Second Turkish drilling ship stokes EU tensions

Second Turkish drilling ship stokes EU tensions
Turkey’s first drilling vessel, Fatih, above, has already started searching for gas and oil in waters considered part of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone. (Reuters)
Updated 07 July 2019

Second Turkish drilling ship stokes EU tensions

Second Turkish drilling ship stokes EU tensions
  • Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for Fatih’s crew members, accusing the ship of breaching the republic’s sovereign territory

ISTANBUL: A second Turkish ship will begin drilling for oil and gas in a disputed region off Cyprus next week, an official said, ramping up exploration activity despite increasing tensions with the EU, which has deemed Ankara’s search “illegal.”
The discovery of huge gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean has fuelled a race to tap underwater resources and triggered a dispute between Turkey and EU member Cyprus, which also plans to ramp up its exploratory activities in the area.
Turkey, which on June 20 sent a second ship for exploratory activities off the eastern Mediterranean, said its actions abide by international law.
“God willing we will be starting the first drilling within a week,” Energy Minister Fatih Donmez was quoted as saying by the private NTV broadcaster. The ship called Yavuz will be exploring off the peninsula of Karpasia, the minister added.

FASTFACT

30% - Gas represents over 30 percent of Turkey’s total energy demand, more than half of which is supplied by Russia.

The EU last month warned against Turkey’s “illegal” drilling, raising the threat of sanctions unless Turkish officials abandon the project. But Ankara insists that it is drilling inside its continental shelf.
Turkey’s first drilling vessel, Fatih, has already started searching for gas and oil in waters considered part of Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone.
Cyprus has issued arrest warrants for Fatih’s crew members, accusing the ship of breaching the republic’s sovereign territory.


SAMA, Visa partner to expand smartphone payment network

SAMA, Visa partner to expand smartphone payment network
The e-commerce payment sector is surging in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 31 sec ago

SAMA, Visa partner to expand smartphone payment network

SAMA, Visa partner to expand smartphone payment network
  • “Simultaneously, this step enhances the Kingdom’s financial technology capabilities and is which in turn would underpin the transition to a digital economy”

Saudi Payments, a unit owned by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), has partnered with global payments giant Visa to launch a system to allow users in the Kingdom to make digital payments using their smartphones.
The new Tap to Phone function will operate through Mada, Saudi Arabia’s national payments network, to allow retailers and merchants, especially small businesses, to accept contactless payments via their smartphone devices without having to invest in separate physical hardware.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Visa to bring this solution to market at a relevant time when Saudi consumers increasingly expect and desire to use digital payments wherever they shop, and when many businesses need to go digital to respond to changing consumer behavior,” said Fahad Al-Akeel, managing director of Saudi Payments.
“Simultaneously, this step enhances the Kingdom’s financial technology capabilities and is which in turn would underpin the transition to a digital economy.”
 foster investments in innovative payment solutions to support smaller businesses and improve consumers’ access to quality financial services all around the Kingdom.”
The e-commerce payment sector is surging in Saudi Arabia. Statistics from SAMA show that the number of transactions in the first quarter of 2021 rose 95 percent year-on-year, while the total number of point-of-sale terminals in the Kingdom rose 68 percent in the same period.


Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy

Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy
Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar
Updated 10 min 25 sec ago

Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy

Iraq is in talks with Saudi and UAE firms to deliver clean energy
  • Projects to generate electricity from solar energy in Karbala and Alexandria with a capacity of 525 megawatts were approved with a Norwegian company, according to Abdul Jabbar

RIYADH: Iraq is in talks with Masdar to implement solar energy projects targeting an electricity capacity of up to 2 gigawatts, Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar told Asharq Business.
There are also discussions with Saudi ACWA Power, to implement renewable energy projects, he added.
“It is expected to sign contracts for renewable energy until 2025 targeting the production of between 10 and 12 gigawatts, representing about 25 percent of Iraq’s electricity needs, which exceed 40 gigawatts,” he said.
“We are working on a full entry into this production of energy gradually until 2030,” he added.

FASTFACT

There are discussions with Saudi ACWA Power, to implement renewable energy projects, says Iraq’s oil minister.

