UAE sees only ‘moderate’ rise in shale output

Suhail Al-Mazrouei, pictured here in Kuwait, says that Abu Dhabi had invested 400 billion dirhams in its oil industry. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2017
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UAE sees only ‘moderate’ rise in shale output

ABU DHABI: The UAE expects only a “moderate” increase in output from US shale oil producers next year, even if oil prices maintain their steady upward trend.
Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the Emirates’ minster for energy, told an audience at the Bloomberg Invest Abu Dhabi event in the UAE capital that he had been “positively surprised” that growth in US shale output has been relatively low this year, despite the crude oil price hitting the $60 per barrel amount most experts regard as the economic level for profitable shale production.
“Growth in shale has not been as fast as expected, and I think it will also be moderate next year. I think the shale producers have in the past concentrated on the ‘sweet spots’ — reservoirs where it’s cheap and easy to get oil. But the new reservoirs are not as easy, and the costs are higher,” he said.
“So while I think shale oil production will increase, I don’t think it will rise enough to offset the production limits agreed under the OPEC deal, combined with the increase in global demand for oil. We were surprised by the growth in demand in 2017, and I think next year will also be healthy,” he added.
Al-Mazrouei said that Abu Dhabi had invested 400 billion dirhams ($109 billion) in its oil industry, making it one of the most efficient in the world. “I’m sometimes asked if we can compete against the low-cost producers, but we are one of the lowest-cost producers and that will continue.”
He said that at the recent OPEC meeting in Vienna, “a group of responsible nations came up with a production cut to manage the glut of oil and reduce inventories. OPEC will continue to be a responsible market balancer for oil supplies.”
Waleed Al-Muhairi, who is chief executive of alternative investments for the Mubadala Investment Company, told the gathering that it had invested in 16 technology firms as part of its $15 billion investment in the SoftBank Vision Fund, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is also a leading investor. He said the investments had been in the sectors of artificial intelligence, robotics, and agricultural technology, including what he described as “vertical farming,” a high-tech form of agriculture that he said was more efficient than farming “in the ground.”
Mubadala is to open an office in San Francisco to be near to investment prospects in America’s technology heartland.
Mohamed Jameel Al-Ramahi, chief executive of the Masdar alternative energy business, said that he was considering big investments in Saudi Arabia, including in the solar panel business.
“It’s clear that Saudi Arabia, as the biggest economy in the region, is a very important market and they are committed to renewables. We are also committed to that market,” he said.


Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

Updated 23 September 2018
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Porsche first German carmaker to abandon diesel engines

  • The company would concentrate on its core strength, ‘powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles’
  • But Porsche promised it would keep servicing diesel models on the road now

BERLIN: Sports car maker Porsche said Sunday it would become the first German auto giant to abandon the diesel engine, reacting to parent company Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal and resulting urban driving bans.
“There won’t be any Porsche diesels in the future,” CEO Oliver Blume told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Instead, the company would concentrate on what he called its core strength, “powerful petrol, hybrid and, from 2019, purely electric vehicles.”
The Porsche chief conceded the step was a result of the three-year-old “dieselgate” scandal at auto giant Volkswagen, the group to which the luxury sports car brand belongs.
VW in 2015 admitted to US regulators to having installed so-called “defeat devices” in 11 million cars worldwide to dupe emissions tests.
It has so far paid out more than €27 billion in fines, vehicle buybacks, recalls and legal costs and remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.
Diesel car sales have dropped sharply as several German cities have banned them to bring down air pollution — a trend that Chancellor Angela Merkel was due to discuss with car company chiefs in Berlin later Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Porsche in February stopped taking orders for diesel models, which it had sold for nearly a decade.
Blume said Porsche had “never developed and produced diesel engines,” having used Audi motors, yet the image of the brand had suffered.
“The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” he said, months after Germany’s Federal Transport Authority ordered the recall of nearly 60,000 Porsche SUVs in Europe.
Blume promised that the company would keep servicing diesel models on the road now.
According to the paper, Porsche also faces claims of having manipulated engines to produce a more powerful sound with a technique that was deactivated during testing.
Blume acknowledged that German regulators had found irregularities in the 8-cylinder Cayenne EU5, affecting some 13,500 units.
Merkel, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and heads of German auto companies were due to meet in Berlin later Sunday to discuss steps to avoid more city driving bans.
The German government hopes to see one million fully electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2022, up from fewer than 100,000 at the start of this year.