niami, stated Friday that “Since the 1970s this industry has been experiencing sharp fluctuations in prices – up and down – which have impacted investments in the field of oil and energy, and its continuity.”

Ali al-Naimi was speaking at the G20 Energy Ministers’ meeting in Istanbul, according to state news agency SPA.

“This volatile situation is not in the interest of the producing and consuming countries, and the G20 countries can contribute to the stability of the market.”

Oil fell on Friday, reversing earlier gains after U.S. non-farm payrolls data came in weaker than expected which clouded the demand outlook from the world’s largest oil consumer.

Oil prices have almost halved in the past year because of excess supply, although analysts see signs that OPEC’s strategy of allowing prices to fall to put a squeeze on growth in high-cost production areas is having some impact.

International oil companies have significantly lowered spending this year due to persistently low oil prices, cutting budgets and thousands of jobs.

Global oil investments this year are expected to drop by 20 percent marking their biggest decline in history, Fatih Birol, head of the International Energy Agency, said on Friday.

Naimi said Saudi Arabia’s investments should continue in exploration, production, refining as well as other alternative sources such as solar energy, SPA reported.

The world needs clean, continuous and available energy now and for future generations, he said.Naimi met with his U.S., Russian and Indonesian counterparts in Istanbul, where they discussed bilateral relations in the field of petroleum and protecting the environment, SPA reported.

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