An agreement was signed with Total to implement renewable energy projects in the southern and central regions aimed at generating electricity equivalent to 1 gigawatt, which has entered into force, the minister said.
Production is expected to start at about 500 megawatts by the end of 2022, with the stations implemented by Total reaching full production capacity during the year 2023.
Projects to generate electricity from solar energy in Karbala and Alexandria with a capacity of 525 megawatts were approved with a Norwegian company, according to Abdul Jabbar.
Other projects were awarded to small companies in Muthanna, Samawah and Al-Khidr, bringing the total energy generated from those projects to 750 megawatts, he said.


OPEC+ said to discuss further easing of oil cuts from August

OPEC+ said to discuss further easing of oil cuts from August
Crude oil prices retreated on Tuesday, after Brent rose above $75 a barrel for the first time since April 2019 and as OPEC+ begins discussions on raising oil production. (AFP)
Updated 22 min 36 sec ago

OPEC+ said to discuss further easing of oil cuts from August

OPEC+ said to discuss further easing of oil cuts from August
  • Group is aiming to gradually unwind last year’s record oil output curbs

DUBAI: OPEC+ is discussing a further easing of oil output cuts from August as oil prices rise on demand recovery, but no decision had been taken yet on the exact volume to bring back to the market, two OPEC+ sources said on Tuesday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, is returning 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) to the market from May through July as part of a plan to gradually unwind last year’s record oil output curbs. OPEC+ meets next on July 1.
“It is highly possible to increase gradually from August,” said one of the sources, adding that no final decision had been made and the exact volumes are yet to be agreed on.

HIGHLIGHTS

• OPEC+, is returning 2.1 million bpd to the market from May through July as part of a plan to gradually unwind last year’s record oil output curbs.

• The talks mean that OPEC and Russia are likely to find common ground again on oil production policy.

• Moscow has been insisting on raising output further to avoid prices spiking.

The talks mean that OPEC and Russia are likely to find common ground again on oil production policy. Moscow has been insisting on raising output further to avoid prices spiking, while key OPEC producers have given no signals on the next step until now.
Russian producers see August as a good time to further ease oil output cuts despite the expected return of Iranian barrels as the market is in deficit, an industry source told Reuters on Tuesday.
“Limping” US production also supports the case for easing the curbs, the Russian source said.
Crude oil prices retreated on Tuesday, after Brent rose above $75 a barrel for the first time since April 2019 and as OPEC+ begins discussions on raising oil production, but a strong demand outlook underpinned prices.


Saudi finance minister issues license for STC bank and Saudi digital bank, both under establishment: cabinet statement

Saudi finance minister issues license for STC bank and Saudi digital bank, both under establishment: cabinet statement
Updated 23 June 2021

Saudi finance minister issues license for STC bank and Saudi digital bank, both under establishment: cabinet statement

Saudi finance minister issues license for STC bank and Saudi digital bank, both under establishment: cabinet statement

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s finance minister has issued the necessary license for STC bank and Saudi digital bank, both under establishment, the Saudi cabinet said in a statement on Tuesday.

Developing...


Saudi Central Bank extends SME deferred payment program another 3 months

Saudi Central Bank extends SME deferred payment program another 3 months
Updated 22 June 2021

Saudi Central Bank extends SME deferred payment program another 3 months

Saudi Central Bank extends SME deferred payment program another 3 months
  • Program aims to support small and medium-sized enterprises still struggling due to the pandemic
  • More than 106,000 contracts have benefited since it was launched in March 2020 with a value of approximately SR167 billion

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) announced on Tuesday that it is extending a deferred payment program for a second time to help support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are still struggling during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
SAMA said the program — one of the bank’s initiatives to support private sector financing — will be extended for another three months from July 1 through Sept. 30.
The move is part of SAMA’s role in maintaining the stability of the financial sector, enabling it to promote economic growth and maintain employment levels in the private sector, especially within micro enterprises and other SMEs.
More than 106,000 contracts have benefited from the program since it was launched in March 2020 while the value of the deferred payments for those contracts has amounted to approximately SR167 billion ($44.5 billion).
SAMA has also offered a secured financing program for SMEs as more than 5,282 contracts have benefited from that program with a total financing value of more than SR10 billion, the bank said in a statement.
These programs are meant to support the private sector and the levels of liquidity in the financial sector. They enable financing agencies to provide support while mitigating the economic and financial effects on the SME sector, the bank said.
This is the second time SAMA has extended the two programs to support SMEs. It renewed the deferred payment program for three months last March, while it also extended the guaranteed financing program for an additional year until March 14, 2022.