Saudi Arabia doesn’t target specific level of oil output: Energy minister

Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih
Updated 31 August 2016
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Saudi Arabia doesn’t target specific level of oil output: Energy minister

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia does not target a specific level of oil production and its output is based on customers’ needs, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said.
Speaking during an official visit to China, Al-Falih told Al-Arabiya TV channel that despite low crude prices he was optimistic for global demand, that demand for crude in China remains “very healthy” and India’s demand was “very good” too.
“We in Saudi Arabia do not have a targeted number to reach. The Kingdom’s production meets the requirements of the customers, whether they are outside internationally or inside the kingdom,” Al-Falih said in remarks broadcast on Wednesday.
“The Kingdom’s production policy will maintain a large degree of responsibility,” he said, signalling Saudi Arabia would not flood an oversupplied market if there was no demand for it, a position Saudi Arabia has always said it holds to.
OPEC is due to meet informally in Algeria in September and is expected to seek to revive a global output freeze deal.
Saudi Arabia increased production in June and July to record levels to meet a seasonal rise in domestic demand and higher export requirements. Industry sources have told Reuters Riyadh could boost production to a record in August.
In July it pumped 10.67 million barrels per day, the most in its history. Al-Falih last week told Reuters production in August had remained around that level.
Saudi Arabia has a production capacity of 12.5 million bpd, leaving it able to boost output further to meet any global shortage. Al-Falih said that production level was not expected to be reached unless there were unexpected outages.
“The market now is saturated with oversupply and we don’t see in the short term a need for the kingdom to reach its maximum production capacity,” he told Al-Arabiya.
 
BOLSTERING RELATIONS
 
Al-Falih is on a visit headed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aimed at bolstering relations with China, a top energy customer and trade partner. The delegation was heading to Japan late on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia has traditionally accounted for most of Asia’s crude needs, but has come under pressure from rivals such as Russia in a number of markets including China.
Al-Falih denied there was a price war between producers in China, adding that increasing Russian oil supplies to China “is something natural and we do not see it as a threatening move to Saudi Arabia.”
Under sweeping economic reforms led by Prince Mohammed, Riyadh plans to sell a stake of less than 5 percent in national oil major Saudi Aramco.
Al-Falih, Aramco’s chairman, told Al-Arabiya that China had shown interest in opening its stock markets for Saudi Aramco’s flotation.
Saudi Aramco has been in talks with China’s CNPC and Sinopec for investment opportunities in refining, marketing and petrochemicals.
Al-Falih said he hoped to reach a deal with CNPC before the end of the year, expecting investments in China to exceed $20 billion, if the talks were finalized.
Saudi Aramco is talking to CNPC about two refineries in China, with one being built in Yunnan at a more advanced stage, he said.
Saudi Aramco is also in talks with Sinopec on a refinery in Qingdao. 
“We look forward to improve the economic feasibility of the project and finish the negotiations,” he said, adding Saudi Aramco is expected to take a stake of between 40 and 45 percent in such projects. 


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.