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Japan discussed possible oil output increase with Saudi Arabia

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday, said he discussed a possible increase in crude oil output with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Kishida told reporters after in his telephone call with the Crown Prince, he also delivered his high expectations for Saudi Arabia’s leadership to stabilise the crude oil market, and agreed to cooperate on the Ukraine crisis.

Earlier, United States and Britain were ramping up pressure on Saudi Arabia to pump more oil and join efforts to isolate Russia, while Riyadh had shown little readiness to respond and had revived a threat to ditch dollars in its oil sales to China.

Saudi Arabia and its neighbour, the United Arab Emirates, which were among just a handful of producers with spare capacity, had snubbed Western calls for more crude to cool red-hot prices and had stuck to an OPEC+ supply pact with Russia and others.

With U.S-Saudi relations at a low point, MbS had responded by strengthening ties with Russia and China, though the kingdom still had close security ties with Washington.

McGurk and other U.S. officials met senior Saudi officials on Tuesday, pressing them to pump more oil and find a political solution to end the war in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces were battling the Iran-backed Houthi group, two sources said.

A senior U.S. administration official said McGurk was in the Middle East “discussing a wide range of issues, including Yemen”, but declined to elaborate.

The British prime minister, meanwhile, described Saudi Arabia and the UAE as “key international partners” in the effort to wean the world off Russian hydrocarbons and put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin after Moscow invaded Ukraine.

The Saudi government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the U.S. and British visits.

For now, Saudi Arabia had shown no sign of abandoning an oil supply pact forged between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, including Russia, which had seen the group known as OPEC+ hiking oil output only gradually.

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