Brent nears $80 as market shrugs off omicron

Brent nears $80 as market shrugs off omicron
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Updated 29 December 2021

Brent nears $80 as market shrugs off omicron

Brent nears $80 as market shrugs off omicron
  • Brent crude rose 7 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $78.67 a barrel, by 0728 GMT

LONDON: Oil prices extended gains on Tuesday, with Brent crude trading near $80 a barrel despite the rapid spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, supported by supply outages and expectations that US inventories fell last week.

Brent crude rose by 55 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $79.15 a barrel by 1410 GMT, after hitting a session high of $79.85. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 73 cents, or 1 percent, to $76.30, after rising to $76.92.

Both contracts traded at their highest in a month.

“Support comes as well from high aggregated production disruptions in Ecuador, Libya and Nigeria and the expectation of another large drop in US crude inventories,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.

The three oil producers declared force majeures this month on part of their oil production because of maintenance issues and oilfield shutdowns.

Meanwhile, a preliminary Reuters poll showed on Monday that US crude oil inventories are likely to have dropped for the fifth week in a row, while gasoline inventories were seen mostly unchanged last week.

England will not face any new COVID-19 restrictions before the end of 2021, British health minister Sajid Javid said on Monday, as the government awaits more evidence on whether the health service can cope with high infection rates.

US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, pledged to ease a shortage of COVID-19 tests as the omicron variant threatens to overwhelm hospitals and stifle travel plans.

Omicron-induced staff shortages led to thousands of flights cancellations over the Christmas weekend in the United States.

China’s symptomatic coronavirus cases rose for a fourth consecutive day on Monday, with Xian reporting more infections in a flare-up that has put the city’s 13 million residents under lockdown.

Investors are awaiting an OPEC+ meeting on Jan. 4, at which the alliance will decide whether to go ahead with a planned production increase of 400,000 barrels per day in February.

At its last meeting, OPEC+ stuck to its plans to boost output for January despite omicron.

Russia is unlikely to hit its May target of pre-pandemic oil output levels due to a lack of spare production capacity but could do so later in the year, analysts and company sources said on Tuesday.

Money managers raised their net long US crude futures and options positions in the week to Dec. 21, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Monday.

The speculator group raised its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 4,634 contracts to 259,093 during the period.


Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25

Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25

Saudi Arabia's Aqaseem Factory to list on Nomu on May 25

RIYADH: Saudi Aqaseem Factory for Chemicals and Plastics Co. will list its shares on Saudi Arabia’s parallel Nomu market on May 25, according to a bourse filing.

The company received Capital Market Authority approval on March 21 to register its shares for direct listing.

The motor oil and lubricants company was established in 1997.


TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat

TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat
Updated 8 min 28 sec ago

TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat

TRSDC preserves ecological heritage of Red Sea’s natural habitat

RIYADH: When it comes to hospitality, The Red Sea Development Co. is pulling out all stops as it is getting ready to offer guests world-class service and unmatched luxury.

It is also leaving no stone unturned in its relentless efforts to preserve and protect the rich natural habitats and endangered species on the shores and nearby islands of the Red Sea.

To accomplish this task, TRSDC has put together an ambitious master plan and invited renowned experts in ecology, marine biology and the environment to preserve the breath-taking sceneries of the Red Sea and admire the endangered species of this region.

TRSDC’s master plan predicts a 30 percent net conservation benefit in the next two decades and leaving 75 percent of the island archipelago untouched, with nine islands designated as special conservation zones. 

In addition, the company plans to power the destination with 100 percent renewable energy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, all of which will be generated by solar and wind. 

What’s more? It is building the largest battery storage facility globally to guarantee supply at night.

Arab News spoke to three experts to get a perspective on the company’s initiatives to safeguard the Red Sea’s flora and fauna.

Lamya AlOtai, environmental impact assessment specialist, TRSDC

Lamya AlOtai revealed that her group had spotted more than 100 bird species at the monitoring site.

Some of the most frequently spotted birds fell under the high conservation priority order of the National Biodiversity Strategy of Saudi Arabia. They included crab plovers, sooty falcons and ospreys. These species exhibit unique characteristics. 

“For instance, crab plover is a lovely shorebird with an interesting breeding habit; they dig deep burrows to safeguard their young ones. They are the only wading birds to nest this way,” she said ardently.

Her dedicated consultants have identified over 1,700 crab plovers across 15 islands. These crab clovers mostly rely on crabs and the mangrove habitats in the vicinity.

