Oil demand drops as virus surges: IEA

Oil demand drops as virus surges: IEA
The Occidental Petroleum Corp. enhanced oil recovery project in Hobbs, New Mexico. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 May 2021

Oil demand drops as virus surges: IEA

Oil demand drops as virus surges: IEA
  • Outlook for a strong rebound in energy demand in the second half of the year remains unchanged

PARIS: Oil demand dropped last month as the coronavirus surged in India and elsewhere, the IEA said Wednesday, in a reminder that the global recovery from the pandemic remains fragile.
Nevertheless, the International Energy Agency said in its latest monthly report that its outlook for a strong rebound in energy demand in the second half of the year remains unchanged as expanding vaccination programs allow the global economic recovery to power ahead.
The IEA said that global oil demand fell by 130,000 barrels per day in April from March, and remains lower than at the end of last year.
“The recovery in global oil demand remains fragile as surging COVID-19 cases in countries such as India and Thailand offset recent more positive trends in Europe and the US,” it said.
The IEA lowered slightly its forecast for overall demand growth this year, to an increase of 5.4 million barrels per day (mbd), due to the pandemic’s continued grip on much of the world at the beginning of the year.
However, it still sees demand nearly recovering to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year. It forecasts global oil demand to reach 99.6 mbd in the fourth quarter of this year, not far off the 100.6 in the final quarter of 2019.
But the IEA doesn’t forecast supply to rise as sharply as demand with OPEC+ producers not fully ramping up production.
At the start of the Covid-19 crisis OPEC and its allies including Russia failed to agree to restrain production, instead they ramped it up to gain market share, resulting in a crash in prices that even saw some oil contracts briefly turn negative.
That also resulted in inventory levels surging higher. That overhang in inventories is only now being worked off as OPEC+ continue to only slowly increase output after having cut it sharply last year to stabilize prices.
If the group continues along its current path the gap in demand for its products and production could reach 2.5 million barrels per day by the final quarter of this year, the IEA estimates.
Even if Iran reaches a deal easing sanctions the gap would still be 1.7 mbd, it added.
A reduction in inventories in coming months would give OPEC+ nations greater leverage over prices.
The countries have the ability to rapidly increase output to meet demand.


Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO
Updated 14 sec ago

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Private healthcare investors set for huge returns over the next ten years, claims tech firm CEO

Investors in the digital health industry will see a return of up to 35 percent every year for the next decade, according to the head of a global technology firm.

Peter Ohnemus, president and CEO of Zurich-based dacadoo, talked up the rise of the sector during a discussion on investing in medical innovations at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad.

He said that the global value of the digitial health industry for 2021 has been estimated at $26billion, but it is forecast to grow to $238.9 billion industry within seven years.

He said: “From an investment perspective going forward over the next ten years will provide a very high return. 

“The integrated digital health sector will create a 30-35 percent return every year over the next decade.”

Ohnemus said that healthcare providers needed to make it simpler for people to understand what they needed to do to stave off chronic illnesses, and the cost implications of developing such conditions. 

Another CEO, Ali Parsa from London-based Babylon Health, also flagged up the costs involved in what he dubbed the “sick caring industry”, saying: “70 percent of all expenditure goes to predictable preventable diseases.”


SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
Updated 1 min 13 sec ago

SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021

 SABB reports profit of $750 million in first 9 months of 2021
  • The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) recorded a seismic leap of 157 percent in net profit after Zakat and income tax of SR2.8 billion ($750m) for the first 9 months of 2021, compared to the loss of SR4.8 billion in the same period last year. 

“It is worth reiterating that we are in the investment phase of our newly announced five-year strategic plan, where we will be taking the necessary steps to develop the Bank into an institution fit to meet the future needs of our customers,” chairman of SABB, Lubna Olayan, said.

“We are investing considerably across the business front-to-back, to ensure that we remain relevant and can create a sustainable banking organization,” she added.  

The chairman reiterated the bank’s efforts to support Saudi’s Vision 2030 plan and unlock the opportunities brought by the economic transformation plans. 


Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction
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Updated 17 min ago

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

Qatar Energy to launch green bonds in 2022; state commits to emissions reduction

RIYADH: Qatar Energy is looking to raise between $5 to $10 billion from issuing green bonds, banking sources told CNBC Arabia.

Qatar Energy is developing an environmental framework in collaboration with global investment banks, including Goldman Sachs, to move into the green bond market in conjunction with the global trend towards reducing carbon emissions, sources said.

The offering is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2022 or by the end of June 2022, sources added.

Separately, Reuters reported that the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change in Qatar launched a national climate change action plan aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030.

The plan also envisioned reducing "carbon intensity" of its liquefied natural gas facilities by 25 percent by the same year.

Qatar's move follows other Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia which announced its net-zero emission target by 2060 ahead of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow next week.


Qatar is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and aims to expand LNG production to 127 million tonnes annually by 2027. It says its gas production helps combat climate change globally because it can help the world shift from high-polluting fuels like oil and coal to renewable energies.


Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims
Updated 28 October 2021

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

Saudi Arabia will welcome a million cruise ship passengers by 2028, Cruise Saudi MD claims

A million cruise ship passengers will visit Saudi Arabia by 2028 according to ambitious plans set out by the managing director of the country’s Cruise Saudi company.

Fawaz Farooqui set out the goal during a session at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, as he also claimed 50,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created by the industry by 2035.

He also pledged that five cruise ports will operate in Saudi Arabia by 2025.

Farooqui added that plans for Cruise Saudi had been hampered by the pandemic, and said: “Our plan was to bring the first cruise passenger in 2023, but the pandemic hit and many unfortunate incidents happened to the industry.”

Farooqui’s comments came just days after Cruise Saudi became a member of the World Travel & Tourism Council as the Kingdom continues its drive to diversify its economy away from oil as per the Vision 2030 agenda.


‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice
Updated 28 October 2021

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

‘Like fire and nuclear, there must be rules for AI,’ says leading tech voice

Humanity needs rules for dealing with artificial intelligence (AI) in the same way it learned to manage fire and nuclear technology, one of the sector’s up and coming voices has claimed.

Bruno Maisonnier, founder and CEO of AI firm AnotherBrain, admitted there was a danger with the new technology, but that is no different from every major discovery since the dawn of man.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyad, Maisonnier said: “There’s risk with AI as well as there are risk with every new technology, that’s part of human history 

“We brought fire and people died from fire, we brought nuclear and people died from that . 

“Each time we have the same reaction: First we fear and then we start to put the feedback and learn and put rules to get the positive out of this technology

“The same goes with AI. The question is when do we have to set these rules?

“Rules must be put but first we must allow the evolution to happen.”

Also speaking at the forum, Pascal Weinberger, CEO and co-founder of tech firm Bardeen AI, insisted that machines will never be able to fully replace humans in many environments.

“There are a lot of things that machines are better at than humans, and vice versa — especially at common sense,” he said.