Chevron resumes shale work in Romania

Updated 08 December 2013

Chevron resumes shale work in Romania

PUNGESTI, Romania: Chevron said it has resumed activities to build its first shale gas exploration well in Romania, a day after protests forced the US energy giant to suspend work.
“Chevron can confirm that it has resumed activities in Pungesti commune,” in northeastern Romania, the company said in a statement.
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters, mainly villagers from Pungesti, broke through wire mesh fences around Chevron’s site to protest against its plans to drill for shale gas.
Chevron was forced to suspend its activities for the second time in this rural Romanian village where nonstop protests have been staged for more than six weeks.
Residents oppose the highly controversial drilling technique used to extract shale gas known as “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking”.
Widely used in some US states such as Pennsylvania and North Dakota, it has been banned in France and Bulgaria because of the risks of water and air pollution.
A study this year by Duke University in the US state of North Carolina showed that fracking increases the risk of contaminated drinking water.
Across Romania, thousands have taken to the streets to protest against shale gas over the past three months.
Last Monday, Romanian riot police forcibly removed protesters from a makeshift camp next to Chevron’s drilling site in Pungesti.
Greenpeace slammed the operation as “a serious abuse against the freedom of expression”.


Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres bucks retail malaise as profits surge

Updated 21 August 2019

Saudi mall operator Arabian Centres bucks retail malaise as profits surge

  • Mall operator defies online shopping pressure by lowering discounts to tenants, boosting occupancy and rental revenues

LONDON: Arabian Centres, the Saudi mall operator which went public in May, said first-quarter consolidated net profit almost trebled to SR227 million ($60.53 million) as occupancy edged higher across its shopping centers. Revenues increased by about 2.5 percent over the year to SR572.5 million.

The results helped to propel the group’s shares 3 percent higher on Tuesday.

The group said that it boosted performance by offering lower discounts to its tenants which helped to drive rental revenues. Like-for-like occupancy across all malls increased  to 93.2 percent from 92.4 percent in the year earlier period. Finance costs fell by about 65 percent from a year earlier to SR73.9 million.

FASTFACT

 

27 - Arabian Centres plans to expand its mall portfolio to 27 within four years.

Retailers across the Middle East are coming under increased pressure as more consumers shop online, while at the same time, tourists are spending less in dollar-pegged economies because their purchasing power has been cut by the strength of the greenback. Still, in Saudi Arabia, the under-served retail market is expected to receive a boost from rising investment in the entertainment sector, especially new cinemas.

“Faced with the rising challenge of online shopping, the brick-and-mortar retail segment has sought to diversify its offering to secure its customer base, providing an increased range of leisure and entertainment facilities,” said Oxford Business Group, in a report analyzing emerging trends in the Saudi retail sector.

“The reintroduction of cinemas to the Kingdom in April last year ... is expected to increase retail footfall,” it said.

Arabian Centres, majority-owned by Fawaz Alhokair Group, listed its shares on the Tadawul stock exchange in May — the first to do so in the Kingdom under Rule 144a, allowing the sale of securities, mainly to qualified institutional buyers in the US.

The group aims to expand to 27 malls within four years.