Russia sees ‘solid foundation’ for extending oil alliance

Saudi Energy Minister Khaled Al-Faleh, left, and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak talk to the media during a meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC members in Jeddah on April 20. (AFP)
Updated 20 April 2018
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Russia sees ‘solid foundation’ for extending oil alliance

  • Russia is the world’s leading producer of crude oil, pumping around 11 million barrels per day
  • Saudi Energy Minister Khaled Al-Faleh said there was “consensus” forming among oil producers to extend cooperation on a long-term basis

JEDDAH: Russia said there was a “very solid foundation” for extending cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries at a meeting Friday of oil producers in Saudi Arabia.
Oil kingpin Saudi Arabia said a “consensus” was emerging for a long-term cooperation agreement.
“We have created a very solid foundation for cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC countries in the future even beyond the declaration of cooperation,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah.
He was referring to a cooperation agreement between the 14-member OPEC group and 10 non-OPEC producers, led by Russia, to cut oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day to reduce oversupply.
The deal — which is due to run out at the end of 2018 — has succeeded in reducing a global glut of oil and pushed prices to over $70 a barrel from less than $30 in January 2016.
“Both consumers and producers of oil are expecting us to retain this solidarity to ensure stability and growth of the market,” Novak said at the start of a ministerial committee meeting to assess the compliance with the cuts.
Russia is the world’s leading producer of crude oil, pumping around 11 million bpd and its approval of the alliance is crucial to its success.
Saudi Energy Minister Khaled Al-Faleh said there was “consensus” forming among oil producers to extend cooperation on a long-term basis.
“There will be an extended framework of cooperation ... There is a consensus emerging. We need to do that,” he told reporters ahead of the Jeddah meeting.
“We are at the stage of setting a long-term framework” beyond 2018, added Faleh, whose country is the world’s top crude exporter.
Although reports indicate that a significant portion of oil glut has been removed from the market, Faleh warned that more work needs to be done.
He said that the inventory levels were still higher than the normal average and “we have not seen the low season,” when demand for oil drops, he said.
Novak said that the production cuts agreement, which came into effect at the start of 2017, has removed some 300 million barrels of surplus crude from the market.


Once mighty US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

Updated 15 October 2018
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Once mighty US retailer Sears files for bankruptcy

  • Sears had been drowning in debt and reportedly could not afford a $134 million repayment
  • Started in 1886, the company was a pioneer of departmental stores that catered to everyone

WASHINGTON: Sears, the venerable US chain that once dominated the retail sector but had been in decline since the advent of the Amazon era, filed for bankruptcy Monday and announced it was closing almost 150 stores.
With a history that stretches back to 1886, the company was a pioneer of departmental stores that catered to everyone and by the mid-twentieth century had built a vast empire that stretched across North America.
But it has closed hundreds of outlets in recent years amid a retail shakeout caused in part by the rise of Amazon and other e-commerce players.
“The Company and certain of its subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York,” a statement by Sears Holdings Corporation said.
Sears had been drowning in debt and reportedly could not afford a $134 million repayment that had been due on Monday.
Edward S. Lampert, Chairman of Sears Holdings, said the insolvency filing would give the company the “flexibility to strengthen its balance sheet” and enable it to accelerate a strategic transformation.
The company said it intended to reorganize around a smaller store platform, a strategy it said would help save tens of thousands of jobs.
But it announced it would close 142 unprofitable stores near the end of the year, in addition to the previously announced closure of 46 stores by November.
While retaining his chairmanship, Lampert will step down as CEO, with the role handled by other senior executives as part of a new “Office of the CEO.”
Sears added it had received commitments for $300 million in debtor-in-possession financing and was negotiating for an additional $300 million.
Sears is far from the only brick-and-mortar outlet to fall by the wayside as more consumers do the bulk of their shopping online.
In March, iconic Toys “R” Us announced it was shuttering all of its US outlets while other big names such as Macy’s and JC Penney have also been forced to close numerous locations and lay off workers.
American shopping malls in turn have been forced to turn to a new generation of stores, food and entertainment including players that began online, as well as gyms and video game bars like Dave & Buster’s.