White House sidesteps questions about Saudi Arabia's oil stance

The White House on Friday sidestepped questions on whether they anticipated Saudi Arabia’s energy policies to change after the death of King Abdullah.

“I wouldn't want to speculate about any sort of decisions that the Saudi government will have to make along these lines,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “But these and other issues are among the priorities with which we closely coordinate with our partners in Saudi Arabia.”

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Oil prices spiked as much as 3 percent Friday, but still remained at their lowest point since 2008.

Expectations are that Crown Prince Salman will largely retain the energy policies of his older brother, and he has already announced his intention to retain the same ministers — including Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi. 

Last year, Al-Naimi convinced the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain production levels despite declining oil prices.

Earnest said President Obama had not yet had an opportunity to speak with Salman, but said he would in the coming days.

“The president certainly hopes, and we expect, that the strong relationship that exists between the United States and Saudi Arabia will endure under the leadership of the new king,” Earnest said.

The White House spokesman also echoed a statement from the president issued Thursday praising Abdullah, saying he and Obama shared “a genuinely close and warm friendship.”