No external interference in OPEC+ decision, Saudi energy minister says

No external interference in OPEC+ decision, Saudi energy minister says
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Updated 15 January 2022

No external interference in OPEC+ decision, Saudi energy minister says

No external interference in OPEC+ decision, Saudi energy minister says

RIYADH: The OPEC+ group is independent and against any external interference in its decisions, Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has reiterated.

Speaking on the sidelines of his visit to Azerbaijan, he stressed the responsibility and cautiousness of the alliance, which is made up of Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers led by Russia.

Prince Abdulaziz pointed out that the OPEC+ policy has succeeded in providing the oil market with the supplies it needs at all times, Al Arabiya reported.

Its decisions have come against a backdrop of pressure from countries such as the US, which want oil production drastically increased to tackle rising prices.

OPEC+ agreed at its 24th meeting on Jan. 4, to keep the production policy unchanged, meaning that the members will commit to increasing production by 400,000 barrels per day next month.

That means Saudi Arabia's production will reach 10.22 million bpd, with its share of the increase being an additional 105,000 bpd.

OPEC+ agreed to hold the next meeting on Feb. 2.


2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT

2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT
Updated 12 sec ago

2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT

2021 was a record year for VCs investing in emerging venture market: MAGNiTT

RIYADH: 2021 was a record year for venture capitalists investing in emerging venture market across Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, according to a new report from MAGNiTT.

The deals last year hit $6.8 billion through 1,329 deals, marking a growth of 228 percent in funding and 267 percent in number of deals when compared to 2020, the report showed.

The year was also a record for mega deals with 12 mega-deals, those that exceeded $100 million, more than all mega-deals combined between 2016 and 2020. These deals accounted for 42 percent of all capital raised across Emerging Venture Markets in 2021.

Philip Bahoshy, CEO & Founder of MAGNiTT said in a statement: “2021 has in fact been more than just a record-breaking year for VCs, rather it has been a defining year. While the global pandemic posed great pressures on governments, private sectors, and startup ecosystems alike; the year 2021 marked the resurgence of VC activity tenfold.”

MAGNiTT is a data platform founded in 2015 covering venture capital in emerging venture markets.


Brent climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply

Brent climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply
Updated 23 min 10 sec ago

Brent climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply

Brent climbs to more than 7-year high on Mideast tensions, tight supply

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose more than $1 on Tuesday to a more than seven-year high on worries about possible supply disruptions after Yemen's Houthi group attacked the United Arab Emirates, escalating hostilities between the Iran-aligned group and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition.

The "new geopolitical tension added to ongoing signs of tightness across the market," ANZ Research analyst said in a note.

Brent crude futures rose 85 cents, or 1 percent, to $87.33 a barrel by 0525 GMT, after earlier hitting a peak of $87.55, their highest since Oct. 29, 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures jumped $1.13, or 1.4 percent, from Friday's settlement to a more than two-month high of $84.95 a barrel. Trade on Monday was subdued as it was a U.S. public holiday.

After launching drone and missile strikes which set off explosions in fuel trucks and killed three people, the Houthi movement warned it could target more facilities, while the UAE said it reserved the right to "respond to these terrorist attacks".

UAE oil firm ADNOC said it had activated business continuity plans to ensure uninterrupted supply of products to its local and international customers after an incident at its Mussafah fuel depot.

CommSec analysts said oil prices also were being supported by colder winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere which were driving up demand for heating fuels.

"Analyst forecasts expect demand to outstrip supply this year as the world opens up from 2 years of lockdowns and resumes a more normal trajectory for demand," said Ash Glover at CMC Markets.

The tight supply-demand balance is unlikely to ease, analysts said.

Some producers within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, are struggling to pump at their allowed capacities, due to underinvestment and outages, under an agreement with Russia and allies, known as OPEC+, to add 400,000 barrels per day each month.

"That should continue to be supportive for oil and increase talk of triple figure prices," said OANDA analyst Craig Erlam.

"If current geopolitical tensions continue and OPEC+ members can’t deliver on their 400,000 barrel per day increase, macros coupled with the strong technical outlook could see prices push toward the $100 mark which is where the next (meaningful) technical resistance level lies," said Glover.


South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation

South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation
Updated 17 January 2022

South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation

South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation
  • Seoul and Abu Dhabi reach landmark $3.5 billion defense agreement — largest in South Korea’s arms history
  • President Moon Jae-in scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday

SEOUL: South Korea is seeking to increase hydrogen cooperation with the UAE in a bid for a sustainable future and carbon neutrality, President Moon Jae-in said on Monday in Abu Dhabi during his Middle East tour to explore business opportunities in the region.

Moon arrived in the UAE on Saturday for a three-day visit as part of his week-long Middle East trip. From Abu Dhabi he will fly for talks in Riyadh.

“Through hydrogen cooperation between the UAE and Korea, I hope that we can move forward in a sustainable future and carbon neutrality,” he said while addressing the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

As South Korea wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Moon said Seoul wants to bolster cooperation with the UAE in the development of carbon-capture technologies to create what is known as blue hydrogen — a form of the fuel obtained from natural gas in a process that stops carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

The UAE is one of the world’s foremost pioneers in the field.

Prof. Jung Sang-ryul of the Institute of Middle Eastern Affairs at Myungji University in Seoul told Arab News that with UAE-Korean hydrogen cooperation, the industry “can make a greater leap forward.

“The hydrogen industry is a field for future cooperation,” he said. “The UAE has strengths in the production of green and blue hydrogen, whereas South Korea (has) in utilization, storage and distribution, including hydrogen-powered vehicles, charging stations, fuel cells and liquid transportation.”

