Saudi to supply full crude contract volumes to Asia

An oil tank is seen at the Saudi Aramco headquarters in this file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 09 March 2017
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Saudi to supply full crude contract volumes to Asia

TOKYO: Saudi Aramco will supply full contract volumes of crude oil to multiple Asian buyers in April, three industry sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Despite commitments to cut production in an OPEC deal, Saudi Aramco had agreed to supply at least one customer in Asia with incremental crude on top of contracted volumes next month, as it holds to a strategy of maintaining market share in the fastest-growing market, one of the sources said.
Saudi Arabia led a pact between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other major producers, including Russia, Mexico and Kazakhstan, to cut global crude output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1, and bring supply closer to demand.
The Kingdom had cut beyond the level pledged in the agreement and brought its output below 10 million bpd, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Tuesday. Suppliers participating in the curbs have cut more than 1.5 million bpd, he said, exceeding what he called the market’s low expectations.
While supplies to Asia have been little changed, Saudi Aramco has been cutting supplies to some major oil companies in Europe and the US, industry sources have said. Nearly half of Saudi crude production is exported to Asia.


Mideast plays key role in Chinese export of armed drones, report says

Updated 17 December 2018
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Mideast plays key role in Chinese export of armed drones, report says

  • China has exploited America’s selective drone export policy to become an increasingly influential player in meeting demand
  • The report is entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region”

BEIRUT: The use of armed drones in the Middle East, driven largely by sales from China, has grown significantly in the past few years with an increasing number of countries and other parties using them in regional conflicts to lethal effects, a new report said Monday.
The report by the Royal United Services Institute, or RUSI, found that more and more Mideast countries have acquired armed drones, either by importing them, such as Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or by building them domestically like Israel, Iran and Turkey.
China has won sales in the Middle East and elsewhere by offering drones — otherwise known as UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles — at lower prices and without the political conditions attached by the United States.
The report , entitled “Armed Drones in the Middle East: Proliferation and Norms in the Region,” said that by capitalizing on the gap in the market over the past few years, Beijing has supplied armed drones to several countries that are not authorized to purchase them from the US, and at a dramatically cheaper price.
“China, a no-questions-asked exporter of drones, has played and is likely to continue playing a key role as a supplier of armed UAVs to the Middle East,” it said.
The report explored where and how each of the states have used their armed drones and whether they have changed the way these countries approach air power. It found that Iran, the UAE and Turkey all changed the way they employ airpower after they acquired armed drones.
For Turkey and the UAE, armed drones enabled them to conduct strikes in situations where they would not have risked using conventional aircraft, it said. Iran developed armed drones from the outset specifically to enable to project power beyond the reach of its air force, which is hamstrung by obsolete aircraft and sanctions, the report added.
The report said it remains to be seen whether and how the loosening of restrictions on the exportation of armed drones by the Trump administration will alter dynamics in the region.
“Nonetheless, proliferation in armed UAVs in the Middle East is unlikely to stop and could, in fact, even accelerate,” the report said.