US Senate committee to consider bill pressuring OPEC oil group: Reuters

US Senate committee to consider bill pressuring OPEC oil group: Reuters
Versions of the legislation have failed in Congress for more than 20 years (Shutterstock)
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Updated 05 May 2022

US Senate committee to consider bill pressuring OPEC oil group: Reuters

US Senate committee to consider bill pressuring OPEC oil group: Reuters

WASHINGTON: A US Senate committee is set to vote Thursday on a bill that could expose the OPEC oil producing countries and their partners to lawsuits for collusion on boosting crude prices, although similar moves have failed to pass through Congress in the past, according to Reuters.

The No Oil Producing or Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill sponsored by Senators including Republican Chuck Grassley and Democrat Amy Klobuchar is slated to be considered during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee that begins at 9:00 ET (1300 GMT)

Versions of the legislation have failed in Congress for more than 20 years. But lawmakers are increasingly worried about rising inflation driven in part by prices for US gasoline, which briefly hit a record above $4.30 a gallon this spring.

“Now, given the soaring energy prices and the administration’s engagements with foreign oil producers, ensuring fair pricing and production practices has never been more important,” said Taylor Foy, a spokesperson for Grassley said last week.

The bill must pass the full Senate and House and be signed by President Joe Biden to become law.

Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers have rebuffed requests by the United States and other consuming countries to boost oil production beyond gradual amounts, even as oil consumption recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russian supply falls after its invasion of Ukraine.

OPEC+, a group comprising the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russia, agreed on Thursday to stick to its existing plans for a modest output increase for another month.

The proposed legislation is intended to protect US consumers and businesses from engineered spikes in the cost of gasoline, but some analysts warn that implementing it could also have some dangerous unintended consequences.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia threatened to sell oil in currencies other than the dollar if Washington passed NOPEC, a move that could undermine the dollar’s status as the world’s main reserve currency, reduce Washington’s clout in global trade and weaken its ability to enforce sanctions on nation states.


Retail operator Almrakez posts higher profit despite fire outbreak losses

Retail operator Almrakez posts higher profit despite fire outbreak losses
Updated 10 sec ago

Retail operator Almrakez posts higher profit despite fire outbreak losses

Retail operator Almrakez posts higher profit despite fire outbreak losses

RIYADH: Arabian Centres Co. announced a higher second-quarter profit of SR128 million ($34 million), despite incurring an impairment loss on investment properties following the partial fire at Mall of Dhahran.

The impairment loss on investment properties reached SR25 million, the company which trades in the name of Almarkez said in a bourse filing.

The Saudi retail operator revenue grew by 10.2 percent year-over-year to book SR563 million, primarily due to an increase in net rental earnings.


Oil Updates — Crude edges up; Japan raises gasoline subsidy; Venezuela to aid the reconstruction of damaged Cuban port

Oil Updates — Crude edges up; Japan raises gasoline subsidy; Venezuela to aid the reconstruction of damaged Cuban port
Updated 19 min 17 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude edges up; Japan raises gasoline subsidy; Venezuela to aid the reconstruction of damaged Cuban port

Oil Updates — Crude edges up; Japan raises gasoline subsidy; Venezuela to aid the reconstruction of damaged Cuban port

RIYADH: Oil prices rose on Wednesday, recovering from six-month lows hit the previous day, as a larger-than-expected drop in US oil and gasoline stocks reminded investors that demand remains firm, if overshadowed by the prospect of a global recession.

Brent crude futures rose 56 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $92.90 a barrel by 0415 GMT. 

West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed 62 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $87.15 a barrel.

The contracts slumped about 3 percent on Tuesday as weak US housing starts data spurred concerns about a potential global recession.

Japan raises gasoline subsidy for oil distributors

Japan raised its gasoline subsidy for oil distributors to 33.8 yen (25.2 cents) a liter for the seven days from Thursday, compared with 31.4 yen a week earlier, the industry ministry said on Wednesday.

The temporary subsidy program was adopted in January to cushion a blow from high crude prices because of tight global supplies, while the Ukraine conflict that began on Feb. 24 added further pressure.

Venezuela to support reconstruction of Cuban port damaged by oil fire

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that Venezuela would support Cuba in the reconstruction of its only supertanker port in Matanzas, which was partially destroyed by a fire after lightning struck one of its crude tanks.

