Russia blames missed oil target on rise in gas condensate output

Russia blames missed oil target on rise in gas condensate output
Installation work at the Moscow oil refinery is shown in this photo taken in 2017. (Shutterstock image)
Updated 21 October 2019

Russia blames missed oil target on rise in gas condensate output

Russia blames missed oil target on rise in gas condensate output
  • Output falls but remains above global production cap as minister vows country will work to fulfill its obligations
  • OPEC, Russia and other oil producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from the start of this year

MOSCOW: Russia produced more oil in September than envisaged by a global deal due to an increase in gas condensate output as the country prepared for winter, local news agencies reported on Sunday.

Russian oil output edged down to 11.25 million barrels per day (bpd) last month from August’s 11.29 million bpd, but remained above the cap set under the global production deal.

Under the accord reached between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allied producers, Russia has agreed to reduce output by 228,000 bpd from an October 2018 baseline.

Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said the reduction totaled 200,000 bpd last month. He reiterated that the country would strive to fulfil its obligations this month in full.

“We had specific obligations related, among other factors, to dealing with the winter period, with the production of gas condensate,” TASS news agency quoted Novak as saying.

Output of gas condensate, a light oil, is included in Russian statistics on total oil production.

OPEC, Russia and other oil producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from the start of this year.

OPEC and its allies will meet on Dec. 5-6 in Vienna to review output policy.

Market participants believe the group known as OPEC+ could decide to extend production cuts “and wait until world demand catches up with the supply situation,” Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates in Houston said last week.

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo has said deeper output cuts are an option and that OPEC would do what it could with allied producers to sustain oil market stability beyond 2020.

OPEC, Russia and other producers have agreed to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020.


UAE-based venture builder eyes Saudi startup market

UAE-based venture builder eyes Saudi startup market
Updated 2 min 45 sec ago

UAE-based venture builder eyes Saudi startup market

UAE-based venture builder eyes Saudi startup market
  • Hatch and Boost has launched two tech startups in the UAE, with three more in the pipeline

DUBAI: Hatch & Boost, an Abu Dhabi-based venture builder (VB), was officially launched this week to spur further growth in the region’s hyperactive startup scene, particularly supporting homegrown “impact-driven business models.”

The venture builder will co-create startups alongside entrepreneurs – from concept stage to market introduction – and help to reduce costs by offering a shared pool of resources to participants.

“Our mission at Hatch & Boost is to bridge the gap between ideation and growth through our unique venture building model, which offers hands-on support from a startup’s early-most stages,” Faris Mesmar, the VB’s co-founder and managing partner, said.

Hatch and Boost has launched two tech startups in the UAE, with three more in the pipeline.

“The startup scene in the UAE has evolved considerably in recent years, and today it is a hotspot for startup activity, supported by an excellent entrepreneur-friendly infrastructure,” Mesmar added.

This startup outlook also applies to Saudi Arabia, he told Arab News, adding that they plan to bring the venture builder to the Kingdom to capitalize on its potential.

“KSA is on our radar, predominantly because it is a flourishing market with an ecosystem that’s suitable for startups,” he said.

“The PIF (Public Investment Fund) is a great example of this, as it continues to move the needle on supporting the startup ecosystem and creating a successful SME infrastructure,” Faris explained.

He added: “We have our eyes on the market, as do investors, on the rising talent and wave of entrepreneurship in the Kingdom.”


As travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, Emirates adds more Maldives and Seychelles flights

As travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, Emirates adds more Maldives and Seychelles flights
Updated 13 min 47 sec ago

As travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, Emirates adds more Maldives and Seychelles flights

As travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, Emirates adds more Maldives and Seychelles flights
  • Remote location demand on the increase
  • Gulf carriers respond to emerging travel trends