During Moon’s visit, Seoul and Abu Dhabi also reached a landmark $3.5 billion defense agreement on Sunday, under which the UAE will purchase KM-SAM surface-to-air-missiles, known as Cheongung II. It is the largest deal in the history of South Korea’s arm exports.

“The UAE is the first foreign nation to operate the Cheongung II,” Kang Eun-ho, commissioner of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, Seoul’s arms procurement agency, said in a statement. “The deal is the result of the bilateral defense cooperation based on mutual trust and will serve as a watershed moment for the two nation’s strategic defense partnership.”

The KM-SAM was developed with technical support from Russia to replace the older Hawk surface-to-air missiles that had been in service in 1964. Equipped with a multi-function phased array 3D radar, the interceptor can “hit-to-kill” hostile missiles coming in at altitudes below 40 km.

On the sidelines of the missile acquisition contract, the two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on collaboration in defense technologies, including the potential development of weapons systems.

The UAE is South Korea’s top export market and biggest partner in human resource exchanges in the Middle East.

South Korean firms have participated in the development of Emirati oil fields and the Barakah nuclear power plant — the first nuclear power station in the Arabian Peninsula, which started operations last year.

On Tuesday, the South Korean president will continue his trip to Saudi Arabia.

His office said in a statement that Moon is scheduled to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The leaders of the two nations are expected to discuss energy and infrastructure, as well as health care, science and technology, hydrogen, intellectual property and education,”the office said.

On Wednesday, Moon is scheduled to meet Gulf Cooperation Council secretary-general Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf to discuss the resumption of negotiations for a free trade agreement between Seoul and GCC.

South Korea and the GCC started talks on a free trade deal in 2007, but negotiations had stalled and were suspended in 2010.


Europe energy savings practices is inefficient, auditors say

Europe energy savings practices is inefficient, auditors say
Updated 17 January 2022

Europe energy savings practices is inefficient, auditors say

Europe energy savings practices is inefficient, auditors say

BRUSSELS: More than 2 billion euros of European Union funding to help businesses save energy contributed little to climate change targets and in some cases funded investments that would have happened anyway, according to an auditor report released on Monday.

The EU regards curbing energy use as essential to meeting goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and record high gas and power prices in recent months have increased the focus on measures to save energy.
But so far, EU funding to support energy savings for businesses has not been effective, the European Court of Auditors said in a report.

The EU spent 2.4 billion euros ($2.74 billion) from its budget over 2014-2020 to support energy efficiency in enterprises, including energy audits and measures to cut energy consumption or energy intensity in industry, services or the public sector.

The auditors estimated that projects backed by that funding achieved 0.3 percent of the annual savings needed to reach the EU’s target to cut final energy consumption by 32.5 percent by 2030, compared to projected levels.

“European Union funding is insufficiently linked to business needs — there was no proper analysis of what is really needed by the enterprises,” ECA member Samo Jereb told Reuters.
Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Poland, accounted for the bulk of the support.
Brussels plans to increase its 2030 energy saving target, and last year unveiled plans to renovate millions of buildings to achieve the huge energy efficiency improvements needed to meet its climate goals. Residential energy savings were not covered by the auditors’ report.

 

 

 


Singapore’s central bank issues guidelines to discourage crypto public trading: Crypto moves

Singapore’s central bank issues guidelines to discourage crypto public trading: Crypto moves
Updated 17 January 2022

Singapore’s central bank issues guidelines to discourage crypto public trading: Crypto moves

Singapore’s central bank issues guidelines to discourage crypto public trading: Crypto moves

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded lower on Monday, falling by 1.48 percent to $42,558 at 6:51 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $3,241 down by 3.14 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Other news

The Monetary Authority of Singapore issued on Monday guidelines restricting cryptocurrency trading service providers from promoting their services to the general public, as part of an effort to protect retail investors from potential risks.

In the new guidelines, MAS asserts that companies should not engage in marketing or advertising of DPT services in public areas in Singapore or through third parties, such as social media influencers, to promote DPT services to the general public. They can only market or advertise on their own corporate websites, mobile applications or official social media accounts.

Singapore is a popular location for cryptocurrency companies due to its relatively clear regulatory and operational environment and is among the forerunners globally in developing a formal licensing framework.

The city state authorities have also repeatedly warned that trading in digital payment tokens or cryptocurrency, is highly risky and unsuitable for the general public, as they are subject to sharp speculative swings.

“MAS strongly encourages the development of blockchain technology and innovative application of crypto tokens in value-adding use cases” Loo Siew Yee, MAS assistant managing director of policy, payments and financial crime, said in a statement.

“But the trading of cryptocurrencies is highly risky and not suitable for the general public. DPT service providers should therefore not portray the trading of DPTs in a manner that trivializes the high risks of trading in DPTs, nor engage in marketing activities that target the general public.”

Mining 

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Block, said in a tweet that the fintech company is building an open bitcoin-mining system, as the newly rebranded company looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.

In October, Dorsey said that Block, formerly Square, was considering building a bitcoin-mining system based on custom silicon and open source for individuals and businesses worldwide.

In a tweet thread on Thursday, Block’s general manager for hardware, Thomas Templeton, laid out the company’s plans to build the mining system.

“We want to make mining more distributed and efficient in every way, from buying, to set up, to maintenance, to mining. We’re interested because mining goes far beyond creating new bitcoin. We see it as a long-term need for a future that is fully decentralized and permissionless,” Templeton tweeted.