Iran oil minister opposes emergency OPEC talks

Updated 21 April 2013

Iran oil minister opposes emergency OPEC talks

TEHRAN: Iran sees no need for an emergency meeting of OPEC over a recent drop in crude prices before the producers’ annual session at the end of May, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi sai.
“No extraordinary meeting is needed as the May 31 meeting is coming up, and the price of oil had not gone below $ 100 per barrel for a long time,” Qasemi said on the sidelines of an oil and gas trade fair in Tehran.
In the last meeting of OPEC, held on December 12, oil producers decided to hold an emergency session if oil prices fall below 100 dollars per barrel, Qasemi said.
His remarks came after Venezuela’s top oil official reportedly said earlier that OPEC officials were weighing holding a special meeting on the market if prices continue to fall.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is set to meet in Vienna on May 31.
Oil prices gained Friday on speculation that OPEC plans to cut output, recovering somewhat from sharp losses earlier in the week over worries about weakening Chinese economic growth.
In New York, the main contract, WTI crude for delivery in May, added 28 cents from Thursday to end at $ 88.01 a barrel.
In London, Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June gained 52 cents to $ 99.65 a barrel, unable to hold onto a rebound above the $ 100 line earlier in the day.
Iran is OPEC’s fourth biggest producer, after Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait, according to the group’s data. In 2011, it ranked second.
But under sanctions over its controversial nuclear program, Iran’s output dropped to 2.67 million barrels per day in February, from 2.72 the previous month, OPEC said in April, citing secondary sources.
Qasemi did not talk about the figures but confirmed that Iran’s oil production and export indeed declined in 2012.
“Our export has declined (in 2012) compared to the previous year because the European nations are not buying from us and naturally we have had a decline in oil production,” he said.
“Except for our European customers, we still have our other customers and we are talking to others for new deals,” Qasemi said.
Qasemi said Iran was talking to North Korea to buy Iranian oil.
“We hope to reach an agreement over North Korea importing oil from us,” he said.
North Korea, an ally of Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution, is also under Western and UN sanctions over its nuclear program.
OPEC had voted to re-appoint Secretary General Abdullah El-Badri to lead OPEC for another year after members failed to agree on a new leader in December.
The world’s biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia had been battling against Iraq and Iran to have its candidate succeed El-Badri, who has steered the cartel through the world’s financial crisis as its secretary general since 2007.
Qasemi said Iran is also pushing for its own nominee, former oil minister Gholam Hossein Nozari, to take El-Badri’s post.
“We are still in contact with the members about our nominee, since the appointment has to happen on consensus,” he said.


Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

Updated 22 October 2019

Saudi energy giant to invest $3bn in Bangladesh’s power sector

  • Experts say deal will usher in more economic and development opportunities for the country

DHAKA: Saudi Arabia’s energy giant, ACWA power, will set up an LNG-based 3,600 MW plant in Bangladesh after an agreement was signed in Dhaka on Thursday.

The MoU was signed by ACWA Chairman Mohammed Abunayyan and officials from the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), officials told Arab News on Monday.

According to the agreement, ACWA will invest $3 billion in Bangladesh’s energy development sector, of which $2.5 billion will be used to build the power plant while the rest will be spent on an LNG terminal to facilitate fuel supply to the plant. Under the deal, ACWA will also set up a 2 MW solar power plant.

In recent months, both countries have engaged in a series of discussions for investment opportunities in Bangladesh’s industry and energy sectors. 

During the Saudi-Bangladesh investment cooperation meeting in March this year, Dhaka proposed a $35 billion investment plan to a high-powered Saudi delegation led by Majed bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, the Saudi commerce and investment minister, and Mohammed bin Mezyed Al-Tuwaijri, the Saudi economy and planning minister.

However, officials in Dhaka said that this was the first investment deal to be signed between the two countries.

“We have just inked the MoU for building the LNG-based power plant. Now, ACWA will conduct a feasibility study regarding the location of the plant, which is expected to be completed in the next six months,” Khaled Mahmood, chairman of BPDB, told Arab News.

He added that there are several locations in Moheshkhali, Chottogram and the Mongla port area for the proposed power plant.

“We need to find a suitable location where the drift of the river will be suitable for establishing the LNG plant and we need to also consider the suitability of establishing the transmission lines,” Mahmood said.

“It will be either a JV (Joint Venture) or an IPP (Independent Power Producer) mode of investment, which is yet to be determined. But, we are expecting that in next year the investment will start coming here,” Mahmood said.

BPDB expects to complete the set-up process of the power plant within 36 to 42 months.

“We are in close contact with ACWA and focusing on the successful completion of the project within the shortest possible time,” he said.

Abunayyan said that he was optimistic about the new investment deal.

“Bangladesh has been a model for the Muslim world in economic progress. This is our beginning, and our journey and our relationship will last for a long time,” Abunayyan told a gathering after the MoU signing ceremony.

Economists and experts in Bangladesh also welcomed the ACWA investment in the energy development sector.

“This sort of huge and long-term capital investment will create a lot of employment opportunities. On the other hand, it will facilitate other trade negotiations with the Middle Eastern countries, too,” Dr. Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), told Arab News.

She added that Bangladesh needs to weigh the pros and cons before finalizing such contracts so that the country can earn the “maximum benefits” from the investment.

“It will also expedite other big investments in Bangladesh from different countries,” she said.

Another energy economist, Dr. Asadujjaman, said that Bangladesh needs to exercise caution while conducting the feasibility study for such a huge investment.

“We need to address the environmental aspects, opportunity costs and other economic perspectives while working with this type of big investment. Considering the present situation, the country also needs to focus on producing more solar energy,” Dr. Asadujjaman told Arab News.