Oil hits five-month high above $71 on Libyan supply threat

Supply has been volatile since the 2011 uprising against Muammar Qaddafi. Above, an oil facility in the northern Libyan town of Al-Buraqah. (AFP)
Updated 09 April 2019
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Oil hits five-month high above $71 on Libyan supply threat

  • Supply curbs led by the OPEC have underpinned a more than 30 percent rally this year for Brent crude
  • Libyan oil supply has been volatile since the 2011 uprising against Muammar Qaddafi

LONDON: Oil hit a five-month high above $71 a barrel on Tuesday, supported by concern that violence in Libya could further tighten supply already squeezed by OPEC cuts and US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Supply curbs led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have underpinned a more than 30 percent rally this year for Brent crude, despite downward pressure from fears of an economic slowdown and weaker demand.
Brent, the global benchmark, rose to $71.34 a barrel, the highest since November, and by 0825 GMT was up 14 cents at $71.24.
US crude also hit a November 2018 high of $64.77 and was later up 22 cents at $64.62.
“Libya’s oil production and exports have not been jeopardized but the rise in tension is enough to send oil prices higher,” Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM said.
OPEC member Libya pumps around 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd), just over 1 percent of global oil output. Supply has been volatile since the 2011 uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.
“Concerns over the potential squeezing of supply in Libya following the escalation of violence there are adding fresh impetus,” analysts at JBC Energy wrote.
On Monday, a warplane attacked Tripoli’s only functioning airport as eastern forces advancing on the Libyan capital disregarded international appeals for a truce.
Yet despite generally bullish oil markets, concerns that an economic slowdown this year will hit fuel consumption have been preventing crude prices from rising even higher, traders said.
Recent increases in US crude inventories have also put a lid on price gains. US crude stocks are forecast to have risen by 2.5 million barrels last week, the third straight weekly addition.
The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, issues its supply report at 2030 GMT, ahead of Wednesday’s official figures.
Looking ahead, a further rally in prices or downward trend in inventories could prompt OPEC and its partners to reconsider their production-cutting pact when they next meet in June.
Russia, a reluctant participant in the supply cuts, signaled on Monday it wanted to raise output when it meets with OPEC because of falling stockpiles.


More than 100 Saudi groups at Dubai’s GITEX week

Updated 22 September 2019

More than 100 Saudi groups at Dubai’s GITEX week

  • GITEX is an international platform

DUBAI: More than 100 Saudi organizations, including government entities, private companies and startups, are participating at the upcoming GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, from Oct. 6 to 10, indicating an increase in Saudi participation from last year at the annual technology gathering.

Bringing in one of the biggest contingents at the event, at 114, Saudi Arabia is also an official partner of GITEX this year, which is expecting to host more than 100,000 visitors over four days at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).

“There’s a lot of collaboration and integration in this region — there’s a lot of learning and sharing. GITEX is an international platform. This is where the Saudi contingent comes — from the big enterprise sector to the startup ecosystem — to interact with hundreds and thousands of visitors from over 140 countries,” Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president of events management at DWTC, told reporters on Sunday.

LohMirmand also noted a spike in Saudi participation at the GITEX Future Stars, a concurrent event that focuses on the region’s startup community.

“We have a big Saudi Innovation Day. In fact, Saudis are again bringing a big contingent of startups. It’s led by the deputy minister of communications from Saudi Arabia to explore partnerships and discuss the opportunities in the region, particularly for startups,” she said, referring to the three special sessions that will focus on the Kingdom’s technology drive.

This increase in participation, LohMirmand said, is a reflection of a bigger “impetus on innovation and the getting the startup community going” in the region.

“We see a lot of new tech coming out, so there’s a lot of interest to give these companies an opportunity to connect to the rest of the world. When you come to GITEX, we connect you to the rest of the world — we host over 500 investors from all around the world, including from Silicon Valley,” she added.

Firat Aktas, DWTC’s director of brand innovation and communication, stressed: “You can see what’s happening around the world — the Saudis are showing their ambition very clearly in various industries.”

Earlier this year, the Saudi Telecom Company signed a deal with Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson to launch commercial 5G services in the Kingdom. “The roll-out continues. It’s a huge deployment in different parts of Saudi Arabia,” Wojciech Bajda, head of Gulf Council countries and global customer unit zain, told Arab News. “The focus for our customers currently is to understand how to monetize 5G, how to make sure there’s an industrial application of 5G in Saudi Arabia.”

Bajda also said they are looking at introducing 5G to different sectors in the Kingdom such as mining, and oil and gas. “We have engagements with different industries in trying to prototype together, and see if there’s something relevant for Saudi Arabia, and for our customers like the Saudi Telecom Company to pick up and do a full implementation,” he added. 

What to expect at GITEX this year 

This year’s GITEX, which has the theme “Synergizing the Mind and Technology Economy,” will highlight the region’s 5G adoption, as well as other futuristic concepts such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and immersive technology.

LohMirmand said the dwelling time for GITEX visitors has increased over the years, owing to the gathering’s massive content offering.

“We are measuring more in terms of dwelling time. You can have 100,000 people come one day and do, but now the trend for us is we’re seeing them staying longer. Because there’s so much content, there’s so much knowledge, and so many companies with new technology, dwelling time is much longer, averaging 3.5 to 4 days,” she explained.

“Visitors and exhibitors are having deeper and more meaningful interactions at the show.”

The halls of DWTC will be divided into six sectors: 5G, AI, Future mobility, GITEX lifestyle tech, and Smart cities. It opens Oct. 6.