Saudi Arabia to remain oil exporting kingpin says IEA boss

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told the World Economic Forum in Davos that despite a rapidly changing global energy sector, the Kingdom would remain a key player. (Reuters)
Updated 22 January 2019

Saudi Arabia to remain oil exporting kingpin says IEA boss

  • IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol: The Middle East and especially Saudi Arabia will remain the largest exporter of oil for many years to come
  • Fatih Birol: For this year, let’s pay special attention to US shale because some observers last year made wrong assumptions and underestimated US shale growth

LONDON: Saudi Arabia will remain the largest global oil exporter for years to come despite the growth of the US oil sector, according to the chief of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told the World Economic Forum in Davos that despite a rapidly changing global energy sector, the Kingdom would remain a key player.

But he added that the importance of the US shale sector should not be underestimated as it had been in the past.

“The Middle East and especially Saudi Arabia will remain the largest exporter of oil for many years to come,” he told an energy panel at the annual gathering of global political and business leaders in the Swiss mountain resort.

Official data from Saudi Arabia released on Monday showed the Kingdom’s crude oil exports in November rose to 8.235 million bpd from 7.7 million in October.

“The US produce a lot of oil but most of the time they use that at home for domestic purposes. So even though US is now a very important oil producer, the Middle East will remain the largest exporter of oil.

“But for this year, 2019, let’s pay special attention to US shale once again because some of the observers last year I think made wrong assumptions and underestimated US shale growth,” said Birol.

The huge growth of the US shale oil industry has transformed the energy landscape in the US, which until last month had been a net importer of oil for the last 75 years.

Oil prices fell nearly 2 percent on Tuesday, pushed lower by signs of a slowdown in China.


Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

Updated 15 November 2019

Bank jobs go as HSBC and Emirates NBD reduce costs

  • Others have also reduced headcount amid economic downturn and property market weakness

DUBAI: HSBC Holdings has laid off about 40 bankers in the UAE and Emirates NBD is cutting around 100 jobs, as banks in the Arab world’s second-biggest economy reduce costs.

The cuts come amid weak economic growth, especially in Dubai, which is suffering from a property downturn.

HSBC’s redundancies came after the London-based bank reported a sharp fall in earnings and warned of a costly restructuring, as interim CEO Noel Quinn seeks to tackle its problems head-on.

HSBC has about 3,000 staff in the UAE, part of a nearly 10,000-strong workforce in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey.

The cuts at Dubai’s largest lender Emirates NBD came in consumer sales and liabilities, one source said, while a second played down the significance of the move.

HSBC and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

“The cuts are part of cost cutting and rationalizing to drive efficiencies in a challenging market,” the second source said.

Other banks have also reduced staff this year. UAE central bank data shows local banks laid off 446 people in the 12 months until the end of September. Foreign banks added staff in the same period.

Staff at local banks account for over 80 percent of the 35,518 banking employees in the country.

The merger between Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Union Commercial Bank and Al Hilal Bank saw hundreds of redundancies.

Commercial Bank International (CBI) said it would offer voluntary retirement to employees in September, which sources said saw over 100 departures. Standard Chartered, too, cut over 100 jobs in the UAE in September.

Rating agency Fitch warned in September a weakening property market would put more pressure on the UAE’s banking sector.