Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Al-Falih says no OPEC+ output policy change until June

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih speaks during the Saudi-India Forum in New Delhi, India. (File photo/Reuters)
Updated 10 March 2019

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Al-Falih says no OPEC+ output policy change until June

NEW DELHI: Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih said on Sunday it would be too early to change OPEC+ output policy at the group’s meeting in April and that China and the US would lead healthy global demand for oil this year.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies such as Russia — known as the OPEC+ alliance — will meet in Vienna on April 17-18, with another gathering scheduled for June 25-26.
Falih said the group was unlikely to change its output policy in April and if required would make adjustments in June.
“We will see what happens by April, if there is any unforeseen disruption somewhere else, but barring this I think we will just be kicking the can forward,” Falih said.
“We will see where the market is by June and adjust appropriately,” Falih said after a meeting with Indian oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi.
OPEC member United Arab Emirates (UAE) said on Sunday it would continue to meet its obligations to cut supply under the producer agreement.
“We will continue to deliver on the OPEC & Non-OPEC commitment for voluntary production adjustments until the global market is re-balanced,” Minister of Energy and Industry Suhail Al-Mazrouei said on Twitter.
On Jan. 1, OPEC+ began new production cuts to avoid a supply glut that threatened to soften prices. The group agreed to reduce supply by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) for six months.
Sources recently said the most likely scenario is that the current supply cuts will be extended in June but much depends on the extent of US sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela.
OPEC’s share of the cuts is 800,000 bpd, to be delivered by 11 members — all except Iran, Libya and Venezuela, which are exempt. The baseline for the reduction was in most cases their output in October 2018.
For Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, Falih said output in April was expected to remain at this month’s level of 9.8 million bpd.
“Aramco is finalizing their April allocations today or tomorrow so we will know more on Monday. But my expectation is that April is going to be pretty much like March.”
GLOBAL OIL DEMAND
Falih said total global oil demand is set to grow by around 1.5 million bpd this year.
“If you look at Venezuela alone you would panic, if you look at the US you would say the world is awash with oil. You have to look at the market as a whole. We think 2019 demand is actually quite healthy,” Falih told Reuters.
In Venezuela, suffering from a political and economic crisis, oil exports have plunged 40 percent to around 920,000 bpd since Washington slapped sanctions on its petroleum industry on Jan. 28.
On the other hand, production in US hit a record of more than 12 million bpd in February.
The International Energy Agency last month left its demand growth forecast for 2019 unchanged from January at 1.4 million barrels per day.
Falih said Chinese demand was breaking records month after month and estimated the country would breach 11 million bpd this year.
He also said that along with China and the US, India’s expanding economy was driving global oil demand growth.
After the meeting, India’s oil minister said he wanted Saudi Arabia to play an active role in keeping oil prices at a reasonable level as rising prices affect the Indian economy.
He also invited Saudi Arabia to partner with India in building strategic oil reserves and further invest in India’s refining and Petrochemical sectors.


Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

Updated 20 October 2019

Jubilant cheers as Dubai begins one-year countdown to Expo 2020

  • Dubai prepares for eye-catching countdown on Burj Khalifa
  • Live performances from singer Mariah Carey and acclaimed Emirati singer and Expo 2020 ambassador Hussain Al-Jassmi

DUBAI: Crowds gathered at different locations in the UAE on Sunday night to mark its one-year countdown to Expo 2020 in October next year, with host emirates Dubai staging a spectacular concert, topped by a light projection on the iconic Burj Khalifa.

American superstar Mariah Carey was the star of the night, which also saw performances from regional artists including Khalifa, Shamma Hamdan, Abri and Funk Radius, Showcase and Jaysus Zain. The audience also grooved to a few Arabic tunes from Emirati singer Hussain Al-Jassmi.

A make-shift stage was set up at the Burj Park in Dubai’s downtown area to host the performances, while people also enjoyed a good view of the tallest building in the world. The countdown was facilitated by Emirati social media sensation Khalid Al-Ameri and Bollywood actress Shraddah Kapoor. 

A 3-minute firework display lit up the skies of Dubai as the crowd eagerly waited for Carey to appear on stage.

The 49-year-old singer sang her all-time favorite songs, including “Emotion,” “We Belong Together,” and a revival of the Motown classic “I’ll Be There,” to an enthusiastic audience who didn’t mind the heat and humidity at the outdoor venue.

The other six emirates also marked the occasion with free-for-all activities in venues such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah, Ajman Museum, Umm Al Quwain Corniche, Al Qawasim Corniche in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah Fort.

The events, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Expo 2020 Director-General Reem Al-Hashimy said, will “offer a window into the once-in-a-lifetime celebration that awaits from October 20, 2020.”

“The next 12 months will see us put the finishing touches to ensure an exceptional World Expo,” she added, in a report by state-run WAM.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi featured YouTube sensation Sandra Sahi, as well as singers Stephon Lemar, Layla Kardan, the Emirati Trio.

Indian band ROOH, singer and pianist Clarita de Quiroz, Egyptian oud player Rami Zaki and other regional artists were celebrating the count down at Sharjah’s Al Marjaz waterfront.

While the Ajman Museum hosted Arabic fusion band, pop-rock musician Hydyy, Emirati soul singer Chakram, poet Storm Fernandes, artist Humaira Hussain and MC Mohammed Enaba.

The 6-month Expo 2020, to be held at a vast new site in the south of Dubai, will officially open on Oct. 20 next year, with organizers expecting an estimate of 25 million visitors.