Saudi Oil Minister Holds Talks With US Energy Deputy


KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi met U.S. Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall on Tuesday in Riyadh where they discussed oil markets, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

SPA gave no specific details about the meeting in a brief statement but said the officials looked into cooperation on energy and environmental issues, climate change, solar energy use and mutual investments.

A U.S. energy department spokesman said in addition to those areas, the two officials discussed global oil markets.

The trip was Sherwood-Randall's first as deputy energy secretary.

"She chose to make her first visit to Saudi Arabia given our strategic partnership and our shared interest in continuing the close cooperation between our two governments on a range of energy issues," the energy department spokesperson said.

U.S. crude hit a near six-year low of $44.20 on Tuesday.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro is in Algeria on a diplomatic push to persuade reluctant fellow members of OPEC to prop up a sinking market by cutting output.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC's dominant member state and the world's biggest oil exporter, has repeatedly said the group will not cut production.

On Tuesday, United Arab Emirates Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui stood by OPEC's decision to keep production unchanged.

Mazroui showed no sign of backing down from OPEC's insistence that other producers, particularly the U.S. shale oil drillers which it blames for oversupplying the market, reduce their output.

(Reporting by Reem Shamseddine; additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Editing by Ruth Pitchford, Bernard Orr)


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