Oil Updates — Crude gains ahead of G7 discussions; Ecuador’s oil output halved; Ukraine attacks Crimean oil-drilling platform

Oil Updates — Crude gains ahead of G7 discussions; Ecuador’s oil output halved; Ukraine attacks Crimean oil-drilling platform
cuador’s oil production has fallen by more than half due to road blockades and vandalism connected to nearly two weeks of anti-government protests. (AFP)
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Updated 27 June 2022

Oil Updates — Crude gains ahead of G7 discussions; Ecuador’s oil output halved; Ukraine attacks Crimean oil-drilling platform

Oil Updates — Crude gains ahead of G7 discussions; Ecuador’s oil output halved; Ukraine attacks Crimean oil-drilling platform

RIYADH: Oil prices extended gains on Monday as investors stood on guard for any moves against Russian oil and gas exports that might come out of a meeting of leaders of the Group of Seven nations meeting in Germany.

Brent crude futures edged up 22 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $113.34 a barrel by 0342 GMT after rebounding 2.8 percent on Friday. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $107.73 a barrel, up 11 cents, or 0.1 percent, following a 3.2 percent gain in the previous session.

The prospect of more supply tightness loomed over the market as western governments sought ways to cut Russia’s ability to fund its war in Ukraine, even though G7 leaders were also expected to discuss a revival of the Iran nuclear deal — which might lead to more Iranian oil exports.

Producer nations in OPEC+, which includes Russia, will likely stick to a plan for accelerated oil output increases in August when they meet on Thursday, sources said.

Ecuador’s oil output halved

Ecuador’s oil production has fallen by more than half due to road blockades and vandalism connected to nearly two weeks of anti-government protests, the energy ministry said on Sunday.

The sometimes-violent demonstrations by largely indigenous marchers demanding lower fuel and food prices, among other things, began on June 13 and have led to at least six civilian deaths.

President Guillermo Lasso, whose already-adversarial relationship with the national assembly has worsened during the marches, has offered concessions including easing security measures, subsidized fertilizers and debt forgiveness, and his government met on Saturday with indigenous groups.

“Oil production is at a critical level. Today the figures show a reduction of more than 50 percent,” the energy ministry said in a statement. 

He added, “In 14 days of demonstrations, the Ecuadorean state has stopped receiving around $120 million.”

Vandalism, the takeover of oil wells and road closures have prevented the transport of necessary supplies, the ministry said.

Before the protests, oil production was about 520,000 barrels per day.

The public oil sector, private producers of flowers and dairy products, tourism businesses and others have lost about $500 million, the ministry of production said in a statement.

Protesters reiterated on Sunday that marches would continue until Lasso has answered all of their demands.

“The central issues have not been won yet,” said CONAIE indigenous organization leader Leonidas Iza, adding that protesters want guarantees on fuel prices and a limit to the expansion of oil and mining. 

“We are going to return with results.”

Ukraine attacks Crimean oil-drilling platform 

Ukrainian forces have attacked a drilling platform in the Black Sea owned by a Crimean oil and gas company, Tass news agency cited local officials as saying on Sunday, the second strike in a week.

The platform is operated by Chernomorneftegaz, which Russian-backed officials seized from Ukraine’s national gas operator Naftogaz as part of Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula in 2014.

“It’s shelling by the armed forces of Ukraine, there are no casualties,” Tass cited a member of Crimea’s emergency services as saying. 

It gave no further details.

Last Monday Crimean officials said three people were wounded with seven missing after a Ukrainian strike that forced the suspension of work on three platforms. Chernomorneftegaz is under US and European Union sanctions.

(With inputs from Reuters)


KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia

KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia
Updated 15 sec ago

KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia

KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Telecom services provider KEIR International has partnered with US-based Quadratics Development to bring its eco-friendly construction and building technology to the Saudi market.

Quadratics’ efficient and sustainable building system, using light gauge steel and lightweight concrete, aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, KEIR said in a filing to the Saudi Exchange.

“It is a system widely accepted by real estate developers and government entities in Saudi Arabia after having been developed to provide cost-effective and high-specifications building and construction solutions,” it added.

With this partnership, Riyadh-based KEIR aims to strengthen its presence in the telecom, power, and renewable industries as a leading infrastructure company.


Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September

Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September
Updated 27 min 53 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September

Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September

RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Tuesday as bleak economic data from top crude buyer China renewed fears of a global recession.

Brent crude futures fell 73 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $94.37 a barrel by 0313 GMT.

WTI crude futures dipped 44 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $88.97 a barrel.

Oil futures fell about 3 percent during the previous session.

