RIYADH: Russia-Saudi relations “as warm as the weather in Riyadh”, the Kingdom’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told media on Thursday after attending a meeting in Russia with the country’s deputy prime minister.

The meeting between Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Novak lasted for more than an hour.

The Prince made a surprise appearance at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum while not being listed on an official schedule.

Russia could continue cooperating within the OPEC+ oil production agreement beyond 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said, after a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.

Russia could continue to cooperate with OPEC+ even after the current deal expires at the end of this year, Novak said.

“Everything will depend on the market situation — whether it will require any quotas or it will be a charter-based cooperation,” he said. “It will be clear by year-end.”

Novak said the meeting was an important one, and the officials discussed oil prices and balance forecasts.

Asked whether OPEC+ partners are complaining about Russian underproduction, Novak told reporters after the meeting: “We see the current situation (on the global oil market) as balanced despite some uncertainties.”

He said the oil market was balanced, but there were still lots of uncertainties.

The high-profile meeting comes as Russia is pumping less oil than it current OPEC+ quota calls for after Western sanctions saw some buyers either refuse or delay taking Russian barrels.

Russia’s crude oil production rose to 9.273 million barrels per day in May from 9.159 million bpd in April, an OPEC+ document showed on Thursday, and Novak promised to add more next month as Moscow finds strong demand from India and China.

Still, Russia was producing 1.2 million bpd less last month than its quota of 10.55 million bpd called for, prompting speculation that Moscow might be suspended from the pact.