Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation may team up on LNG, nuclear and chemicals

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Oil prices rallied on Wednesday, shaking off earlier weakness as US crude stocks rose less than expected and Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said major oil producers would prefer tighter markets than end supply cuts too early.

"I think today you will also see a big announcement between Saudi Aramco and a major LNG project in Russia, but let's wait for the announcement", Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russian Direct Investment Fund, said in Riyadh ‪on Wednesday morning.

The move is aimed at strengthening energy ties between the two major oil producers.

Sources told Reuters previous year that Chinese state oil companies were willing to be cornerstone investors in the Aramco IPO, which could become the world's biggest, valuing the firm at up to $2 trillion and raising more than $100 billion.

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The Saudi energy ministry said on Wednesday that Saudi Aramco's crude output in March will be 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) below its February level while exports would be kept below 7 million bpd.

Last month, the chief of the Russian fund said that Russian pension funds were considering taking part in Aramco's IPO expected to take place in the second half of this year.

"We see significant interest to invest in the Aramco IPO from Russian Federation, from China, and we believe that this is very good for, once again, thinking jointly about oil".

Saudi officials have said the government plans to sell up to 5 percent of Aramco shares on one or more foreign exchanges in addition to Riyadh.

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Cooperation between sovereign funds of both countries reinforces each other and creates "fertile soil for better relationship broadly between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation", al-Falih said.

Oil prices were stable on Wednesday, supported by a statement that Saudi crude output would drop in March, healthy economic growth and on a weakening USA dollar.

In October, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced a $1 billion fund to invest in energy projects.

"Market volatility is a common concern for producers and consumers, and the Kingdom is committed to mitigating this volatility and moderating its negative impacts by responsibly meeting its pledges" under an OPEC-led supply cut deal.

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