Oil industry spending cuts hammer services firm CGG

Oil industry spending cuts hammer services firm CGG
Sophie Zurquiyah, CGG CEO
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Updated 13 May 2021

Oil industry spending cuts hammer services firm CGG

Oil industry spending cuts hammer services firm CGG
  • A recent pick up in oil prices helped Europe’s major energy companies to post big increases in first quarter earnings

GDANSK: French oil services group CGG posted a 71 percent plunge in first quarter core profit on Wednesday, reflecting a year of drastic spending cuts by the oil industry in the pandemic and sending its shares sharply lower.

In a call with analysts, CEO Sophie Zurquiyah said the quarter had been slow as expected, but predicted more spending in the second half of 2021, noting a resumption of commercial business and contract awards in March and higher oil prices.

“I believe we will see the need for our clients to increase their activity to not only catch up on the work postponed from 2020, but also to compensate for the depletion of their existing reservoirs,” she told analysts in a call.

Zurquiyah confirmed the firm’s 2021 targets.

A recent pick up in oil prices helped Europe’s major energy companies to post big increases in first quarter earnings.

That could bode well for CGG, which cut jobs and sold out of businesses last year as companies such as BP, Total, and Equinor slashed spending.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Tuesday stuck to its prediction of a strong recovery in world oil demand in 2021, as growth in China and the US counters the coronavirus crisis in India.

OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, agreed in April to gradually ease oil output cuts.

CGG posted a first quarter core profit of $36 million, while its multi-client business — which offers seismic data and geological studies — had just one active project in offshore Brazil. Its stock was down over 9 percent at 0725 GMT, the worst performer on France’s SBF 120 index.


Iraq and Egypt eye enhanced IT cooperation

Iraq and Egypt eye enhanced IT cooperation
Amr Talaat. (Social media)
Updated 19 June 2021

Iraq and Egypt eye enhanced IT cooperation

Iraq and Egypt eye enhanced IT cooperation
  • Talaat underlined the depth of Egyptian and Iraqi relations and stressed the directives from the political leaders of the two countries to intensify joint cooperation

CAIRO: Iraq and Egypt discussed improved cooperation in the fields of communications and IT at a meeting between Amr Talaat, the Egyptian minister of communications and information technology, and his Iraqi counterpart, Arkan Shihab, on Thursday.

Shihab was leading a high-level delegation to Egypt that included government officials and representatives of the Iraqi private sector.

The two ministers chaired a meeting that included executive leaders from both sides, where they discussed mechanisms to boost cooperation, exchange experiences and stimulate joint initiatives in related fields, which were included in an MoU signed between the two countries.

The MoU covered the areas of infrastructure, digital transformation, capacity building, postal services, Arab digital content, innovation and entrepreneurship, cybersecurity research and development and investment in the field of communications, IT and satellites.

Talaat underlined the depth of Egyptian and Iraqi relations and stressed the directives from the political leaders of the two countries to intensify joint cooperation.

There was agreement on a proposal submitted by the Iraqi minister to establish an Egyptian-Iraqi company to start digital transformation projects and the digitization of services in Iraq. A joint team will develop the idea and implement it, Talaat said.

He said a joint committee will be formed to oversee cooperation plans and added that he has accepted the invitation to visit Iraq. He highlighted Egyptian companies’ aspiration to work in the Iraqi market.

Talaat said he and his Iraqi counterpart reviewed the areas of cooperation that had been agreed upon during their meeting with the Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli.

Madbouli hailed Egyptian-Iraqi cooperation in the communication sphere, highlighting President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s directives to the government to offer required support to enhance relations with Iraq.

Shihab said there is a political will to establish real partnerships and open horizons for cooperation between Cairo and Baghdad, given the strategic importance of the two countries.


Accor’s Hyde to open first international property in Dubai

Accor’s Hyde to open first international property in Dubai
Updated 19 June 2021

Accor’s Hyde to open first international property in Dubai

Accor’s Hyde to open first international property in Dubai
  • The new five-star hotel will be located in Business Bay, which is close to the iconic Burj Khalifa

Hyde, a brand under global hospitality group Accor, said that it is launching its first property outside the US in Dubai — set to open in the last quarter of the year.

The new five-star hotel will be located in Business Bay, which is close to the iconic Burj Khalifa. It has 276 rooms and offers canal views.

Developer Emerald Palace Group (EPG) is working with hotel management company SBE to develop the property, which is part of Accor’s expansion plans.

“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Emerald Palace Group on bringing the Hyde brand to Business Bay in Dubai,” said Chadi Farhat, CEO of SBE.

“Hyde Dubai Business Bay will continue to bring additional lifestyle experiences to one of the most vibrant destinations in the world,” he added, saying they are set to bring well-known culinary concepts to the hotel.

The Accor group earlier announced it was expanding its global portfolio of hotels around the world, especially amid a challenging time for tourism and hospitality.

Recent Accor openings include the SLS Dubai and SLS Cancun.


