Oil edges up on Saudi output cut and Iran sanctions

Saudi Arabia’s production cuts come in anticipation of a slowdown in oil demand. (Reuters)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Oil edges up on Saudi output cut and Iran sanctions

  • The cut comes amid expected export declines from Iran once the US re-imposes sanctions on Tehran
  • The OPEC report said it expected world oil demand to grow by 1.43 million bpd in 2019, down from 1.64 million bpd in 2018

SINGAPORE: Oil prices inched up on Tuesday after a report from OPEC confirmed that top exporter Saudi Arabia had cut production to avert looming oversupply, although concerns over a slowdown in economic growth kept a lid on markets.
Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $72.85 per barrel at 0658 GMT, up 25 cents, or 0.3 percent, from their last close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $67.45 per barrel.
In July, Saudi Arabia told the producer group of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that it had curbed production by 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.288 million bpd.
The cut comes amid expected export declines from Iran once the US re-imposes sanctions on Tehran’s petroleum industry from November.
OPEC’s monthly report published on Monday, which uses data from secondary sources, confirmed the Saudi cut, which traders said triggered crude’s upward move early on Tuesday.
That came despite the Saudi move coming in anticipation of a slowdown in oil demand.
The OPEC report said it expected world oil demand to grow by 1.43 million bpd in 2019, down from 1.64 million bpd in 2018.
OPEC said the demand slowdown would come on the back of potentially lower economic growth as a result of trade disputes between the United States and China as well as emerging market turmoil.
China’s economy is showing further signs of cooling as the US prepares to impose even tougher trade tariffs, with investment in the first seven months of the year slowing to a record low and retail sales softening, data showed on Tuesday.
“Data from China failed to meet market expectations, which could be another signal that the world economy is slowing down,” said Sukrit Vijayakar.


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

Updated 14 min 6 sec ago
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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.”