U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is set to counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Russia starting on Monday, sources familiar with the matter said, as the Trump administration encourages oil-producing countries to keep output up two months before renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran's crude exports go into effect.
Perry will meet in Moscow with Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak, the sources said. Perry would be the most-senior U.S. official to visit Russia since the Helsinki summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki in July.
The Kommersant newspaper reported that the two ministers plan to discuss Russia's Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline project to carry Russian gas under the Baltic to Germany.
The United States, Poland, the Baltic states, and several other EU countries have expressed concern about Nord Stream 2 -- which avoids existing gas pipelines through Ukraine -- and the added leverage on energy security it could give Moscow.
Putin has defended the pipeline project, saying Russia is the most suitable supplier of energy for Europe.
Before traveling to Moscow, Perry is scheduled to meet Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, and other Saudi officials in Washington on September 10.