St Petersburg, (Russia): The state-backed Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) would welcome Saudi investments in Russia's largest oilfield services company Eurasia Drilling, RDIF Chief Executive Kirill Dmitriev told Reuters on Friday.
RDIF announced on Thursday it was acquiring a minority stake in the company in a consortium with a United Arab Emirates investment fund and Chinese partners.
"We would welcome the participation of Saudi partners in investments in Eurasia Drilling. We believe that if this company began working in Saudi Arabia, it would be a good example of cooperation," Dmitriev said on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Leading oil producers Russia and Saudi Arabia are increasing cooperation after helping to bring about a global deal to cut oil production, aimed at supporting the price of crude.
In 2015, Eurasia Drilling Co (EDC) delisted its shares from the London Stock Exchange after the collapse of a deal for the world's leading oilfield services provider Schlumberger NV to buy a stake in it. EDC is Russia's largest private oil services company.
Sources told Reuters in March that RCIF — set up by two government-backed investment vehicles, RDIF and China Investment Corp — was looking to team up with Mubadala to buy around 13-15 per cent of EDC's new shares.
Dmitriev said the fund and partners were buying a minority stake, but declined to provide details. He said the fund would likely remain an investor in EDC within the next five to seven years and aimed to help the company develop in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia will consider investing in Eurasia Drilling, the TASS news agency cited Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih as saying on Friday.
Falih also told TASS that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund, and RDIF planned to create a joint fund to invest in the energy sector, buying into existing assets and helping Russia to invest in Saudi Arabia.
This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who oversees defence and energy.
Dmitriev said that during the visit, the crown prince's delegation had talks with a large number of Russian companies that were interested in investing in Saudi Arabia.
"I think that already this year, we will see examples of Russian companies that will receive important contracts in Saudi Arabia," Dmitriev told Reuters.