Oil rises after Saudi Arabia suspends shipments through Red Sea lane following attack

An oil tanker is being loaded at Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 26 July 2018
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Oil rises after Saudi Arabia suspends shipments through Red Sea lane following attack

  • An estimated 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products flowed through this waterway in 2016 toward Europe, the United States and Asia
  • US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 22 cents at $69.52 a barrel, after climbing more than 1 percent in the previous session

TOKYO: Brent crude led oil prices higher, extending gains into a third day after Saudi Arabia suspended crude shipments through a strategic Red Sea shipping lane and as data showed US inventories fell to a 3-1/2 year low.
Brent crude futures had risen 66 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $74.59 a barrel by 0019 GMT, after gaining 0.7 percent on Wednesday.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 22 cents at $69.52 a barrel, after climbing more than 1 percent in the previous session.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, said on Thursday that it was “temporarily halting” all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab Al-Mandeb after an attack on two big oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement that the Houthis had attacked two Saudi Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) in the Red Sea on Wednesday morning, one of which sustained minimal damage.
“Saudi Arabia is temporarily halting all oil shipments through Bab Al-Mandeb Strait immediately until the situation becomes clearer and the maritime transit through Bab Al-Mandeb is safe,” the minister said.
Most exports from the Gulf that transit the Suez Canal and the SUMED Pipeline also pass through Bab Al-Mandeb strait.
An estimated 4.8 million barrels per day of crude oil and refined petroleum products flowed through this waterway in 2016 toward Europe, the United States and Asia, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
The Bab Al-Mandeb strait, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea, is only 20 km (12 miles) wide, making hundreds of ships potentially an easy target.
Prices were also supported by official data showing US crude oil inventories last week tumbled more than expected to their lowest level since 2015 as exports jumped and stocks at the Cushing hub dropped.
Crude inventories fell 6.1 million barrels in the week to July 20, compared with analyst expectations for a decrease of 2.3 million barrels, the EIA said on Wednesday.
At 404.9 million barrels, inventories, not including the nation’s emergency petroleum reserve, were at their lowest level since February 2015.


Malaysian court delays Goldman case on 1MDB fund theft

Updated 24 June 2019
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Malaysian court delays Goldman case on 1MDB fund theft

  • Malaysia filed criminal charges against three units and two ex-employees of the Wall Street titan in December
  • They are accused of misappropriating $2.7 billion and other crimes in relation to bond issues they arranged for 1MDB
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian case against Goldman Sachs on charges the US investment bank stole huge sums from the country’s 1MDB state fund was postponed Monday until September after defense lawyers argued there was a problem with paperwork.
Malaysia filed criminal charges against three units and two ex-employees of the Wall Street titan in December, accusing them of misappropriating $2.7 billion and other crimes in relation to bond issues they arranged for 1MDB.
Allegations that huge sums were looted from the investment vehicle — in a fraud that allegedly involved former Malaysian leader Najib Razak — contributed to the last government’s election defeat last year.
At a procedural hearing in Kuala Lumpur Monday, Goldman lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said the Hong Kong unit of the bank received its summons just last week, while the summons sent to the Singapore unit only included three out of four charges.
The third Goldman unit in the case is based in London.
He asked for three months to get further instructions from his clients, and the judge set September 30 for another procedural hearing.
Prosecutor Aaron Paul Chelliah told reporters that the prosecution believed all documents had been properly served.
“Their clients have some reservations on whether they were properly served,” he said. “Our position is they have been served.”
Goldman helped arranged bonds totaling $6.5 billion on three occasions for 1MDB, for which they earned fees said to be well above typical rates.
The bank and its former employees are accused of making false and misleading statements to misappropriate huge sums from the 2012 and 2013 bond issuances.
Goldman has vowed to fight the charges, saying the former Malaysian government and 1MDB lied to the bank.
The former bankers accused in the case are Tim Leissner and Ng Chong Hwa, and both have also been charged in the US over the scandal.
Leissner pleaded guilty in America, while Ng was extradited to the US from Malaysia in May and pleaded not guilty.