Saudi to host G20 energy ministers' meeting on Friday

Riyadh (AFP) –


Saudi Arabia will host a virtual meeting Friday of energy ministers from the Group of 20 major economies in a bid to ensure "market stability" amid a coronavirus-led slump in crude prices.

The video call will follow an emergency meeting on Thursday of OPEC and other oil producers to address the virus-sapped demand for crude and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

"The Saudi G20 presidency will hold an extraordinary G20 energy ministers' virtual meeting on Friday... to foster global dialogue and cooperation to ensure stable energy markets," said a statement released Tuesday by the Saudi hosts.

"The G20 energy ministers will also act, alongside invited countries, and regional and international organisations, to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the energy markets."

Crude oil prices collapsed to 18-year lows last week owing to a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, which have ramped up output despite weak demand.

The global markets will closely watch whether OPEC and other major producers led by Russia reach an agreement to reduce oversupply in talks on Thursday.

Ten oil producing nations from outside the wider OPEC+ alliance including the United States have been invited to the meeting, Russian news agency TASS reported Tuesday.

The meeting will come a week after US President Donald Trump claimed that leading producers Russia and Saudi Arabia will slash output to boost tumbling prices.