Saudi energy minister predicts era of ‘perpetual stability in world oil’

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman at the Energy Week International Forum in Moscow. (Reuters)
Updated 06 October 2019

Saudi energy minister predicts era of ‘perpetual stability in world oil’

  • Kingdom’s ‘marriage of convenience’ with Russia will benefit global economy, Moscow industry summit hears

MOSCOW: The relationship between Saudi Arabia and Russia brings an opportunity for “perpetual stability” in global oil markets, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Kingdom’s energy minister, told a gathering of energy industry leaders in Moscow.

“We could not be doing better than what we are doing today. It’s quite a marriage of convenience. We are in an alliance because there is a lot of rationale in that alliance. It did not come because there is emotion in it, but is a result of straight thinking about what we could do together,” the minister told a packed hall at the Russian Energy Week summit of global energy leaders in Moscow.

The panel was on the theme of “global energy — new alliances,” and both the energy minister and his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak stressed the common interests in the “OPEC+” arrangement, whereby global oil producers coordinate output levels to ensure price and supply stability.

Prince Abdul Aziz said: “I am always conscious of the effect of the oil market on the global economy, and I believe the OPEC+ agreement will help ensure the perpetual stability of the oil market to the benefit of producers, consumers, the energy industry and the world economy.”

Novak agreed that the output agreement — signed first in 2017 and reinforced with a charter last year — had brought “some stability” to global oil markets, but he was worried about what he called “black swans” in the form of global economic and geopolitical factors.


OPEC members supply about 43.5 percent of the world’s crude oil production.

“There is a lot of uncertainty in the market. For example, trade wars between certain countries is leading to lower demand and consumption. There are also sanctions introduced by one big country that seems to proclaim weekly sanctions against some other country,” he said, in a reference to US actions against Russia and others.

“Black swans are more important than supply and demand in the oil market at the moment, but it is good we have common ground in the oil markets,” Novak added.

In a keynote speech later, President Putin said that the OPEC+ deal was “the first-ever successful interaction between OPEC and non-OPEC.

“What matters is supply predictability and reliability. We have a business-like approach with our energy partners in Europe and the rest of the world, of a commercial nature with no political reasoning,” Putin added.

Mohammed Barkindo, secretary general of OPEC, told delegates: “OPEC+ has become a reliable and dependable source of supply. The world should not panic.”

Case against Ghosn excuse to get him out of Nissan, claim lawyers

Updated 13 November 2019

Case against Ghosn excuse to get him out of Nissan, claim lawyers

  • The former motor giant chief’s legal team has alleged that both his arrest and the prosecution efforts have been illegal

TOKYO: The drama surrounding the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, former boss of motor giants Nissan and Renault, has yet to reach its climax. Yet the plot continues to thicken with each new development.

On Monday, Ghosn’s defense lawyers unveiled court submissions highlighting the circumstances in which the 65-year-old executive was arrested and subsequently held in detention.

“We believe that Mr. Carlos Ghosn is innocent. We believe that the arrest and the prosecution efforts thus far are illegal and therefore Mr. Ghosn should be immediately released,” the head of his defense team, Junichiro Hironaka, said during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo on Monday.

Hironaka claimed that Nissan wanted to kick out Carlos Ghosn from the company and therefore put together a team dedicated to searching around for something that would justify them to do that.

“This prosecution motion wasn’t initiated because the prosecution side believed that Mr. Ghosn had committed an illegal act. Fundamentally there is a problem with this being treated as a criminal act,” he said.

Hironaka further said that the prosecutor’s office is supposed to be acting in the public good for everyone and not behalf of a specific corporation.

“From the investigation level, there were various problems and mistakes with this case. Furthermore, the Japanese persecution office can’t reach overseas so they rely on Nissan employees to go into Mr. Ghosn’s offices and residences and removed objects illegally,” he said.

Hironaka said there is no evidence to support the alleged wrongdoing claim that Nissan made payments to SBA in Oman, and Ghosn re-directed that money to himself or his family.

“The amounts that were paid by Nissan matched exactly the amounts due to SBA,” he said.

The lawyer had a similar response to the reports connecting some donations by Ghosn to a school in Lebanon that would somehow benefit himself. “There is absolutely no evidence or factual basis for indicating that,” Hironaka said.

He said that his team is trying to access correct information and find out what evidence the prosecution might have.

“I have made an effort to share information with the media, including the foreign media, during this whole pre-trial motion,” he said.

Under the Japanese system, the prosecutors are not required to disclose all the evidence at their disposal. Japanese law requires that prosecutors must disclose anything related to any evidence related to the specific filings they make.

They must also disclose any evidence that is related to the filings that are made by the defense counsel. However, there is no requirement for them to disclose evidence from other parts.

Ghosn was arrested at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Nov. 19, 2018, on multiple charges related to his stewardship of the two companies.

The cases involved not only Nissan-Renault and Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors (part of the Franco-Japanese alliance), but also the Japanese and French governments along with various key players from Asia and the Middle East.

Nissan was on the brink of bankruptcy in March 1999, with about 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) in interest-bearing debt.

This is when it entered a capital partnership with major French automaker Renault SA. Ghosn has been credited for turning the company around dramatically since then.

However, fears that the high-profile CEO and chairman was planning to merge Nissan into a much larger multinational motor alliance appeared to have fueled speculation regarding the future of the company.

It was reportedly argued within Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government that the automaker would no longer be recognizably Japanese.

The case has larger ramifications and the two governments have routinely become involved in discussions related to its future.

According to news reports, when Macron and Abe met in Buenos Aires, the French president asked that the Franco-Japanese alliance be maintained.

On being asked by Arab News Japan about reports of a prosecution team visiting Saudi Arabia and Oman, Hironaka confirmed that the visit indeed took place after Ghosn’s arrest.

“However, we have not been given any access to any information that they may or may not have gathered there,” he said.