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Saudi prince talks oil market stability with U.S.

Riyadh in the past suspected of working to keep production high to sideline U.S. shale.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Saudi prince talks oil market stability with U.S.
Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman speaks with Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on June 16, 2016. The two leaders met to discuss matters of mutual importance. Photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz/DoD/UPI

NEW YORK, June 23 (UPI) -- Joint efforts needed to ensure stability in the global oil market were reviewed between Saudi and U.S. officials, the Saudi government's press agency said.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is in Washington this week to meet with officials ranging from House Speaker Paul Ryan, President Barack Obama and members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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The official Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday the crown prince met with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in New York.

"During the meeting, they discussed cooperation between the two countries in a number of fields, including research, technology, energy efficiencies, computing and renewable energy," the press agency reported. "They also discussed the current situation in the oil market and supporting joint efforts for the stability of the energy markets and the supply of energy to world markets in a sustainable manner."

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The Saudi Cabinet of Ministers agreed early this year to communicate with major oil producers in a way that would reduce fluctuations in crude oil prices. As the de facto leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, and the group's largest producer, Saudi Arabia had in the past worked to protect a market share in an era when U.S. crude oil production was rivaling the kingdom's.

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OPEC members earlier this year suggested freezing production at January levels in an effort to influence a market that at the time was skewed heavily toward the supply side. That proposal collapsed after Iran, one of Riyadh's main adversaries, said it wanted to regain a market share lost to sanctions.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of over-producing in an effort to crimp output from U.S. shale oil basins. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported total U.S. crude oil production in May at 8.7 million barrels per day, a decline of about 200,000 bpd from April. U.S. crude oil production last year averaged 9.4 million bpd.

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