Saudi Arabia ‘working for sustainable oil prices despite regional tension’

Saudi Arabia is the most ‘reliable and responsible supplier’ of crude, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told an energy conference. (AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Saudi Arabia ‘working for sustainable oil prices despite regional tension’

  • Over 15,000 delegates from 70 countries taking part in global event in Dhahran

DHAHRAN: Saudi Arabia will work for oil market stability at a time of heightened US-Iranian tension and wants to see sustainable prices and demand growth, Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman said on Monday.

He said it was too early to talk about whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, would continue with production curbs agreed under a deal that expires in March.

“As tension remains high in our region, Saudi Arabia will continue to do all it can do to ensure stable oil markets,” the minister said.

He was delivering the keynote address at the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) hosted by Saudi Aramco in Dhahran.

“We would like to have a stable oil market, sustainable growth in terms of demand, sustainable growth in terms of supply,” he said, adding that both high and low prices were undesirable. “The worst thing is to have low oil prices that permanently damage industry.”

Prince Abdul Aziz said the US is a strategic partner with a big role in international security. 

“We’re leaving it to our friends in the US to conduct themselves in the manner they see fit,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is the most “reliable and responsible supplier” of crude, the minister said.

More than 15,000 delegates from 70 countries are taking part in the conference.

Held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 12th edition of this leading international oil and gas conference is being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

With Saudi Arabia hosting the G20 Summit this year, Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser congratulated Saudi government entities on their successful efforts to have the prestigious industry conference held in the Kingdom.

Nasser emphasized the need to transition to a lower carbon energy mix, and highlighted the role that the energy industry has played in creating the economic prosperity that the world enjoys today.

“With IPTC 2020, we have the perfect platform to push forward in our efforts to demonstrate that our industry is an integral part of the long-term solution to global energy challenges,” he said.

We have the capability to be leaders when it comes to addressing the need for more energy with less emissions, and I am confident that our industry has the talent and the innovative mindset required to find the best and most pragmatic solutions.

Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco

“As part of the energy transition, I firmly believe oil and gas will continue to play a significant role for a long time to come,” he added.

“We have the capability to be leaders when it comes to addressing the need for more energy with less emissions, and I am confident that our industry has the talent and the innovative mindset required to find the best and most pragmatic solutions.”

Nasser participated in a plenary session with industry CEOs to discuss the theme: “Vision to Prosperity: A New Energy Era Emerges.”

Aramco’s Senior Vice President — Upstream Mohammed Al-Qahtani, Chief Digital Officer Nabil Al-Nuaim, and Vice President for Petroleum Engineering and Development Nasir K. Al-Naimi are also scheduled to speak during the conference.

The IPTC, which concludes on Wednesday, will for the first time incorporate workshops examining the importance of diversity and inclusion in the sector, an area in which Aramco has significantly advanced in recent years.

Saudi Aramco Chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan also gave a keynote speech.

Al-Rumayyan said the energy sector has entered a new era of challenges, especially in light of the wrong approaches in dispensing with the traditional energy mix and to opt for new energy sources within a few years.

He added that such approaches have serious strategic implications for the future security of the global energy sector.

He said major changes in the sector take a long time to materialize on the ground, and the traditional sector is not currently facing real competition from alternative energy.

Al-Rumayyan stressed the importance of technology and modern technologies in the energy sector’s success and sustainability, to be able to secure energy even in difficult times.

He noted the need to use technology to mitigate the environmental impact of oil and gas, and to provide energy at affordable prices.

This will create great opportunities for companies working in the global energy sector to make progress in meeting aspirations for a clean and environmentally friendly energy mix, he said.

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

Updated 12 August 2020

S&P 500 inches closer to record high

  • US stock market index returns to levels last seen before the onset of coronavirus crisis

NEW YORK: The S&P 500 on Tuesday closed in on its February record high, returning to levels last seen before the onset of the coronavirus crisis that caused one of Wall Street’s most dramatic crashes in history.

The benchmark index was about half a percent below its peak hit on Feb. 19, when investors started dumping shares in anticipation of what proved to be the biggest slump in the US economy since the Great Depression.

Ultra-low interest rates, trillions of dollars in stimulus and, more recently, a better-than-feared second quarter earnings season have allowed all three of Wall Street’s main indexes to recover.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has led the charge, boosted by “stay-at-home winners” Inc., Netflix Inc. and Apple Inc. The index was down about 0.4 percent.

The blue chip Dow surged 1.2 percent, coming within 5 percent of its February peak.

“You’ve got to admit that this is a market that wants to go up, despite tensions between US-China, despite news of the coronavirus not being particularly encouraging,” said Andrea Cicione, a strategist at TS Lombard.

“We’re facing an emergency from the health, economy and employment point of view — the outlook is a lot less rosy. There’s a disconnect between valuation and the actual outlook even though lower rates to some degree justify high valuation.”

Aiding sentiment, President Vladimir Putin claimed Russia had become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval to a COVID-19 vaccine. But the approval’s speed has concerned some experts as the vaccine still must complete final trials.

Investors are now hoping Republicans and Democrats will resolve their differences and agree on another relief program to support about 30 million unemployed Americans, as the battle with the virus outbreak was far from over with US cases surpassing 5 million last week.

Also in focus are Sino-US tensions ahead of high-stakes trade talks in the coming weekend.

“Certainly the rhetoric from Washington has been negative with regards to China ... there’s plenty of things to worry about, but markets are really focused more on the very easy fiscal and monetary policies at this point,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago.

Financials, energy and industrial sectors, that have lagged the benchmark index this year, provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500 on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 was set to rise for the eighth straight session, its longest streak of gains since April 2019.

The S&P 500 was up 15.39 points, or 0.46 percent, at 3,375.86, about 18 points shy of its high of 3,393.52. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 341.41 points, or 1.23 percent, at 28,132.85, and the Nasdaq Composite was down 48.37 points, or 0.44 percent, at 10,919.99.

Royal Caribbean Group jumped 4.6 percent after it hinted at new safety measures aimed at getting sailing going again after months of cancellations. Peers Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and Carnival Corp. also rose.

US mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. gained 4.1 percent despite posting a disappointing second quarter profit, as its CEO expressed some hope over a recovery in retail as lockdown measures in some regions eased.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners 3.44-to-1 on the NYSE and 1.44-to-1 on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 35 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 50 new highs and four new lows.