Saudi Arabia says dispute with Canada will not affect global crude supplies
The kingdom has criticised comments by a Canadian Foreign Minister as an intervention in its internal affairs
Saudi Arabia reassured its customers globally that the kingdom’s petroleum supplies to them "will not be impacted by political considerations".
"This is a firm and long-standing policy," Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency on Thursday.
His comments come in the wake of souring relations between the kingdom and Canada. The diplomatic row between the two countries started after the Canadian Foreign Minister criticised the kingdom’s detention of activists and demanded their immediate release.
Saudi Arabia said the detentions were unrelated to the individuals’ work and are related to separate crimes.
The kingdom has criticised the comments as an intervention in its internal affairs.
The UAE and the Arab league said they stand with Saudi Arabia and reject any interference in the domestic affairs of the country. Mr Al Falih said the dispute will not “in any way” impact state-owned Saudi Aramco’s ties with its customers in the country.
Saudi Arabia supplies around 70,000 barrels of oil a day to Canada, which is equivalent to around 11 per cent of the country’s total oil imports in 2014, according to the Canadian energy ministry’s figures.
Saudi exports to Canada last year reached C$2.6 billion (Dh7.32bn), accounting for 0.5 per cent of the country’s total imports, while Canadian exports to the kingdom stood at C$1.45bn. Most of the exports to Canada are oil and its by-products.
On Wednesday, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said there would be no negotiation with Canada until it takes back its critical comments. The minister's statement came just days after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Ottawa and the national airline said it was halting all flights to Toronto and refunding cancelled tickets.
Riyadh has also recalled 12,000 students from Canada and all medical tourists in the country, saying that every measure will be taken to relocate them. The kingdom is freezing any new investments in Canada, but said that existing projects could continue undisturbed.
On Wednesday, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter, the Financial Times reported the Saudi Arabian central bank and state pension funds have instructed their overseas asset managers to sell their Canadian equities, bonds and cash holdings.
The newspaper’s report caused the Canadian dollar to lose as much as 0.5 per cent to C$1.3120 per US dollar on the day.
Canada has called on the United Kingdom and UAE to help mediate the issue with Saudi Arabia, Reuters news agency reported.
Updated: August 9, 2018 08:12 PM