US not concerned by any new OPEC output cut, says Brouillette

Optimism in oil market is growing that we could see Beijing resume some normalcy in travel and trade outside of the Hubei province, says analyst. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 12 February 2020

US not concerned by any new OPEC output cut, says Brouillette

  • Oil prices rise to $54 a barrel on Tuesday, recovering from a 13-month low

VIENNA: The US is not concerned by moves being considered by OPEC and its allied producers to curb oil production further, US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said on Tuesday.

A technical panel that advises the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, led by Russia, have proposed an additional output cut of 600,000 barrels per day (bpd), three sources told Reuters last week.

OPEC is meeting next month in Vienna.

The group of producers, known as OPEC+, has already been implementing cuts of 1.2 million bpd since January 2019 to reduce the global supply glut and prop up crude prices.

“We’re not concerned about the decision that OPEC may make and whatever decision they make will be good for them and we appreciate what they’re doing,” Brouillette told reporters on the sidelines of a conference at the UN nuclear watchdog’s headquarters in Vienna.

“They’re going to meet and they’re going to make a determination and a decision that’s best suited for them but I think their ability to impact oil prices in the manner in which they did, you know, three, four, five decades ago is just fundamentally different,” Brouillette said.

Meanwhile, oil rose to $54 a barrel on Tuesday, recovering from a 13-month low as the number of new coronavirus cases slowed in China, easing some concerns about lengthy destruction of oil demand.

Brent crude rose $1.07 to $54.34 a barrel, having dropped on Monday to its lowest since January last year at $53.11. US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 89 cents at $50.46.

“The bottom seems to be in place for oil prices,” said Edward Moya, analyst at brokerage OANDA.

“Optimism is growing that we could see Beijing resume some normalcy in travel and trade outside of the Hubei province.”

Investors remain wary that China’s oil demand could take a further hit if the coronavirus cannot be contained and if OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, fail to agree on further steps to support prices.

“Though oil is recovering again today, the lack of any coordinated action by OPEC+ means that oversupply concerns are likely to retain the upper hand,” said Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg.

Oil rose alongside a rally in world equities, which resumed their climb toward record highs on Tuesday on hopes the virus is peaking.


UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

Updated 21 September 2020

UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

  • Egyptian campaign aims to return the lake to its previous state and revive local fishing industry

CAIRO: The UAE National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has announced that it won the rights to the expansion project of Lake Manzala in Egypt, valued at 600 million UAE dirhams ($163 million).

The company’s announcement of the new project came following a disclosure published on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website. It ensures compliance with the principle of disclosure and transparency in force in the UAE.

Lake Manzala is one of Egypt’s largest natural lakes. It is known for its potential fishing opportunities, as it has the basis for high fish stocks due to natural nutrients and a moderate climate throughout the year. It produces about half of the natural fish production in lakes.

The lake has witnessed neglect in recent years, losing much of its importance and wealth. In May 2017 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched a national project to develop Egyptian lakes, with a key focus on Lake Manzala.

NMDC said in a statement that winning the project came through its partnership with the Egyptian-Emirati Challenge Company. It said that it will take about two years to implement the project.

NMDC is one of the leading companies in the field of dredging, land reclamation and civil and marine construction in the Middle East. The Lake Manzala development project aims to improve the quality of water to restore free fishing and return the lake to its previous state, which will boost the local market and export output.

President El-Sisi said that Lake Manzala will contribute to enhancing Egypt’s fishing industry, and export operations will be activated after its full development. He directed the border governorates, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the Armed Forces, to remove all encroachments and criminal outposts on the lake.

Several days ago, Dakahlia governorate completed a difficult operation to remove encroachments on the lake. A large campaign that used Armed Forces Engineering Authority equipment removed 301 houses in the Abdo El-Salhy area in El-Matareya city, known as the “fishermen’s land,” which was built on areas that were filled in from the lake. The operation occurred after local fishermen were persuaded to obtain compensation for vacating their houses.

Magdy Zaher, executive director of Manzala Lake, said that the engineering authority used 320 excavators and 20 imported suction dredgers to work in the lake.

The authority dredged the upper islands isolated from the water with the help of an Emirati bulldozing company to increase the efficiency and purification of Lake Manzala.

Zaher said the lake project will require several steps.

The most important is the removal of encroachments on the water surface and doubling its area to 250,000 feddans, he said. Dredging and deepening the lake, opening the gates and extending the radial channels to allow Mediterranean waters to enter the lake will follow, he added.

A safety belt will come in the form of a road 80 km long and 30 meters wide, which will surround the lake and prevent future encroachments. It will also divert the course of the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant, which pours 12 million cubic meters of sanitary, industrial and agricultural drainage into the lake, Zaher said.