Russia denies that energy deals with Saudi Arabia are a threat to the US

Key Points
  • Russia and Saudi Arabia are set to sign $3 billion in joint investments this week.
  • Russia also set to build a new plant in Saudi Arabia.
  • Sovereign wealth boss plays down effect of sanctions.
It's in US interests to have other countries work well with Russia: RDIF CEO

The chief executive of Russia's sovereign wealth fund has denied that forming closer energy ties with Saudi Arabia is about politically sidelining Washington.

Russia and Saudi Arabia are set to sign $3 billion in joint investments this week, according to the Financial Times. This includes a $1.1 billion agreement for Russian petrochemical company Sibur to build a plant in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to CNBC at the Russian Energy Week, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said a deepening of ties with Saudi businesses posed no threat to the U.S.

"Well, I think Russia and Saudi Arabia have lots of things in common. We want to diversify our economies away from oil and frankly, there was not much going on before.

"So, of course we are not talking about Russia being a substitute for the U.S. The U.S. will remain a key partner for Saudi Arabia for hundreds of years to come."

Russia/Saudi relationship has seen a dramatic improvement: RDIF CEO

Dmitriev also played down suggestions that working with new overseas investors was a sign that Western sanctions were hurting the Russian economy.

"We are indeed working a lot with Chinese, Asian and Middle Eastern investors and they are replacing lots of the capital that was coming in from Europe and the U.S.

"Frankly, the effect of sanctions have already been taken in by the market. We had good positive growth of 2 percent this year and, frankly, most companies just shrug those sanctions off because nothing in those sanctions precludes anyone investing in us (Russia)," he added.

Dmitriev said Russia believed that "sanity would prevail" and sanctions from the West would soon be removed.