Iraq and Oman plan cooperation in oil and gas sector

Iraq aims to export crude to Oman under a new memorandum of understanding signed by both countries. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2019

Iraq and Oman plan cooperation in oil and gas sector

  • ‘The MoU aims at studying the possibility of building a shared oil refinery in Oman’

DUBAI: Iraq and Oman signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in the oil and gas sector, including the possibility of building a shared refinery in Oman for processing imported Iraqi crude, the Iraqi oil ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Iraq will aim to export crude to Oman, according to the MoU, import oil products from there and build oil storage facilities in both countries, the statement quoted Iraqi oil minister Thamer Ghadhban as saying.

“The MoU aims at studying the possibility of building a shared oil refinery in the Sultanate of Oman to process the crude oil imported from Iraq,” Ghadban said.

The two countries will also explore prospects of cooperation and investment in exploring and producing oil and gas. In addition to refining, manufacturing, storing and marketing crude oil and oil products between them, the ministry statement said.


Microsoft shares fall 4% after warning of coronavirus hit to supply chain

Updated 28 February 2020

Microsoft shares fall 4% after warning of coronavirus hit to supply chain

  • Drop in share price wiped off nearly $50 billion from the Microsoft’s market value
  • Apple was the first big technology firm to come out and say the virus was affecting its production and demand in China

NEW YORK: Shares of Microsoft Corp. fell more than 4 percent on Thursday after the company warned of weakness in PC business due to a hit to its supply chain from the coronavirus outbreak, echoing similar statements from Apple Inc. and HP.

The drop in share price wiped off nearly $50 billion from the Microsoft’s market value on a day when broader markets were down more than 2 percent.

The virus has so far infected about 80,000 people, killed nearly 2,800 and spread to 44 countries, after originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Apple was the first big technology firm to come out and say the virus was affecting its production and demand in China. PayPal Holdings Inc. and Mastercard Inc. have also warned about a possible hit.

Microsoft said on Wednesday its supply chain was returning to normal operations at a slower pace than anticipated and its Windows and Surface computers had been more negatively impacted than expected.

“Finished good inventory levels matter. If Microsoft had not fully assembled and packaged Surface units in the channel, then the impact would be felt faster and more severely,” Morningstar analyst Dan Romanoff said in a mail.

The global stock markets have also taken a hit as investors grew cautious of the impact of the virus on global supply chains. The Dow Jones Industrials index dropped more than 400 points at the open on Thursday.

Several Wall Street analysts expect other technology companies with heavy presence in China to soon come out with their own statements.

“Given there seems to be weakness in the PC supply chain, it would seem highly likely to me that we hear something from Intel,” Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell said in a mail.

Andrew MacMillen, an analyst with Nucleus Research, said that PC makers such as Dell Technologies Inc. and Lenovo Group could be seeing some difficulties.

Dell, the world’s third-biggest PC maker after Lenovo Group and HP, will report quarterly earnings after market close on Thursday. It has a sizeable exposure to China.

Microsoft said on Wednesday it would miss its own third quarter revenue forecast for the PC unit, which houses Windows, of $10.75 billion and $11.15 billion. 

J.P.Morgan analysts said that Microsoft’s guidance is a supply chain issue, not a demand issue, but it was possible that broad supply chain issues plus investors becoming increasingly averse to risk could metastasize into demand issues over time.