Petroecuador seeks investor boost in 23 oil fields

Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador, announced on Monday two separate bidding processes to seek partners to invest in one of its largest oil blocks and almost two dozen other, smaller, fields in a quest to boost the Andean nation’s production.

Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso has said that he hopes to double Ecuador’s crude production, which currently stands at 495,000 barrels per day, with strong private investment in the strategic sector.

The first tender will be for the Sacha field, considered one of Ecuador’s most productive, pulling in 70,000 bpd. The private partner must provide financing to increase reserves and improve extraction levels in the area, Petroecuador said in a statement.

The state-run company said it will continue to operate the Sacha block jointly with the selected partner through a contract for specific integrated services, with financing from the other party.

Petroecuador did not disclose the amount of investment required or the goals for increasing production in the block.

With the second bidding process, Petroecuador is seeking financing from a contractor to increase the output of 22 oil fields located throughout the country’s Amazon region. The fields are operational but require further investment to reach their potential.

Oil output in Permian to rise to a record high in September: EIA

Oil output in the Permian in Texas and New Mexico, the biggest US shale oil basin, is due to rise 79,000 bpd to a record 5.408 million bpd in September, the US Energy Information Administration, also known as EIA, said in its productivity report on Monday.

Total output in the major US shale oil basins will rise 141,000 bpd to 9.049 million bpd in September, the highest since March 2020, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy projected.

In the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, the EIA forecast oil output will rise 21,000 bpd to 1.157 million bpd in September, the most since November 2021.

In the Eagle Ford in South Texas, the output will rise 26,000 bpd to 1.230 million bpd in September, its highest since April 2020.

(With input from Reuters)


Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates

Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates
Updated 41 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates

Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates

RIYADH: Dallah Healthcare has posted profit growth of 52 percent for the first half of 2022, mainly supported by an increase in patient occupancy rates.

Its net profit surged to SR152 million ($40 million) and sales hit SR1.2 billion, up 21 percent from the same period a year ago, the company said in a filing to Tadawul.

The growth in revenues came on the back of continued growth in operations and higher hospital admissions during the six-month period.

The healthcare group also cited an improvement in operational efficiency when compared to last year, in addition to a lower share in the losses of associates by SR1.6 million.


Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand

Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand
Updated 55 min 25 sec ago

Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand

Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand

RIYADH: Qassim Cement Co.. has reported a 73 percent drop in profit during the first half of 2022, hit by lower cement demand.

The cement producer’s profit came down to SR54 million ($14 million), compared to SR201 million in the prior-year period, its bourse filing showed.

The company’s performance felt the impact of lower sales value and volume, higher costs of goods sold, as well as lower returns on financial investments.

The firm revenue also declined by 30 percent during the first half to stand at SR295 million.


Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence
  • More banks are switching to increased virtual interactions and digitalization, and new banks are opening entirely on that premise

CAIRO: Saudi banks shut down 42 branches over the year ending in June, revealed the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.

The number of bank branches in Saudi Arabia also inched lower to 1,927 in the second quarter this year from 1,932 in the same quarter last year.

So, what are the reasons behind this decreased number of bank branches, and when did this trend begin?

The most common assumption would be the COVID-19 pandemic and its prolonged effect on the entire economy, including the financial and banking sectors.

Between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2021, which includes the peak of the pandemic, 68 branches were closed. 

Also, bank branches continued to decrease quarterly long after lifting COVID-19 restrictions, albeit there was no clear trend.

Between May 2020 and June this year, 137 bank branches in the Kingdom shut shop.

It is worth mentioning that branches that have closed are not second-tier or underperforming banks but some of the largest and well-performing ones. For instance, Al Rajhi Bank, which had 543 branches in the fourth quarter of 2020, reduced it to 515 by June this year.

While COVID-19 sparked the digital revolution, advanced and innovative technologies did the job.

The past three years of the pandemic slowly began the transformation toward digital banking, which can be seen closely in the Saudi banking sector.

More banks are switching to increased virtual interactions and digitalization, and new banks are opening entirely on that premise.

Last February, SAMA licensed and welcomed the Kingdom’s third digital bank D360 Bank, following the launch of STC and Saudi Digital Bank in June last year.

Similarly, according to SAMA, 19 Saudi fintech companies have been authorized to provide payment services, consumer microfinance and electronic insurance brokerage over the past few months.

So, what does the future of digital banking in the Kingdom hold and will the population accept this digital revolution?

In a survey conducted by Ipsos in the Kingdom in October 2021, the research major pointed out that 61 percent still trust traditional banks, while 47 percent counted on mobile service providers and 40 percent depended on popular digital brands to carry out financial transactions.

The report added: “63 percent said that they will be making all their financial transactions through digital banking in the future, and 58 percent believe that people would no longer use cash as a payment method.”