OPEC+ compromises on oil supply increase

OPEC+ compromises on oil supply increase
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman. (File/AFP)
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Updated 04 December 2020

OPEC+ compromises on oil supply increase

OPEC+ compromises on oil supply increase
  • Members acknowledge the ‘extraordinary efforts’ of Saudi energy minister

DUBAI: The world’s biggest oil producers have reached a compromise agreement on the supply of crude oil for next year, in an attempt to ensure an ongoing recovery in markets that remain fragile as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a week of online deliberations, OPEC+, the alliance of producers led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, agreed to increase output from January by only 500,000 barrels per day — significantly less than the 2 million barrels originally planned.
The new levels will be subject to monthly monitoring by OPEC+ ministers, chaired by Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, and could be increased or reduced according to market conditions.
Details of the compromise deal were agreed upon after long discussions among 23 producers, organized from the Vienna home of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
The participants acknowledged the “perseverance, diligence and extraordinary efforts” of Prince Abdul Aziz in helping to combat the effects of the pandemic on global energy markets.
Some exporters had argued that the fragile demand for crude meant the full 2 million-barrel increase — as scheduled in the historic agreement last April that is credited with dragging oil prices back from decade-long lows — should be delayed for a further three months.
Others — most notably the UAE — took a more positive view of demand in the months ahead.
The compromise arrangement was hammered out against a background of rising oil prices after news of effective vaccines lifted economic prospects. Brent crude stood at close to $49 as the OPEC+ meeting closed.
Energy experts welcomed the deal. Robin Mills, chief executive of consultancy Qamar Energy, told Arab News: “The plan to make modest monthly increases makes sense. It does not overwhelm the market, gradually regains some market shares, and can be adjusted according to progress on vaccines.”


Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding
Updated 26 min 50 sec ago

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding

Saudi fintech startup secures $1.2m seed funding
  • The Kingdom has proved to be a fruitful market for investment in startups

RIYADH: A Saudi financial technology company has raised $1.2 million in seed funding.

Hakbah’s success comes six months after the Riyadh-based startup received regulatory approval from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) to operate in the Kingdom.

The specific investors behind the financing have not been revealed.

Founded in late 2018 by Naif AbuSaida, Hakbah specializes in alternative saving and savings groups.

On its LinkedIn profile, the firm describes its mission “is to digitize financial habits by developing innovative savings products that help increase financial inclusion, support a non-cash society, and bridge the gender gap in savings.”

Hakbah graduated from the DIFC Fintech Accelerator Program 2019 in Dubai.

The Kingdom has proved to be a fruitful market for investment in startups. Saudi Arabia recorded a 35 percent year-on-year increase in the number of investment deals in the technology startup sector last year, according to a new industry report.

A study by data research platform Magnitt found that the Kingdom accounted for 18 percent of the 496 investment deals throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region last year.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt were the largest markets, accounting for 68 percent of total deals. However, while the Kingdom saw the number of investment deals increase by more than one-third, the UAE and Egypt witnessed volume decreases of 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

When it came to the monetary value of the deals, Saudi Arabia recorded a surge of 55 percent year-on-year to $152 million.

Nabeel Koshak, CEO at Saudi Venture Capital Co., said: “Saudi Arabia is witnessing an increase in the quality and quantity in the deal flow of startups. I am thrilled by the distinguished entrepreneurs who are creating fast growth and scalable startups.

“Despite the slowdown of (the coronavirus disease) COVID-19, Saudi Arabia saw a record increase in venture capital funding (55 percent) in 2020 compared with 2019.”

In its predictions for this year, Magnitt forecast that Saudi Arabia would overtake Egypt by total number of investments and capital deployed and become second only to the UAE in the rankings.