In race for pole position, Volkswagen says vehicle sales up 4.3% in 2017

Volkswagen sold 10.7 million vehicles in 2017, 4.3 percent higher than the previous year, helped by strong gains in China, Europe and South America. (Reuters)
Updated 17 January 2018
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In race for pole position, Volkswagen says vehicle sales up 4.3% in 2017

FRANKFURT: Volkswagen (VW) reported a 4.3 percent rise in 2017 sales to 10.7 million vehicles, staying ahead of Toyota in the race to keep the title of world’s biggest carmaker although Renault-Nissan has forecast it would go top.
Last year’s sales by the German firm, which is still dealing with fallout from a scandal over rigged diesel emissions tests, were its highest ever, helped by strong gains in China, Europe and South America. Monthly sales in December rose 8.5 percent.
Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. said last month it expected 2017 sales to grow 2 percent to 10.35 million units worldwide across its Toyota, Lexus, Daihatsu and Hino brands. It said it would hit 10.50 million vehicles in 2018.
The Renault-Nissan alliance, which includes Mitsubishi Motors Corp, has yet to release combined sales volume figures but Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said in July it was headed for the top spot.
In 2016, VW was No. 1 with 10.3 million vehicle sales, Toyota was second with 10.2 million and Renault-Nissan was third with 9.96 million.
VW said December 2017 China sales jumped 17.8 percent to 460,100 vehicles, while monthly sales in Europe rose 3.1 percent, driven by Germany. US sales were down 5.2 percent.
Overall, carmakers saw European sales fall 4.8 percent in December from the same month a year ago due in part to one less working day, industry data showed on Wednesday.
VW has set aside about €25 billion to cover fines, lawsuits and vehicle repairs related to the diesel scandal.


Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar to help Islamabad save $3 billion a year

Updated 17 February 2019
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Saudi oil refinery in Gwadar to help Islamabad save $3 billion a year

  • The refinery would produce up to 300,000 barrels per day once completed
  • Saudi Arabia is also setting up reservoirs for liquified natural gas in Pakistan, says Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan expects to agree a deal to build an oil refinery and petrochemical complex at the Balochistani deep-sea Port of Gwadar, during the first state-level visit by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The deal will see Pakistan join with Saudi Aramco to build the facility, expected to cost $10 billion.

“We are working on feasibility studies for the establishment of the oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Gwadar, and will be ready to start by early 2020,” Pakistan’s Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan told Arab News on Thursday.

Once established, the project will help the South Asian nation cut its annual crude oil imports by up to $3 billion annually, in addition to creating thousands of job opportunities in the impoverished western province.

The country spends more than $16 billion each year on importing 26 million tons of petroleum products, including 800 million cubic feet of liquified natural gas (LNG) from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Gulf countries.

Khan claimed the refinery would produce up to 300,000 barrels per day once completed.

“The Saudi authorities have asked us to complete all the initial work on the project on a fast track, as they want to set it up as early as possible,” he said.

A Saudi technical team, including Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih, has visited Gwadar twice in recent months to examine the site for the refinery, getting briefings from Pakistani officials on security in the area near the border with Iran.

“We will ensure complete security for Saudi investments and people working on the project. A detailed security plan has already been chalked up with help of the security agencies,” Khan added.

Pakistan currently has five oil refineries, but they can only satisfy half of its annual demand. Islamabad and Riyadh have long maintained strong ties, with the latter repeatedly offering the former financial assistance. Last year, the Kingdom guaranteed Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year, and a further loan worth up to $3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports, to help stave off an economic crisis. The Islamic Republic also received $3 billion from the UAE to protect its foreign reserves.

Khan added that the Pakistani-Arab Refinery Co. (PARCO) was also setting up an oil refinery at Khalifa Point, near the city of Hub in Balochistan. 

“The work on this project is at an advanced stage. Land for it has been acquired and other formalities are being fulfilled,” he said.

Khan hopes the world’s perception of Pakistan will change upon completion of these deals, after years of war in the surrounding region. Exxon Mobil returned to Pakistan last month after 27 years, and started offshore drilling with $75 million of initial investments. 

“All results of the drilling are positive so far, and we expect huge oil and gas reserves to be discovered soon,” he said.

“More foreign companies are contacting us to invest in offshore drilling and exploration. Saudi Arabia is also setting up reservoirs for LNG in Pakistan. More Saudi investment will come to Pakistan with the passage of time.”