Saudi Arabia is ‘flexible’ on Russian idea to extend oil cuts to end of 2018

Updated 06 October 2017
0

Saudi Arabia is ‘flexible’ on Russian idea to extend oil cuts to end of 2018

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia made no firm pledge on Thursday to extend a deal between OPEC, Russia and other producers on cutting supplies but said it was “flexible” regarding Moscow’s suggestion to prolong the pact until the end of 2018.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih was speaking in a television interview a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the supply reduction deal that is due to expire in March could run to the end of next year.
“In the kingdom, we have to keep all options open, President Putin agreed with us on this and expressed his readiness to extend until the end of 2018 if this is agreed, and if this is the best option,” Al-Falih told Al Arabiya television.
He said he welcomed the “flexibility” shown by Russia on the issue and said the Saudi government aimed to “be flexible in leading the producing countries in and outside of OPEC to a consensus that takes the market to where we want it to be.”
Saudi Arabia and Russia helped secure a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 rival suppliers to cut output until the end of March 2018 in an effort to reduce a glut.
Oil rose above $56 a barrel on Thursday, supported by expectations of an extension to the supply cut pact. But prices are still half their mid-2014 levels.
Climbing US shale production has kept a lid on price gains, but Falih said inventories were still falling.
“Shale coming in and happening again in 2018 doesn’t bother me at all. The market can absorb it,” Al-Falih said, speaking alongside Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on a panel at an energy forum in Moscow.
“We have seen a steady reduction in inventories. We see as we enter the fourth quarter that supply is less than demand and inventories are declining around the world,” Al-Falih said.
Novak said he was satisfied with oil prices and Moscow would welcome other producers joining the deal to curb output.
Al-Falih said this week’s visit by King Salman to Russia, the first by a Saudi monarch, showed the high level of mutual trust between the world’s two biggest oil producers.
The two nations would continue working to stabilize the market, Salman told Putin. The king also said there were opportunities to expand economic cooperation with Russia.
Al-Falih echoed these comments, saying: “I see huge opportunities in front of our countries and for the business sector in both nations.”
A slew of investment agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are due to be signed during the king’s trip. Plans for a $1 billion joint fund to invest in energy projects are also expected to be finalized.
Al-Falih said MoUs would be signed with Russia’s state nuclear agency Rosatom for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, alongside other deals for military industries and marine development.


126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj 2018

Bangladeshi Hajj pilgrims arrive at Jeddah airport. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2018
0

126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj 2018

  • Bangladeshi pilgrims were in a good condition and everything, from accommodation to treatment, was going well

DHAKA: The last Hajj flights from Bangladesh will leave for Saudi Arabia this morning.
About 125,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims have already reached the holy city Makkah, on special flights operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines
(Saudia).
The two operators will take the last batch of 1,400 pilgrims from Hazarat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, after which the Hajj flights will be closed until Aug. 27.
The Bangladesh government has made extensive efforts to cooperate with the Kingdom in arranging travel plans for pilgrims, said officials in Dhaka.
“Our Ministry of Religious Affairs is highly concerned about the well-being of the pilgrims,” Saiful Islam, director of the Hajj Office in Dhaka, told Arab News.
“About 250 Bangladesh officials, including the staff of the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia, have been deployed at places that the pilgrims will visit while performing the rituals of Hajj,” he told Arab News.
Most of the staff of the Religious Affairs Ministry have been sent to Saudi Arabia to assist Bangladeshi pilgrims and provide them with emergency support, Islam said.
“Three medical camps have been established in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah with 30 doctors and nurses to cater to pilgrims’ medical needs. In case of emergency, arrangements have been made to move a pilgrim in critical condition to specialized local hospitals,” he added.
“This year, so far, everything is under control and running very smoothly,” said M. Shahadat Hossain Taslim, secretary-general of the Hajj Agencies Association of Banglaesh (HAAB).
Speaking to Arab News from Makkah, Taslim expressed his gratitude to the Hajj Ministry of Saudi Arabia for its “better Hajj management this year.”
“Last year, many Bangladeshi pilgrims faced difficulty due to lack of transport in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah,” he said. “But this year, we have addressed the issue well ahead of time and are not facing any problem in this regard.”
Bangladeshi pilgrims were in a good condition and everything, from accommodation to treatment, was going well, he added.
A total of 126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj this year.
The Hajj flights from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia will be closed after Friday and resume on Aug. 27 to bring the pilgrims back home.