RIYADH (AFP) -The world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia on Wednesday assured East Asian consumers they can depend on the Middle East for continued and secure supplies of crude.
“I would like to assure you that the importing Asian nations can depend on West Asia for future security of oil supply,” Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi told the opening of an Asian ministerial energy roundtable in Riyadh.
“After all, the majority of world supply and reserves are concentrated in only a few countries, and most of them are represented at this roundtable,” the Saudi minister said at the one-day event.
Energy ministers from 17 Asian nations, including the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council states and major consumers like China, Japan, India and South Korea, are to take part.
The meeting will focus on studying the Asian energy outlook for supply and demand, and the energy and economic interdependence between East and West Asia, including investments in the oil sector.
A first such roundtable meeting was held two years ago in India.
“Our hydrocarbon link is very strong and very important to both sides. About two thirds of oil exports from West Asia go to East Asia, and about 70 percent of East Asian crude imports come from West Asia,” Nuaimi stressed.
The energy superpower’s oil minister called for dialogue between producers and suppliers of crude in Asia in a bid to boost cooperation.
“Together, we in West Asia and our partners in East Asia must strengthen the kind of dialogue we have today and enhance relations for further cooperation and interdependence,” he said.