OPEC July oil output surges as Gulf voluntary cuts end

OPEC July oil output surges as Gulf voluntary cuts end
An easing of lockdowns and lower supply have helped oil prices to climb above $40 from April’s 21-year low of below $16 a barrel. (Reuters)
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Updated 01 August 2020

OPEC July oil output surges as Gulf voluntary cuts end

OPEC July oil output surges as Gulf voluntary cuts end
  • Lockdown easing and lower supply have helped rise, although second wave concerns keep lid on gains

LONDON: OPEC oil output has risen by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in July as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf members ended their voluntary extra supply curbs on top of an OPEC-led deal, and other members made limited progress on compliance.
The 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries pumped 23.32 million bpd on average in June, the survey found, up 970,000 bpd from June’s revised figure, which was the lowest since 1991.
OPEC and allies agreed in April to a record output cut as the coronavirus crisis hammered demand.
An easing of lockdowns and lower supply have helped oil to climb above $40 from April’s 21-year low of below $16 a barrel, although concerns of a second wave are keeping a lid on gains.
“Upside potential will continue to be in short supply so long as the COVID hangover lingers,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
OPEC, Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to cuts of 9.7 million bpd, or 10 percent of global output, from May 1.
OPEC’s share, to be made by 10 members from October 2018 levels in the case of most countries, is 6.084 million bpd.
In July, they delivered 5.743 million bpd of the pledged reduction, equal to 94 percent compliance, the survey found. Compliance in June was revised up to 111 percent.
July’s increase is the biggest since April, when OPEC briefly pumped at will before the latest supply cut was agreed.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Record OPEC+ oil supply cut took effect on May 1.

• Saudi Arabia boosts supply close to quota levels.

• Easing lockdowns help oil climb above $40.

To further support the market, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE had pledged to cut by an extra 1.18 million bpd in June only.
This helped to curb output last month to OPEC’s lowest since 1991, excluding membership changes, based on Reuters surveys and OPEC figures.
The biggest rise in supply in July came from Saudi Arabia, which pumped 8.4 million bpd, up 850,000 bpd from June and close to its quota, the survey found.
The UAE and Kuwait also boosted output close to their targets. Iraq and Nigeria, which boosted compliance in June and were laggards in previous OPEC+ deals, did not make any further cuts in July, the survey found, with Iraq boosting exports. Both have pledged to make additional reductions in
later months. “The low prices are making life difficult for those OPEC countries that are required to cut their production additionally,” said Eugen Weinberg, analyst at Commerzbank.
Iranian and Libyan supply held steady in July and Venezuelan output dropped further. All three are exempt from voluntary cuts because of US sanctions or internal issues limiting output. Libyan output has plunged since January due to a blockade of ports and fields by groups loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar.
The Reuters survey aims to track supply to the market and is based on shipping data provided by external sources, Refinitiv Eikon flows data, information from tanker-trackers such as Petro-Logistics and Kpler, and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants.


Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases

Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases
Updated 32 min 33 sec ago

Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases

Saudi vegetable traders accuse consumers over price increases
  • Consumers buy more than they need during Ramadan, traders said

RIYADH: Vegetable traders and wholesalers in Saudi Arabia have blamed over-buying by consumers for price rises during the first days of Ramadan.

Prices have now returned to normal after doubling in some cases following a flurry of purchases at the beginning of the holy month, they told Al Watan newspaper.

The increase in vegetable prices was limited to 6 or 7 local agricultural products, while imported product prices are fixed, they said. There is no shortage of vegetables in the Kingdom’s markets, they added.

“We witness the unjustified rush of consumers of double shopping that exceeds the actual need, every year with the advent of the holy month, not only for vegetables, but for various food products,” a vegetable merchant said.

A vegetable trader in the Kingdom said that citizens should maintain the usual consumption of vegetables in Ramadan to ensure the stability of prices. He said that most of the customers deliberately buy above their actual needs at the beginning of Ramadan, which causes increased demand and higher prices.

“The farmers and suppliers are the ones who set the price and cause it to rise when the demand from consumers increases, while our role does not exceed the disposal of the product with a small profit,” he said.

Consumers on the other hand accused traders, farmers and suppliers of unjustified price increases with the advent of Ramadan.


PIF’s Innovative Energy nears completion of ADES International acquisition

PIF’s Innovative Energy nears completion of ADES International acquisition
Updated 23 April 2021

PIF’s Innovative Energy nears completion of ADES International acquisition

PIF’s Innovative Energy nears completion of ADES International acquisition
  • Innovative Energy has acquired 98.6 percent of ADES shares
  • ADES to be delisted from LSE within 20 days

RIYADH: Public Investment Fund (PIF)-owned Innovative Energy Holding is close to completing its acquisition of UK-listed oil and gas services provider ADES International Holding.

The cash offer from Innovative Energy has been declared unconditional in all respects, ADES said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Thursday. Innovative Energy has acquired or contracted to acquire 98.6 percent of ADES International and is commencing the compulsory acquisition process to acquire the remainder of the ADES shares.

The offer price of $12.50 per share in cash for each ADES share values the existing issued share capital (excluding Treasury Shares) of ADES International at approximately $516 million.

Innovative Energy intends to apply a request to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority to remove the listing of ADES shares from the official list, and it will also submit a request to the London Stock Exchange to cancel trading of ADES shares, which is anticipated to take effect about 20 business from 21 April.

ADES accepted Innovative Energy’s $516 million offer to take it private in early March.

Following the completion of the transaction, ADES Investments Holding will own 57.5 percent of Innovative Energy, PIF will own 32.5% and Zamil Group Investment will hold 10 percent.

ADES International will move its operational headquarters to Saudi Arabia from the UAE, CEO Mohamed Farouk said in the statement.

