Exit strategy of global oil production cuts to be discussed before June, Kuwait minister says

Kuwait’s oil minister Essam Al-Marzouq said there would be meetings on the coming months ‘for the ministerial monitoring committee, and there will be a study formed for the possibility of an exit strategy ... before June.’ (Reuters)
Updated 10 December 2017

Exit strategy of global oil production cuts to be discussed before June, Kuwait minister says

KUWAIT: Kuwait’s oil minister Essam Al-Marzouq said on Sunday that OPEC and other oil producers will study before June the possibility of an exit strategy from the global oil supply-cut agreement.
“There are still meetings every couple of months for the ministerial monitoring committee, and there will be a study formed for the possibility of an exit strategy ... before June,” he told reporters.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers led by Russia have agreed to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018 as they try to clear a global oil glut while signaling a possible early exit from the deal if the market overheats.
OPEC meets next in June, while the next meeting for the ministerial monitoring committee, known as the JMMC, is due to be held in January in Oman.
Russia, which this year reduced production significantly with OPEC for the first time, has been pushing for a clear message on how to exit the cuts so the market doesn’t flip into a deficit too soon, prices don’t rally too fast and rival US shale firms don’t boost output further.
Moscow needs much lower oil prices to balance its budget than OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia, which is preparing a stock market listing for national energy champion Aramco next year and would hence benefit from pricier crude.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that it was too early to talk about a possible exit from the global deal to cut oil production, and the eventual withdrawal from the agreement should be gradual.
Novak said the process of exiting the deal may take between three and six months, depending on how the global oil market has recovered by then, and on the scale of oil demand.
Under the current deal the producers are cutting supply by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).


Virus pressure tests Saudi Arabia reforms as Aramco has Forbes debut

Updated 28 May 2020

Virus pressure tests Saudi Arabia reforms as Aramco has Forbes debut

  • ‘In terms of profits, the Saudi companies have done well. We will see more companies rising in the next few years

RIYADH: Saudi companies such as oil giant Aramco are displaying resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic because of reforms introduced before its arrival, say analysts.

The world’s largest oil company has become emblematic of wider corporate reforms triggered by the Saudi Vision 2030 blueprint for social and economic change.

Saudi Aramco this month appeared in the top five of the Forbes Global 2000 list, which ranks the world’s 2000 largest companies.

It comes as the world’s most profitable company reported profits on $88.2 billion last year.

This year’s rankings arrive amid a global pandemic which has devastated the earnings of some companies, improved the position of others and tested the resilience of all.

It has also shone a spotlight on the ability of the the Kingdom’s top companies to withstand the twin shock of the COVID-19 lockdown and the collapse of oil prices.

Saudi Aramco debuted on the prestigious Forbes list after completing the world’s largest initial public offering last year.

The rankings are based on a combination of sales, profits, market capitalization and assets. Three of the top five companies on the list are from China, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in the top spot for the eighth straight year with more than $4.3 trillion in assets.

Forbes noted that many of the companies on its list have come through a particularly difficult first quarter as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or what it describes as “The Great Cessation.”

“Many companies and organizations have faced difficulties in managing and mitigating the impact of COVID-19 crisis. However, there are some companies that have prepared well and put in action plans to avoid this crisis with the least damage,” said Fahad Alfaifi, a Saudi-based strategy and business planning consultant.

The pandemic has come at a time of historic change in the Kingdom’s corporate landscape driven by economic reforms which form a major part of the Vision 2030 agenda. This aims to reduce the country’s reliance on oil revenues and stimulate investment in sectors of the economy that create new jobs for a youthful population.

This backdrop has meant many companies in the Kingdom were already changing the way they did business before the arrival of the pandemic and the collapse of oil prices created new challenges.

Last year’s annual Global Competitiveness Report, issued by the World Economic Forum, placed the Kingdom third among G20 counties and 11th globally

in terms of IT governance which rates a country’s ability to adapt digital technologies such as e-commerce and financial technology.

Such technology skills are becoming increasingly important for economies as they to re-calibrate and adapt to the post-pandemic world.

Nasser Al-Qarawee, the director of the Saudi Study and Research Center, attributed the success of some Saudi companies to the great achievements made by the private sector lately and predicted that more Saudi companies would eventually join Aramco on the Forbes list.

“The national economy has seen enormous improvements and development in terms of laws and legislation that have helped reduce restrictions and bureaucracy, while the government has worked at the same time on reducing dependency on oil. Vision 2030 will further cement the Kingdom’s strong presence globally and make it have a larger influence on global decisions, not only economically but also politically.”

Tawfiq Al-Swailem, CEO of the Gulf Bureau for Research and Economic Consultations, said that many Saudi companies would emerge from the pandemic in a strong position.

“In terms of profits, the Saudi companies have done well, although the entire world is living through a state of ferocious economic war,” he said. “We will see more Saudi companies rising in the next few years.”