Cuba has long relied on the 2.4 million-barrel Matanzas terminal, about 130 km from Havana, for most imports and storage of crude and heavy fuel oil.

Maduro directed Venezuela’s oil minister and the president of state-run PDVSA to get in touch with the corresponding Cuban authorities “to begin the design of the reconstruction of the supertanker yard,” he said in a speech honoring the Venezuelan firefighters sent to combat the blaze.

Mexico also sent personnel to put out the fire.

“We are going to design where it will be built, where the loading yard will be and begin the construction,” Maduro said.

Australia’s Santos approves $2.6bn Alaska oil project

Santos Ltd. said on Wednesday it will move ahead in developing a $2.6 billion Alaskan oil project, a surprise decision for the market that drove its shares down despite the Australian energy producer posting a record first-half profit.

The company also said it was in advanced talks with shortlisted parties to sell a 5 percent stake in its prized asset, PNG LNG in Papua New Guinea, and reap an estimated $1.5 billion, which analysts expect will be used to fund the Pikka project in Alaska.

Santos CEO Kevin Gallagher said Pikka, co-owned by Spain’s Repsol SA, was “the right project at the right time in the right location,” forecasting a strong 19 percent internal rate of return based on an oil price of $60 a barrel.

“Low-carbon oil projects like Pikka Phase 1 respond to new demand for OECD supply and are critical for global and United States energy security that has been highlighted since the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Gallagher said in a statement.

Analysts had thought Santos would sell its 51 percent stake in Pikka rather than go ahead with the 80,000 barrels per day project as it has its hands full working on a major gas project and potential oil development in Australia.

However, Santos said on Wednesday the oil development in Australia, Dorado, would not go ahead this year due to inflationary pressures and supply chain uncertainty.

Shell to shut Gulf of Mexico crude pipes for 2 weeks

Shell on Tuesday said it plans to shut for two weeks in September a key crude oil pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico that supplies oil to Louisiana refineries.

The Odyssey and Delta crude pipelines in September will be shut for planned maintenance early-to-mid September, Shell said in a statement.

The pipelines transport Heavy Louisiana Sweet crude from offshore oilfields and switching to other pipelines is not an option, Shell added.

The Odyssey pipeline in the eastern Gulf of Mexico has 220,000 barrels per day capacity and is connected to the Delta pipeline with deliveries into terminals in Louisiana and to Shell’s Norco refinery, according to the company’s website.

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims

Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims
Updated 26 min 23 sec ago

Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims

Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims

RIYADH: Major Saudi-listed insurers released first-half earnings results on Wednesday, with three reporting improved profits due to lower claims.

Alinma Tokio Marine Co. turned in a profit of SR2.4 million ($639,339) in the first half of 2022, erasing over SR3.2 million in losses from the first half of 2021, according to a bourse filing.

Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. managed to narrow its losses by 53 percent to SR14 million, while Amana Cooperative Insurance Co. narrowed its losses by 50 percent to SR31 million.

Meanwhile, Wataniya Insurance saw its losses increase by 44 percent to SR37 million in the first half of 2022, bucking the trend, owing to a decrease in net underwriting income.


Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns

Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns
Updated 50 min 58 sec ago

Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns

Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns

RIYADH: Al Jouf Cement Co., a Saudi-based cement producer, has appointed Abdul Karim Al-Nuhair as its new CEO effective Aug. 21, according to a bourse filing.

Al-Nuhair will replace previous CEO Jamal bin Salem Al-Amer, who resigned on Aug. 16 to continue serving the company as president ex-executive advisor.  

Prior to joining Al Jouf, Al-Nuhair held several leadership positions in joint-stock companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.


ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan
Updated 35 min 3 sec ago

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan

RIYADH: ACWA Power Co. said it will sign today a $2.4 billion deal with the government of Uzbekistan for a 1,500-megawatt wind project, a bourse filing revealed.

“This project would be the biggest single site onshore wind project in the region and the world and will contribute 19 percent to Uzbekistan’s overall renewable energy goals,” the PIF-owned energy giant said in a bourse filing.

To be located in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, the facility seeks to power 1.65 million households and offset 2.4 million tons of carbon emissions per year.

Expected to achieve a financial close by the end of 2023, the project is likely to be fully commissioned by the first quarter of 2026.

The agreement duration is 25 years and will be signed with the Uzbekistani Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Investment & Foreign Trade.