Ukraine Crisis: BP to exit Rosneft; EU bans flights; Germany to cut Russian gas

Update Ukraine Crisis: BP to exit Rosneft; EU bans flights; Germany to cut Russian gas
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Update Ukraine Crisis: BP to exit Rosneft; EU bans flights; Germany to cut Russian gas
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Updated 28 February 2022

Ukraine Crisis: BP to exit Rosneft; EU bans flights; Germany to cut Russian gas

Ukraine Crisis: BP to exit Rosneft; EU bans flights; Germany to cut Russian gas
  • The Group of Seven leaders said on Sunday that western allies had decided to cut off "certain Russian banks" from SWIFT

RIYADH: The EU decided to ban its aerospace to Russian flights and aircrafts in a fresh round of actions in response to Russia's invasion of the Ukraine.

Highlights:

  • The German government had asked utility firm Uniper UN01.DE to resume its plans to build a liquefied natural gas, or LNG, terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Sunday, as Germany steps up its plans to cut dependence on Russian gas.
  • UK considers using strategic oil reserves to stabilize prices, Bloomberg reported
  • British energy giant BP said on Sunday it had decided to exit its 19.75 percent stake in Russian state-controlled oil firm Rosneft after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney, who will step down from the Rosneft board, said in a statement that the invasion "caused us to fundamentally rethink BP's position with Rosneft."
  • Britain's business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Sunday he welcomed BP's decision. "Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine must be a wake up call for British businesses with commercial interests in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's Russia," he said on Twitter.
  • US banks are preparing for retaliatory cyberattacks after Western nations slapped a raft of stringent sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, cyber experts and executives said.

 

From Earlier Today:

 

Fire in Ukraine oil and gas facilities

Huge explosions from Russian attacks on oil and gas installations lit up the night sky in Ukraine early on Sunday, while Western allies tightened sanctions to banish major Russian banks from the main global payments system.

Ukrainian forces were holding off Russian troops advancing on the capital Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said as the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two entered a fourth day.

But the night was brutal, with shelling of civilian infrastructure and targets including ambulances, Zelensky said.

Germany switch to LNG

Germany will make good on plans to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and up its natural gas reserves to cut its dependence on Russian gas after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday.

"We will do more to ensure secure energy supply for our country," he told lawmakers in a special Bundestag session called to address the Ukraine crisis.

"We must change course to overcome our dependence on imports from individual energy suppliers."

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Germany has been under pressure from other Western nations to become less dependent on Russian gas, but its plans to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and to shut its nuclear power plants have left it with few options.

Earlier this week Germany halted the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea gas pipeline project, Europe's most divisive energy project, in response to Russia's actions toward Ukraine.

Russian flights ban

A European Union-wide ban for Russian flights is now part of a fresh package of sanctions on Moscow discussed on Sunday by the bloc's foreign ministers.

A vast majority of EU member states have already closed their airspace to these flights.

EU officials meet for emergency refugee talks

European Union interior ministers are gathering Sunday for emergency talks on how to cope with an influx of refugees from conflict-hit Ukraine as tens of thousands of people flee across the border into Poland, Hungary, Romania and elsewhere.

The U.N. refugee agency, the UNHCR, estimates that more than 200,000 people displaced by the fighting in Ukraine have fled the country, and that up to four million could flee if the fighting spreads.

Poland said Saturday that over 100,000 people had entered from Ukraine in the previous 48 hours alone.

At a meeting in Brussels, the ministers will look at ways to shelter people, how to manage the security challenges that the conflict poses to the EU’s external borders, and what kind of humanitarian support can be provided to Ukraine.
Those arriving at the borders are mostly women, children and the elderly.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has banned the departure of men aged between 18 to 60 so they can take up arms against Russian forces.

Separately, Reuters reported that Ukraine is seeking to take Russia to the international court in The Hague, citing President Zelensky.

UK to seek further sanctions as Russian banks face SWIFT ban

British foreign minister Liz Truss said she would press for further sanctions against Russia, especially cutting off their oil and gas supplies. 

