Saudia privatization in final stages

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Updated 12 August 2013

Saudia privatization in final stages

The privatization of Saudi Arabian Airlines is in the final stages, said Prince Fahd bin Abdullah, president of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, and chairman of the airline’s board of directors.
“We hope Saudia’s privatization process would be completed shortly,” the prince told reporters after witnessing the signing of an agreement for the privatization of the Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI).
He said Qatar Airways and Gulf Air, which are licensed to operate domestic flights in the Kingdom, are scheduled to start their operations within the next three months after completing some establishment procedures and opening their offices in the Kingdom.
Saudia has sold 30 percent of its stake in SAEI to Tarabut Aircraft Maintenance Company, an affiliate of Integrated Transport Company (ITC). The agreement between the two organizations was signed by Prince Sultan bin Muhammad bin Saud Al-Kabir, chairman of ITC, and Khaled Al-Molhem, director general of Saudia.
Prince Fahd emphasized the important role of SAEI, which provides aircraft maintenance services not only for Saudia but also for foreign airlines. “We hope it would become a major aircraft maintenance center in the Middle East,” the chairman said.
Al-Molhem said: “This is another important step toward privatization of the airline’s strategic units and it was decided after conducting adequate studies with the support of international consulting firms.”
The Saudia chief underscored the desire of investors to participate in Saudia’s privatization process. “This strategic partnership will have great benefits for the Kingdom as well as investors. This is a model of successful partnership between the public and private sectors,” he added.
Prince Fahd chaired a meeting of Saudia’s board to discuss the financial reports and operational performance during the first half of 2013, its Haj and Umrah plan for this year and the airline’s efforts to modernize its fleet, develop its IT infrastructure and improve services to passengers.
“We have to achieve higher operational rates to compete with other airlines at regional and international levels,” the chairman said.


OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

Updated 32 sec ago

OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

  • The meeting, originally scheduled for next week, was brought forward to Saturday

VIENNA: OPEC and allied nations agreed on Saturday to extend a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July, hoping to boost energy prices hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers of the group and outside nations like Russia met via video conference to adopt the measure, aimed at cutting out the excess production depressing prices as global aviation remains largely grounded due to the pandemic. It represents some 10% of the world's overall supply.
However, danger still lurks for the market. Algerian Oil Minister Mohamed Arkab, the current OPEC president, warned attendees that the global oil inventory would soar to 1.5 billion barrels by the mid-point of this year.
“Despite the progress to date, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels,” Arkab said. “The challenges we face remain daunting.”
That was a message echoed by Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Abdul Aziz bin Salman, who acknowledged “we all have made sacrifices to make it where we are today.” He said he remained shocked by the day in April when US oil futures plunged below zero.


“There are encouraging signs we are over the worst,” he said.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak similarly called April “the worst month in history” for the global oil market.
The decision came in a unanimous vote, Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei of the United Arab Emirates wrote on Twitter. He called it “a courageous decision and a collective effort deserving praise from all participating producing countries.”
OPEC has 13 member states, including Saudi Arabia. The additional countries part of the plus-accord have been led by Russia, with Mexico under President Andrés Manuel López Obrador playing a considerable role at the last minute in the initial agreement.
Crude oil prices have been gaining in recent days, in part on hopes OPEC would continue the cut. International benchmark Brent crude traded Saturday at over $42 a barrel. Brent had crashed below $20 a barrel in April.
The oil market was already oversupplied when Russia and OPEC failed to agree on output cuts in early March. Analysts say Russia refused to back even a moderate cut because it would have only served to help US energy companies that were pumping at full capacity. Stalling would hurt American shale-oil producers and protect market share.
Prices collapsed as the coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness it causes largely halted global travel. That also hurt US shale production, drawing the ire of President Donald Trump. But Trump welcomed the earlier deal, as US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette did on Saturday with the extension.
“I applaud OPEC-plus for reaching an important agreement today which comes at a pivotal time as oil demand continues to recover and economies reopen around the world,” Brouillette wrote on Twitter.
Under a deal reached in April, OPEC and allied countries were to cut nearly 10 million barrels per day until July, then 8 million barrels per day through the end of the year, and 6 million a day for 16 months beginning in 2021.
However, some countries produced beyond their quotas set by the deal. One of them was Iraq, which remains decimated after the yearslong war against the Islamic State group.
On Saturday, Iraq Oil Ministry spokesman Assem Jihad said in statement that Baghdad had “renewed its full commitment” to the OPEC+ deal.
“Despite the economic and financial circumstances that Iraq is facing, the country remains committed to the agreement," Jihad said.
Analysts had expected OPEC and the other nations to extend the cuts of 10 million barrels per day by one more month, but not longer, since the level of demand is still fluctuating.
“If the demand is great, countries like Russia will want to produce more oil, so they probably won’t want to get locked into a longer-term deal that may not help them,” said Jacques Rousseau, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners.