Indian refiners join forces in bid for better OPEC oil deals

Indian refiners join forces in bid for better OPEC oil deals
Updated 23 February 2016

Indian refiners join forces in bid for better OPEC oil deals

Indian refiners join forces in bid for better OPEC oil deals

NEW DELHI: Indian state refiners are jointly negotiating oil purchase deals with OPEC producers for the first time, as the world’s third biggest consumer seizes on low prices to wrest better terms in a market awash with crude.
In a sign of the shift in power from oil sellers to buyers, India is reviewing its import policy at a time when OPEC members are focused more on protecting market share than boosting prices that are down some 70 percent in the last 20 months.
While producers have shown no sign yet of willingness to discount long-term price benchmarks, or official selling prices (OSPs), they have discussed concessions on loan terms and shipping that would reduce costs, said Indian industry and government officials familiar with the talks.
In the last two months officials from Indian Oil Corp. (IOC), Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum Corp. and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd. visited Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to negotiate deals for the next fiscal year beginning in April.
The four refiners together control about 60 percent of India’s 4.6 million barrels per day (bpd) capacity.
“Joint negotiation increases your bargaining power. When you jointly negotiate, even a customer of a small quantity gets the (same) advantage (as) buyers of huge volumes,” H. Kumar, managing director of MRPL, told Reuters.
The UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia declined to give discounts on OSPs to Indian refiners, sources said, but there was some leeway on other commercial terms.
“UAE and Kuwait said they may increase the credit period, and offered concessions on shipping if Indian refiners raise volumes,” said an industry official privy to the talks.
“Saudi said they are open for discussion (on some terms) provided volumes are raised,” the official added.
State oil officials from the three exporting countries were not immediately available for comment on the talks.
India’s oil import policy was approved by the cabinet in 1979 and was last modified in 2001 to expand the list of companies that can supply crude there.
“The policy needs to evolve with the changing times ... It is necessary to make the policy more flexible so that Oil PSUs (public sector undertakings) are able to procure crude oil at the best possible terms,” said an oil ministry official.


Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding
Updated 14 min 40 sec ago

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding
  • The Kingdom has proved to be a fruitful market for investment in startups

RIYADH: A Saudi financial technology company has raised $1.2 million in seed funding.

Hakbah’s success comes six months after the Riyadh-based startup received regulatory approval from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) to operate in the Kingdom.

The specific investors behind the financing have not been revealed.

Founded in late 2018 by Naif AbuSaida, Hakbah specializes in alternative saving and savings groups.

On its LinkedIn profile, the firm describes its mission “is to digitize financial habits by developing innovative savings products that help increase financial inclusion, support a non-cash society, and bridge the gender gap in savings.”

Hakbah graduated from the DIFC Fintech Accelerator Program 2019 in Dubai.

The Kingdom has proved to be a fruitful market for investment in startups. Saudi Arabia recorded a 35 percent year-on-year increase in the number of investment deals in the technology startup sector last year, according to a new industry report.

A study by data research platform Magnitt found that the Kingdom accounted for 18 percent of the 496 investment deals throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region last year.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt were the largest markets, accounting for 68 percent of total deals. However, while the Kingdom saw the number of investment deals increase by more than one-third, the UAE and Egypt witnessed volume decreases of 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

When it came to the monetary value of the deals, Saudi Arabia recorded a surge of 55 percent year-on-year to $152 million.

Nabeel Koshak, CEO at Saudi Venture Capital Co., said: “Saudi Arabia is witnessing an increase in the quality and quantity in the deal flow of startups. I am thrilled by the distinguished entrepreneurs who are creating fast growth and scalable startups.

“Despite the slowdown of (the coronavirus disease) COVID-19, Saudi Arabia saw a record increase in venture capital funding (55 percent) in 2020 compared with 2019.”

In its predictions for this year, Magnitt forecast that Saudi Arabia would overtake Egypt by total number of investments and capital deployed and become second only to the UAE in the rankings.