Saudi tankers ship oil again in Bab Al-Mandeb

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General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in eastern Saudi Arabia. (REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo)
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The Kingdom had temporarily stopped moving crude through the strait on July 25 after attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen on two oil tankers sent shockwaves through global energy markets. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 05 August 2018
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Saudi tankers ship oil again in Bab Al-Mandeb

  • Coalition takes ‘necessary measures’ to secure key Red Sea waterway
  • After Saudi Arabia halted shipments, the Houthis said they would also halt attacks in the Red Sea for two weeks to support peace efforts

DUBAI/LONDON:  Saudi Arabia has resumed oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab Al-Mandeb.

The Kingdom had temporarily stopped moving crude through the strait on July 25 after attacks by Houthi militias in Yemen on two oil tankers sent shockwaves through global energy markets.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said: “The decision to resume oil shipment through the strait of Bab Al-Mandeb was made after the leadership of the coalition has taken necessary measures to protect the coalition states’ ships.”

The measures were taken “in co-ordination with the international community,” the minister said. 

Saudi Aramco also confirmed that shipping had resumed, effective immediately. “The company is careful to continue monitoring and evaluating the current situation in coordination with the relevant bodies and take all necessary procedures to ensure safety,” it said.

Saudi Arabia leads an Arab coalition against the Houthis to restore Yemen’s legitimate government, but the attacks on the tankers were the first time the conflict threatened to disrupt energy markets.

Houthis’ weapons hunt

The Bab Al-Mandeb strait is a narrow waterway connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden in the Arabian Sea. 

After Saudi Arabia halted shipments, the Houthis said they would also halt attacks in the Red Sea for two weeks to support peace efforts.

The resumption of shipments through the waterway is good news for both consumers and oil companies who until now had been pondering the impact of either paying higher insurance premiums to use the channel or re-route exports around Africa.

Meanwhile, North Korea supplied weapons including ballistic missiles to the Houthis after a deal reached in Damascus in 2016, according to a report by a UN investigation team.

The report said Syrian arms trafficker Hussein Al-Ali offered “a range of conventional arms, and in some cases ballistic missiles to armed groups in Yemen and Libya.”


SoftBank to launch Vision Fund 2 mega-venture

Updated 14 min 6 sec ago
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SoftBank to launch Vision Fund 2 mega-venture

  • Vision Fund 2 will aim to pull in existing investors such as the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia and Mubadala in the UAE
  • Vision Fund 2 is expected to at least equal the original fund’s $97 billion fund, and could reach $150 billion

LONDON: The global mega-investor SoftBank Vision Fund is preparing to launch another giant investment venture.
Vision Fund 2 will aim to pull in existing investors such as the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia and Mubadala in the UAE, the biggest investors in the original fund along with SoftBank, the Japanese group run by Masayoshi Son.
Sources told Arab News that Vision Fund 2 is expected to at least equal the original fund’s $97 billion fund, and could reach $150 billion — which would make it the largest private investment fund in history.
A team from SoftBank Investment Advisers led by its chief executive Rajeev Misra and Masayoshi Son have been in preliminary discussions with potential investors for several months.
They have been talking to sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as big global corporates, some of which were also investors in the first fund.

*** Read our full interview with CEO Rajeev Misra here: SoftBank Vision Fund stands shoulder to shoulder with Saudi Arabia — CEO Rajeev Misra ***
Investment is also expected from global banks, insurance companies and pension funds, and SoftBank is expected to put up about $40 billion.
The first phase of the launch is due to end “in the next few months,” with a final close around 12 months later.
The original fund plans to return profits to existing investors over the next few months, including big partners such as PIF, Mubadala and SoftBank. If they see healthy returns they may be more likely to invest heavily in the new fund.
The interests of Saudi Arabia and the Vision Fund align as the Kingdom diversifies away from reliance on oil, Misra told Arab News. “Our commitment is to support the creation of tens of thousands of jobs in Saudi Arabia, high-tech jobs not blue collar, over the next few years,” he said.