EU threatens Lebanese politicians with sanctions over crisis

EU threatens Lebanese politicians with sanctions over crisis
Updated 19 June 2021

EU threatens Lebanese politicians with sanctions over crisis

EU threatens Lebanese politicians with sanctions over crisis
  • Lebanon’s economic crisis began in late 2019 and has intensified in recent months
  • Borrell said the EU stands ready to assist Lebanon and its people

BEIRUT: The European Union’s foreign policy chief Saturday berated Lebanese politicians for delays in forming a new Cabinet, warning the union could impose sanctions on those behind the political stalemate in the crisis-hit country.
Josep Borrell made his comments at the presidential palace near the capital Beirut after meeting with President Michel Aoun. It was the first meeting in a two-day visit to Lebanon.
Borrell said Lebanese politicians should quickly form a new government, implement reforms and reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund to start getting the tiny country out of its paralyzing economic and financial crisis.
Lebanon’s economic crisis — triggered by decades of corruption and mismanagement — began in late 2019 and has intensified in recent months. The World Bank said earlier this month the crisis is likely to rank as one of the worst the world has seen in more than 150 years, adding that the economy contracted 20.3 percent in 2020 and is expected to shrink 9.5 percent this year.
A power struggle between premier-designate Saad Hariri on one side, and Aoun and his son-in-law Gebran Bassil on the other, has worsened the crisis despite warnings from world leaders and economic experts of the dire economic conditions tiny Lebanon is facing.
Hariri was named to form a new government in October and has not succeeded so far. The government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned days after a massive blast in Beirut on Aug. 4, that killed 211 people and injured more than 6,000.
“We cannot understand that nine months after the resignation of a prime minister, there is still no government in Lebanon,” Borrell said. “Only an urgent agreement with the International Monetary Fund will rescue the country from a financial collapse.”
“There is no time to waste. You are at the edge of the financial collapse,” he said in English.
Borrell said the EU stands ready to assist Lebanon and its people but warned that if there is further obstruction to solutions “we will have to consider other courses of actions as some member states have proposed.”
“The council of the European Union has been including other options, including targeted sanctions,” Borrell said. He added: “Of course we prefer not to go down this road and we hope that we will not have to but it is in the hands of the Lebanese leadership.”
Borrel rejected claims by some Lebanese politicians that refugees are the cause of the crisis, saying it is “homemade.”
“It is not fair (to say) that the crisis in Lebanon comes from the presence of refugees,” he said referring to a nearly 1 million Syrian refugees who fled the war in their country to Lebanon.

 

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Global consortium completes $12.4bn stake sale in Aramco unit

Global consortium completes $12.4bn stake sale in Aramco unit
Updated 19 June 2021

Global consortium completes $12.4bn stake sale in Aramco unit

Global consortium completes $12.4bn stake sale in Aramco unit
  • It is part of the company’s long-term strategy to maximize its profit by optimizing its portfolio as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its income sources

DUBAI: Saudi Aramco has completed a $12.4 billion stake sale in its natural gas pipeline network to a global consortium that includes US-based EIG and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala.

The international consortium, which consists of broad cross-section investors from North America, Asia and the Middle East, acquired 48 percent of the Aramco Oil Pipelines Co.

It is part of the company’s long-term strategy to maximize its profit by optimizing its portfolio as Saudi Arabia seeks to diversify its income sources.

“We are pleased to conclude this transaction with the global consortium. The interest we have received from investors shows strong confidence in our operations and the long-term outlook for our business,” Aramco President Amin Nasser said.

“We plan to continue to explore opportunities to capitalize on our industry-leading capabilities and attract the right type of investment to Saudi Arabia,” he added.

As part of the transaction, Aramco and its subsidiary entered into a 25-year leaseback agreement for the company’s stabilized crude oil pipeline network.

In return, Aramco Oil Pipelines Co. will receive a tariff payable by Aramco for stabilized crude oil that flows through the network.

Aramco retains a 51-percent majority stake in the subsidiary, and the transaction does not impose any restrictions on Aramco’s crude oil production volumes.


Qatar expects $20bn economic boost from 2022 World Cup

Qatar expects $20bn economic boost from 2022 World Cup
Updated 19 June 2021

Qatar expects $20bn economic boost from 2022 World Cup

Qatar expects $20bn economic boost from 2022 World Cup
  • Al-Thawadi said the construction and tourism industries are expected to benefit the most from the event

DUBAI: Qatar is anticipating big returns from hosting the World Cup in 2022, Bloomberg has reported.

“We anticipate the contribution to the economy essentially would be around about $20 billion,” said Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary-general of the committee for delivery and legacy, citing a “high-level study.”

That represents 11 percent of the country’s gross domestic product in 2019.

But a more detailed projection is yet to be declared, he added, as the event will take place in November and December next year.

Al-Thawadi said the construction and tourism industries are expected to benefit the most from the event.

Qatar has developed massive infrastructure ahead of the cup, which could be the first widely attended sporting event since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is building a new metro system, an airport expansion and an entirely new city, which Bloomberg estimates to be worth $300 billion.