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. 


Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

Updated 20 August 2018
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Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

  • Blockchain technology challenges traditional outdoor media
  • Adverts connect to driver mobile phone

LONDON: A new startup founded by UAE-based entrepreneurs is in the process of test-running a blockchain-based technology that could help people turn their cars into mobile advertising vehicles.
It could challenge the use of traditional advertising methods such as outdoor billboards, the founders of The Elo Network claim.
The platform — which has been set up by Mohammed Khammas and Mohammed Bafaqih and incorporated in the Cayman Islands — will enable people to be paid for displaying adverts on the side or back of their vehicles while they go about their daily routines of driving to work, the mall or doing the school run.
The adverts will feature low-frequency bluetooth ‘beacons’ that connect to the drivers' mobile phone which will be able to monitor when the driver is in the car and where the car is being driven.
There is a minimum threshold for the number of miles being driven a day, but the main prerequisite is that the driver is in the car. Drivers will still be paid even if stuck in a traffic jam.
Advertising clients will be able to put out requests that drivers head to a particular area — for instance to be close to a new brand launch — with drivers being paid up to 4 or 5 times more than their standard rate if they accept.
While the concept of paying people to use their cars for advertising is not new, it is the use of blockchain technology that will make The Elo Network particularly grounding-breaking in the advertising world, its founders said.
“Billboards are very expensive and static and don’t give you the KPIs and insightful information that brands want these days. You solve that by getting them that data,” Bafaqih said.
The Elo Network collates detailed data by tracking the movements of the drivers and their day-to-day activities. Data points such as a particular area’s population density can been collected.
The information will be encrypted ensuring that the brand will never know the identity of the driver, said Bafaqih.
“It creates data sets that didn’t exist before. You don’t have to worry about privacy but at the same time the brand can know about your patterns. They can know where you go in mornings, where you drive, what normal patterns are created in certain areas and countries,” he said.
This level of detail is increasingly important for brands looking to run targeted campaigns, and it is something that traditional billboards are unable to offer.
The technology will also be used to overcome the payment problems that other similar car advertising schemes have faced.
“Historically what happens, where there is a authority that is issuing payments, it causes a lot of problems. There can be disputes on how much they (the drivers) are owed or how many miles were driven or what campaign someone has done,” he said.
Under the Elo Network program, the blockchain technology allows you to create so-called “Smart Contracts” — which is a software protocol that enforces and verifies the performance of a contract.
“It says driver A is going to be paid — for example — a dollar per mile — so as the person drives he starts receives ‘IOUs’. Those IOUs are convertible at any time,” he said.
With no ‘middle man’ involved, the driver is able to redeem their IOUs and get paid as and when they want.
The network is currently at ‘proof of concept’ stage and is test-running the platform with a number of brands. It is anticipated that the network will be rolled out to the public toward the end of this year and early 2019.