“It doesn't end here. I've got a meeting today with my G7 counterparts. I am going to be pressing for further tightening against Russia, particularly including the access to Russian oil and gas,” said Truss. 

She also warned that Russian leaders will be prosecuted for war crimes. 

The Group of Seven leaders said on Sunday that western allies had decided to cut off "certain Russian banks" from the worldwide interbanking communication system called SWIFT.


The statement, in a joint declaration published by the French presidency, did not specify which Russian banks would be affected.

It added a transatlantic task force will soon be put in place to coordinate sanctions against Russia, Reuters reported.

Google, YouTube take action

Google has blocked the download of Russian state-owned media outlet RT's mobile app in Ukrainian territory. 

Alphabet Inc. which owns Google made this decision upon request from the Ukrainian government. 


Earlier, Google had barred RT and several other Russian channels from receiving money for ads on their websites and apps. 

YouTube has also suspended multiple Russian channels, including RT from revenue generation on the site. 

 

“In light of extraordinary circumstances in Ukraine...we're pausing a number of channels' ability to monetize on YouTube, including several Russian channels affiliated with recent sanctions,” said YouTube in a statement.

Russian Central Bank insists it can ride the storm

Russia's banking system is stable even after facing a raft of new sanctions from the US and the European Union, according to Russia's Central Bank. 

"The Bank of Russia has the necessary resources and tools to maintain financial stability and ensure the operational continuity of the financial sector," said the bank in a statement. 

On Saturday, the US, Europe, and Canada had announced the freezing of Russia's Central Bank's assets.

Reuters reported the bank as also saying it would be temporarily easing restrictions on banks' open foreign currency positions. 

Putin puts Russia’s nuclear forces on alert

In a dramatic escalation of East-West tensions, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces put on high alert Sunday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers, AP reported.

The order means Russia’s nuclear weapons are prepared for increased readiness to launch, raising the threat that the tensions could boil over into nuclear warfare.

In giving it, the Russian leader also cited hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including Putin himself.

Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin directed the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.”

 


Saudi startup Jahez to acquire all shares in Marn Business for $16m

Saudi startup Jahez to acquire all shares in Marn Business for $16m
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi startup Jahez to acquire all shares in Marn Business for $16m

Saudi startup Jahez to acquire all shares in Marn Business for $16m

RIYADH: Jahez International Co. for Information Systems Technology has signed an agreement to acquire all shareholders’ shares of Marn Business Information Technology Co. for SR60 million ($16 million).

The transaction is in line with the online food delivery platform Jahez’s strategy of expanding its business through acquisitions in order to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the industry, it said in a bourse filing.

The completion of this agreement requires the approval of relevant authorities, including approval from the General Authority for Competition.

The financial impact is expected to appear in the second half of the fiscal year 2022, it said.

Marn Business develops an eco-system by integrating digital services with different service providers to build systems for business owners.


Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO gets CMA node for 33% capital raise to $177m

Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO gets CMA node for 33% capital raise to $177m
Updated 13 min 26 sec ago

Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO gets CMA node for 33% capital raise to $177m

Saudi paper manufacturer MEPCO gets CMA node for 33% capital raise to $177m

RIYADH: Jeddah-based Middle East Paper Co. received the Capital Market Authority’s approval to increase its capital to SR666 million ($177 million) in support of the company’s financial position and growth plans.

The Saudi-listed paper manufacturer’s plan calls for a 33 percent capital hike from the current capital of SR500 million, according to a bourse filing.

Subject to obtaining shareholders’ nod, the transaction will be conducted by granting shareholders one bonus share for every three shares held.


UAE healthcare provider Burjeel's IPO 29 times oversubscribed, final price set at $0.54

UAE healthcare provider Burjeel's IPO 29 times oversubscribed, final price set at $0.54
Updated 26 min 12 sec ago

UAE healthcare provider Burjeel's IPO 29 times oversubscribed, final price set at $0.54

UAE healthcare provider Burjeel's IPO 29 times oversubscribed, final price set at $0.54

RIYADH: The UAE-based private healthcare provider Burjeel Holdings set its final offering price at 2 dirhams ($0.54) per share following the completion of its bookbuild and public subscription.