LONDON: Emirates is increasing services to the Maldives and Seychelles as travelers seek out space and luxury after a year of travel restrictions.
It comes as the region’s big carriers position themselves for an upswing in demand for travel as vaccine programs are rolled out and flying restrictions eased.
Such routes are expected to become more important amid a much slower anticipated return of premium travel, where Gulf airlines including Emirates and Qatar Airways have a strong market presence.
Both Emirates and regional hub rival Qatar Airways are seeing strong demand for Maldives getaways as the pair gradually resume flying to more destinations.
“Space is becoming the sought after commodity for many travelers and there has already been capacity added to destinations such as these by several airlines,” aviation consultant John Strickland told Arab News. “Such destinations can support a price premium too for similar reasons and when demand is broadly so weak any opportunity for airlines to tap into higher margin traffic will be welcome.”
Starting March 28, the Dubai carrier will increase services to both destinations ahead of the Easter break. It will increase its weekly Maldives service to 28 flights from the current 24. At the same time the Seychelles route will move to seven-times-a-week from the current five.
A recent report from the World Travel Tourism Council highlighted rising anticipated demand for remote destinations and beach vacations post-pandemic.
Aileen Clemente, CEO of Rajah Travel Corporation, predicted there would be “an emergence of new destinations in isolated locations as consumers veer away from ‘massification.’”
All travelers to the Maldives, excluding Maldives citizens, must present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test result, conducted within 96 hours prior to departure. Passengers must also complete an online Immigration and health self‑declaration form within 24 hours prior to arrival. Meanwhile travelers to the Seychelles will still be required to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.


Bahrain bank waives loan fees for customers having had COVID-19 vaccine

Bahrain bank waives loan fees for customers having had COVID-19 vaccine
Updated 19 min 12 sec ago

Bahrain bank waives loan fees for customers having had COVID-19 vaccine

Bahrain bank waives loan fees for customers having had COVID-19 vaccine
  • Al Salam Bank is also offering a range of financial services, such as those related to the Mazaya social housing program

DUBAI: A Bahraini bank has waived loan fees for customers vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), part of the country’s bid to encourage people to have the jab.

Al Salam Bank is also offering a range of financial services, such as those related to the Mazaya social housing program, which all come with no administration fees if customers can produce an official medical certificate showing they have had a COVID-19 vaccine.

Mohammed Buhijji, Al Salam Bank’s head of retail banking, said: “We are proud to launch the Al Salam initiative, which aims to encourage all eligible members of the Bahraini community to take the vaccine against COVID-19, as a crucial step toward protecting themselves as individuals as well as the greater community.

“Granting a waiver of administrative fees on all financing facilities to all our customers who have been vaccinated is a reflection of our ongoing support to the public during the current circumstances.”

In late February, Bahrain’s National Health Regulatory Authority announced it had authorized the use of Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine, making it the fifth vaccine authorized in the island nation.

Bahrain was also one of the first countries to introduce a digital COVID-19 vaccine passport, which includes the user’s name, date of birth, nationality, and information on which vaccine they received.


UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion

UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion
Updated 09 March 2021

UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion

UAE-based car-servicing platform raises $10m funding, eyes Gulf expansion
  • Oman’s Bahwan is a prominent family-owned group with interests in the automotive sector

DUBAI: Online car service and repair booking company, Service My Car, has raised $10 million during its first round of seed funding, as technology-driven companies continue to attract investors amid the pandemic.

Oman’s Bahwan, a prominent family-owned group with interests in the automotive sector, announced it was investing in the UAE-based company.

“It is an emerging time for the automotive ecosystem as investors are noticing the benefits of technology and digitization in the industry,” Ozair Puda, chief executive of Service My Car, said in a statement.

The region’s automotive industry has seen a wave of digital-focused companies setting up, including pay-by-minute car rentals. Service My Car was launched in 2018, and has since recorded growth.

“With the infusion of this capital, we are looking forward to extending this convenience, affordability and transparency to all GCC car owners,” Puda said.

The company will also use the fund to expand its service offerings, eventually including roadside assistance, car detailing, and car insurance.


Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and small businesses

Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and  small businesses
Updated 09 March 2021

Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and small businesses

Saudi anti-concealment law to protect consumers and  small businesses
  • The measures relate in large part to the business relationship of Saudis and foreign investors and aim to ensure that they do not circumvent the Kingdom's commercial law

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's "anti-concealment" laws aim to protect consumers and small businesses from financial crime according to the Ministry of Commerce, Al Arabiya reported.
The measures relate in large part to the business relationship of Saudis and foreign investors and aim to ensure that they do not circumvent the Kingdom's commercial law about how such partnerships are created and what happens when they are dissolved.
The regulations support the reporting of crimes and violations by protecting whistleblowers and motivating them through rewards.
Talat Hafiz, a Saudi economist, financial analyst, and board member of the Saudi Financial Association, said commercial concealment is a major financial crime that “works against fair and unjustifiable commercial trading and causes significant harm to the economy and to its gross domestic product.”
“The government of Saudi Arabia has been alerted to such risks and consequences of commercial concealment, and has introduced a very powerful national program to combat such economic and commercial disease,” he added.
Several government bodies are combating concealment besides the Ministry of Commerce, including, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.