“The Red Sea coast is also home to sooty falcons. They are known to live in hot arid environments, mountain cliffs, small rocky islands, and they are susceptible to disturbance.” 

TRSDC palns to leave 75 percent of the island archipelago untouched (Supplied)

Saud Almutairi, environmental planning and appraisal specialist, TRSDC

Saud Almutairi confirmed that the company is keen to double efforts to ensure that tourists enjoy the natural surroundings of the Red Sea.

“At TRSDC, we are raising the bar for regenerative tourists. We are committed to delivering a tourist destination while conserving the environment and biodiversity,” said Almutairi.

“We are utilizing the best available science and technology to study birdlife and its relationship with other environmental components,” he added.

Almutairi noticed, for instance, that the falcons tend to breed in a hot arid environment on rocky islands in the small cavities facing the sea.

“So, it gets its natural isolation from any anthropogenic activity. Therefore, we conduct several surveys to ensure that we develop certain buffer zones to protect them.”

The company has also conducted several surveys to develop specific buffer zones to mitigate and manage environmental risks.

“We have set aside certain islands and areas as conservation zones to keep our main natural assets in this area.”

Noura Islam, assistant environmental management and assessment manager, TRSDC

Noura Islam has constantly kept an eye on some endangered species in the region, especially the marine turtles.

“These species play an essential role in balancing the biodiversity of the area. They’re also known to provide nutrients to sandy beaches, and these beaches are vital for their nesting practices. At TRSDC, we are actively working toward the protection of these species. By setting aside the islands, these islands will stay pristine.”

She added: “Marine turtles are the most valuable marine species in our project. We have two species, green turtles and hawksbill turtles.”

The company has been working with local entities to protect the species.

“For example, local entities rescued two turtles on our site and sent them to an aquarium to provide them with the necessary treatment. And once they regained their health, they were released back into the sea. And this is one of our success stories of how we protect the turtles on our site.” 


UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round

UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round
Updated 11 min 1 sec ago

UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round

UAE recruiting platform Ogram raises $3m in a Series A funding round

RIYADH: UAE-based digital recruiting platform Ogram has raised $3 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Modus Capital with other investors.

Other investors who are participating in this deal include Aditum Investment Management, Dtec Ventures, and DAAL VC, according to Wamda.

The company is planning to use this fund to expand its operations into Saudi Arabia and Europe.

Founded in 2017, Ogram uses technology to enable businesses to book and manage staff on demand, making their job matching 160 times faster and 50 percent more reliable, stated the Wamda release.

 


15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed

15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed
Updated 33 min 24 sec ago

15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed

15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in Q1: Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed
  • “People are going to travel and it doesn’t matter where they come from [in] the world, but they will come to try something new”

RIYADH: 15 million tourists visited Saudi Arabia in the first three months of the year, as the Kingdom focuses more on the growth of the non-oil sector, according to Princess Haifa Bint Mohammed, assistant minister of tourism in the Kingdom. 

While speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos on May 23, the assistant minister revealed that music and agri-tourism in Saudi Arabia have been witnessing massive growth in recent years. 

She stated that Saudi Arabia hosted 2,000 music shows amid the pandemic, a clear indication of the growth of this sector. 

Talking about the revival of the tourism sector post COVID-19 pandemic, she said, “People are going to travel and it doesn’t matter where they come from [in] the world, but they will come to try something new.”

“They will try to see something new. And we saw this in one of our destinations as well, which is called Al-Ahsa oasis, a UNESCO World Heritage site for the largest palm tree oasis in the world.” 


Aramco-Total JV SATORP swings into profit of $382m in Q1

Aramco-Total JV SATORP swings into profit of $382m in Q1
Updated 1 min 23 sec ago

Aramco-Total JV SATORP swings into profit of $382m in Q1

Aramco-Total JV SATORP swings into profit of $382m in Q1

RIYADH: SATORP, a joint venture between oil giant Aramco and France’s Total Oil Co., has turned into profit of SR1.43 billion ($382 million) in the first quarter of 2022.

It managed to erase losses of SR621 million from the same period a year earlier as sales more than tripled to SR17.4 billion, according to a bourse filing.

The firm attributed the improved results to “the improved refining and petrochemicals margins and higher throughput.”

Formally known as Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical Co., SATORP is 62.5 percent owned by Saudi Aramco and 37.5 percent owned by Total.