The offering was oversubscribed multiple times as the total gross demand amounted to over 32 billion dirhams, implying a 29-fold oversubscription, the company reported.


Oil Updates — Crude slightly lower ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Fire in Nigerian oil wells 

Oil Updates — Crude slightly lower ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Fire in Nigerian oil wells 
Updated 34 min 16 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude slightly lower ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Fire in Nigerian oil wells 

Oil Updates — Crude slightly lower ahead of OPEC+ meeting; Fire in Nigerian oil wells 

RIYADH: Oil prices moderated very slightly on Wednesday after gaining more than 3 percent in the previous session ahead of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, together called OPEC+, to discuss a big cut in crude output.

Traders said a stronger dollar was the main reason for the slightly easier prices, as it reduced demand from buyers using other currencies.

Brent crude fell 22 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $91.58 a barrel at 0427 GMT, after climbing $2.94 in the previous session.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell 29 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $86.23 a barrel after gaining $2.89 in the previous session.

OPEC+ is expected to discuss output cuts as big as 2 million barrels per day, an OPEC source told Reuters.

The US is pushing OPEC+ producers not to go ahead with deep cuts, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, as President Joe Biden looks to prevent a rise in US gasoline prices.

EU price cap on Russian oil will not apply to pipeline shipments: Hungary

A price cap for Russian oil proposed as part of the EU’s eighth round of sanctions against Russia will not apply to pipeline shipments, Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Hungary, which has been the most vocal critic of sanctions against Russia in the EU, largely relies on Russian crude shipments and Russian gas, both imported via pipelines.

Two oil wells operated by Nigeria’s Eroton on fire

Two oil wells operated by Nigerian firm Eroton Exploration and Production Limited caught fire on Monday and were still burning on Tuesday after the company hired a contractor to try to extinguish the fire, the agency responsible for detecting oil spills said.

It was not immediately clear if this was the same area where a well operated by Eroton spilled oil and gas into the Niger Delta for more than a week in June.

Eroton produces and exports crude from its Oil Mining Lease 18 block through the Nembe Creek Trunkline.

The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency said the fire broke out at two wells in Rivers state, in the Niger Delta. A boat suspected to have been engaging in the theft of crude oil was burnt to ashes at the site.

“The company has mobilized a vendor, which is expected to arrive at the incident location today, Oct. 4, 2022, to extinguish the raging fire from the wells, the agency will supervise the activity accordingly,” Idris Musa, head of NOSDRA said in a statement.

(With input from Reuters)


UAE non-oil economy strengthens as PMI stays over 56 mark in Sept: S&P Global

UAE non-oil economy strengthens as PMI stays over 56 mark in Sept: S&P Global
Updated 19 min 30 sec ago

UAE non-oil economy strengthens as PMI stays over 56 mark in Sept: S&P Global

UAE non-oil economy strengthens as PMI stays over 56 mark in Sept: S&P Global

RIYADH: The UAE continues to witness strong growth in business conditions across the non-oil economy although its Purchasing Managers’ Index slightly declined to 56.1 in September over the previous month, the latest data from S&P Global revealed. 

August had recorded a slightly higher PMI of 56.7, but S&P considers any readings above 50 as growth while those below 50 are marked as contraction.

Hence, the September PMI figure of 56.1 is indicative of a strong improvement in the health of the non-oil private sector, it said.

“The UAE PMI was slightly lower at 56.1 in September, after August’s 38-month high of 56.7, but was nonetheless indicative of another strong pace of improvement in the non-oil economy,” said David Owen, an economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence. 

As strong new business growth continued to drive increases in output and employment, S&P noted that firms also encountered relatively mild price pressures, as input costs rose only slightly after a renewed fall in August.

He added: “At a time of heightened global recession risks, these findings suggest that domestic businesses are keeping well clear of economic storms in other regions, helped by above-trend rates of growth in output and new business as the country continues to recover from the pandemic.”