“The partnership will create a national champion in Saudi Arabia in a critical part of the upstream value chain, said PIF Head of Local Holding Investments Division Yazeed Alhumied.

“Alongside the creation of significant employment opportunities in the Kingdom, this will help localize best-in-class practice and lead to the important knowledge transfer of fuel usage reduction technologies which can deliver both cost savings and environmental benefits,” he said.


Egypt introduces minimum hotel room rates

Egypt introduces minimum hotel room rates
Updated 23 April 2021

Egypt introduces minimum hotel room rates

Egypt introduces minimum hotel room rates
  • Minimum rates will apply to 4-star and 5-star hotels
  • Rates will be enforced from November 2021

RIYADH: Egypt has set minimum room rates for 4-star and 5-star hotels as it aims to improve the quality of services offered to tourists.

Guests at 4-star hotels must be charged at least $25 per person per night, while 5-star hotels must charge $40 or more, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Khaled Al-Anani said, Al Arabiya reported citing a ministerial statement.

The decision is scheduled to take effect from November 1, 2021.

Egypt’s tourism revenues fell by about 69 percent during the past year as international travel was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic.


Miners seek gold under the desert sands after Egypt changes rules

Miners seek gold under the desert sands after Egypt changes rules
Updated 23 April 2021

Miners seek gold under the desert sands after Egypt changes rules

Miners seek gold under the desert sands after Egypt changes rules
  • Five firms have signed gold exploration contracts
  • Government seeking $1 billion of investment annually

CAIRO: Mining companies awarded blocks in Egypt’s Eastern Desert are set to start exploring for gold under a legislative overhaul that seeks eventually to unlock vast untapped mineral resources.
Despite plentiful reserves and a rich mining history that gave rise to elaborate Pharaonic gold jewelry, Egypt has just one commercial gold mine in operation. Foreign investment in oil and gas has grown, but mining has languished.
Now, the country is banking on high gold prices and amended mining laws that scrap red tape and a profit-sharing rule, unpopular in the industry, to lure interest.
One year after launching its first bid round under the new rules, it has so far clinched five gold exploration contracts in a first bidding round and kept the tendering system rolling as it tries to build momentum.
The government is looking to attract $1 billion in annual investments in mining, a target industry sources say could be within reach.
“Success is ultimately going to be measured by how many mines are going to be discovered and advanced to production,” said Patrick Barnes, Head of Metals & Mining Consulting EMEARC at Wood Mackenzie, which advised Egypt’s government on its mining law reforms.
“Early indicators show us that this bid round was much better than the ones held previously.”
In its initial tender, Egypt in November awarded 82 exploration blocks to what metals analysts say is a healthy mix of 11 companies, ranging from junior explorers to industry giants such as Barrick Gold.
The blocks on offer are in the Arabian-Nubian shield geological formation, which flanks the Red Sea and is believed to be one of the most mineral rich areas in the world.
Egypt’s mining drive is still at an early stage.
UK-based Altus Strategies told Reuters it was looking to build up its technical team and conduct remote sensing and mapping operations on the 1,500 square kilometers of land it has been awarded before starting exploration.
It expects to invest several million dollars in the short term but that could rise above $100-$200 million if a economic discovery is made.
A spokeswoman for Canada-based B2Gold, which also won concessions, said the company was looking forward to starting exploration soon “given the relative under-investment in modern exploration, and therefore untapped potential in the historically prospective Arabian-Nubian Shield.”
Mining firms welcomed the elimination of a requirement to form joint ventures with the Egyptian government, and the capping of state royalties at 20 percent.
However, the retention of a tendering process for exploration blocks limits the chances of any gold boom, said Sami El Raghy, Chairman of Australia-based Nordana.
“No other successful mining countries use this process. They all have a clear transparent mining laws stipulating the qualification, obligations and the rights of investors. (They) work on the principle first come, first served,” said El Raghy, who was also a founder of Egypt’s first and only commercial gold mine, Sukari.
The Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources declined to comment.
On average, a mining project goes from discovery to production in 10-15 years. While gold prices have eased after reaching a record in 2020, economists expect they will remain high by historical standards over coming years.
“If you get to a point where several discoveries are made, Egypt could be one of the largest gold producers in Africa ... It had top-tier potential,” said Steven Poulton, CEO of Altus Strategies.
Environmental campaigners, however, say there is no justification for gold mining. It generates emissions, can add to water-stress and in contrast to copper and battery minerals is not in demand from technologies that can bring about a low carbon economy.
The government has said it is open to other minerals, but gold is the focus for now.
“Gold is absolutely the best thing for them to start with, because there’s a known amount of it,” said Wood Mackenzie’s Barnes.
“Egypt has immense potential for mining copper and gold and other commodities. The biggest concern in the industry is lack of supply for copper, places like Egypt which are considered under explored and high potential are going to get a lot of attention if they can maintain investment conditions,” he added.


Dubai denies rumors it issued gambling licenses

Dubai denies rumors it issued gambling licenses
Updated 23 April 2021

Dubai denies rumors it issued gambling licenses

Dubai denies rumors it issued gambling licenses
  • Dubai issues statement through its Twitter account
  • Rumors claimed gambling would begin in Dubai during Eid

RIYADH: Dubai denied social media reports that the emirate has issued gambling licenses to some hotels.

“What was circulated on some social media platforms about issuing permits for some establishments in Dubai to engage in gambling activity are just unfounded rumors,” the Dubai Government Media Office said on its Twitter account on Thursday.

The statement was issued in response to rumors that several hotels in Dubai had obtained permits for gambling and would begin offering it on Eid Al-Fitr.

Under UAE law, gambling or any activity thing that disturbs the public morals can be punished by imprisonment and fines ranging from 250,000 dirhams to 500,000 dirhams.