Egypt, Iraq move forward with oil-for-reconstruction plan

Egypt, Iraq move forward with oil-for-reconstruction plan
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Delegations from Egypt and Iraq discuss bilateral ties in Baghdad. (Supplied)
Egypt, Iraq move forward with oil-for-reconstruction plan
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Flames shoot out of a chimney at Petroleum Pipelines Company (PPC) along a highway of Alexandria, Egypt December 6, 2020. (REUTERS)
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Updated 14 December 2020

Egypt, Iraq move forward with oil-for-reconstruction plan

Egypt, Iraq move forward with oil-for-reconstruction plan
  • Deal will see Egyptian firms implement development projects in Iraq in return for oil

CAIRO: The oil-for-reconstruction agreement signed between Egypt and Iraq will enter into bilateral implementation as soon as constitutional procedures are complete, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly has said.

Last month, the Egyptian government said it had reached a preliminary consensus with Iraq on establishing the mechanism.

The prime minister added that there is a presidential directive to begin a number of joint projects, pending the completion of ratification procedures.

Madbouly said Egypt is ready to provide any raw materials, supplies or equipment to the Iraqi side. He added that Egypt is keen to overcome any routine measures that may hinder the activation of the agreement, and prepare a presidential directive to form a permanent follow-up committee for the projects.

The agreement will see Egyptian companies implement development projects in Iraq in return for quantities of oil imported by Egypt.

Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla recently said that support for petroleum products in Egypt fell by 46 percent in the first quarter of the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The Egyptian prime minister also said that a tripartite summit between Egypt, Iraq and Jordan is scheduled to be held during the first quarter of next year, in order to announce a number of joint projects between the three countries.

Madbouly stressed the importance of setting up implementation mechanisms, so that preparations for the upcoming tripartite summit can be completed.

Iraqi Minister of Planning Khaled Battal said that Iraq is keen to arrive at a specific list of development projects, which will be implemented in cooperation with the Egyptian side.

FASTFACTS

• The agreement will enter into bilateral implementation after constitutional procedures are complete.

• The Egyptian government reached a preliminary consensus with Iraq last month on establishing the mechanism.

“In the next few years, a specific list of projects that will be implemented will be reached, provided that it includes one or two projects nominated by each of the relevant ministries, and that there will be continuous follow-up by the relevant ministries on both sides, bearing in mind that a specific timetable will be set for the implementation of these projects, which has been agreed upon between the two sides,” Battal said.

Egyptian-Iraqi relations have developed significantly in recent months, culminating in 15 new agreements signed during Madbouly’s visit to Baghdad last month.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi ordered the rapid implementation of joint projects with Iraq and gave his support for security and stability in the cooperation.

During his meeting with Iraq’s deputy prime minister and minister of planning, El-Sisi stressed the fundamentals of the Egyptian policy in support of Iraq. He said Egypt will help Iraq boost its “Arab national role” and overcome challenges.

A large group of Egyptian factories recently laid out an ambitious plan to benefit from the oil-for-reconstruction agreement.

Last week saw meetings with Iraqi delegations to examine business opportunities for the factories.

Samir Aref, head of the Tenth of Ramadan Investors Association, said that factories have a “great desire” to take advantage of the Iraqi market, which will play a major role in increasing sales.

Aref added that more meetings will take place between Egypt and Iraq in the coming period to learn how to activate and benefit from trade opportunities.


OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 10 sec ago

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting

OPEC+ likely to be cautious on oil demand at upcoming meeting
  • Opec+ is a group consisting of both Opec and some of the world's largest non-Opec oil exporting nations

RIYADH: The OPEC+ group is likely to take a cautious stance when deciding next week whether to go ahead with planned production increases following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant has emerged, Geneva-based oil trader Vitol Group said. 

The new variant, named Omicron, has rattled the oil market globally, pushing prices down to their biggest decline since April 2020. 

There are signs that demand may be weakening in some markets going into the winter months in Asia and Europe, said Mike Muller, the head of the Asia unit at Vitol, as reported by Bloomberg.

The new coronavirus variant will probably lead to more flight cancellations this week, he said.

Several countries have tightened travel restrictions against a number of African countries, following the discovery.

Opec+ is a group consisting of both Opec and some of the world's largest non-Opec oil exporting nations.

“OPEC+ have erred on the side of caution,” Muller said on a weekly webinar by Dubai consultancy Gulf Intelligence.

“Post facto they’ve proven to be right. It is likely they will take into account these fundamentals and the possibility of a demand hit over the winter months.”

OPEC and its partners, including Russia, will meet next week to discuss whether it will implement a planned production increase of 400,000 barrels per day.

 


Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC

Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 41 min 53 sec ago

Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC

Qatar’s wealth fund might acquire $7bn gas assets from UK’s National Grid: CNBC
  • Goldman Sachs and Barclays are advising National Grid on the sale

RIYADH: Qatar Investment Authority (QIA),  the country’s sovereign wealth fund, may acquire assets of the UK’s National Grid, which operates electricity and natural gas transmission networks, CNBC Arabia reported, citing two unnamed sources.

QIA was part of a consortium of investors that acquired about 61 percent of the British company's gas pipeline assets five years ago.

Now the Qatari fund is competing with other global investment funds, including Macquarie and Equitix, to acquire the gas assets in an estimated $7 billion deal, the sources said. 

Goldman Sachs and Barclays are advising National Grid on the sale, the report added.

This comes amid a protracted energy crisis that has affected the UK and Europe significantly in recent months amid the disruption of global supply chains. 

The country earlier announced it reached an agreement with Qatar to secure its gas needs or 40 percent of the UK’s total energy mix. 

National Grid has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing in the form of its American depositary receipts on the New York Stock Exchange.


Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office

Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office
Updated 28 November 2021

Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office

Amazon to open Abu Dhabi fulfilment centre by 2024, says govt media office

 Amazon has partnered with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) to establish a fulfilment centre by 2024 to be built in accordance with the company's carbon-reduction strategies, the Abu Dhabi government's media office said on Sunday


The project will create thousands of jobs, boosting Abu Dhabi's logistics sector and retail ecosystem and will be in line with the UAE's ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the media office added.


Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister

Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister
Updated 28 November 2021

Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister

Gulf countries to establish integrated industrial strategy: Bahraini minister

Countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are planning to set up an integrated industrial strategy, Bahraini Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Zayed Alzayani said.

This will be done by creating a unified “Gulf strategy for industry,” Asharq Al-Awsat reported, citing him.

The Gulf countries are also trying to increase dependence on each other instead of importing raw materials from abroad, which Alzayani said could create jobs, diversify economies, and expand their exporting values. 

He added the region is heading towards the formation of a customs and economic union by 2025, and the integrated industrial system will help the Gulf to stand among global conglomerates as a single bloc.

When combined, Gulf countries are the 12th largest economy globally, the minister said, adding their aim to be among the top 10 biggest economies in the world.

 


Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 

Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 28 November 2021

Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 

Lebanon launches second licensing round for 8 offshore oil, gas blocks 
  • The US is mediating between Lebanon and Israel, who are technically at war, to resolve the dispute

RIYADH: Lebanon has launched the second licensing round for eight offshore oil and gas blocks after two years of delay.

The government had agreed to launch the second round in April 2019 but it was postponed due to the pandemic, Bloomberg reported.

The US is mediating between Lebanon and Israel, who are technically at war, to resolve the dispute over about 860 square kilometers of water.

The deadline for applications is June 15, according to the Lebanese Petroleum Administration.