Oil Updates — Crude gains; S-Oil expects lower refining margins in Q3; Iranian tanker to retrieve confiscated oil cargo

Oil Updates — Crude gains; S-Oil expects lower refining margins in Q3; Iranian tanker to retrieve confiscated oil cargo
South Korea’s S-Oil Corp. said on Thursday that profits in the second quarter rose more than 200 percent. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 28 July 2022

Oil Updates — Crude gains; S-Oil expects lower refining margins in Q3; Iranian tanker to retrieve confiscated oil cargo

Oil Updates — Crude gains; S-Oil expects lower refining margins in Q3; Iranian tanker to retrieve confiscated oil cargo

RIYADH: Oil gained more than $1 a barrel on Thursday, extending gains from the previous session, buoyed by improved risk appetite among investors while lower crude inventories and a rebound in gasoline demand in the US supported prices.

Brent crude futures for September rose $1.20, or 1.1 percent, to $107.82 a barrel by 0158 GMT, after gaining $2.22 on Wednesday.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $98.70 a barrel, up $1.44, or 1.5 percent, after rising $2.28 in the previous session.

South Korea’s S-Oil expects regional refining margins to fall in Q3

South Korea’s S-Oil Corp. said on Thursday that profits in the second quarter rose more than 200 percent. 

However, it expects regional refining margins to correct downward in the third quarter but stay elevated more than in previous cycles, supported by the tight supply situation in the global refining system, the company said in its earnings statement.

The company’s second-quarter operating profit rose 201.6 percent to 1.72 trillion won ($1.31 billion) over the same period a year ago, according to the statement.

In the April-June period, the refiner operated the crude distillation units at its 669,000 barrels per day refinery in the southeastern city of Ulsan at 93.8 percent of capacity, down from 98.4 percent in the previous quarter.

The refiner said it plans to carry out maintenance for its primary residue fluidized catalytic cracker in the second half of this year.

S-Oil’s largest shareholder is Saudi Aramco.

Iranian tanker to retrieve oil cargo confiscated by US this week

An Iranian-flagged tanker anchored off the Greek port of Piraeus is expected this week to retrieve part of its cargo of oil confiscated by the US and sail back to Iran following a Greek court ruling, government sources said on Wednesday.

The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran amid growing tensions between Iran and the US.

The removal of oil from the Lana, formerly Pegas, prompted Iranian forces to seize two Greek tankers in the Middle East Gulf which have not yet been released.

“The (Greek) Supreme Court’s ruling... is in Iran’s favor,” a Greek government official said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue. 

The official said the ruling, which has not been made public, had come to the government’s knowledge on Tuesday.

For over two months, the Iranian-flagged Lana remained under arrest off the Greek island of Evia, near the town of Karystos.

(With input from Reuters)


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

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal with Uzbekistan for 1,500MW wind project
Updated 19 sec ago

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

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

RIYADH: ACWA Power Co. said it will sign today a $2.4 billion deal with the government of Uzbekistan for a 1500-megawatt wind project, a bourse filing revealed.


Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya

Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya
Updated 6 min 49 sec ago

Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya

Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya

RIYADH: Wataniya Insurance Co. has won an SR53.6 million ($14 million) deal to provide insurance coverage to NEOM’s tunnel infrastructure, one of the world’s largest transportation and infrastructure projects.

The Saudi-listed firm said in a bourse filing that the Contractors’ All Risk insurance contract was awarded by Samsung C&T Corp. Saudi Arabia.

In a separate filing, the insurer reported that its losses widened by 44 percent to SR37 million in the first half of 2022, as it incurred higher claims of SR199 million.


Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022

Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022

Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022
  • The two countries will bolster ties further with the signing of 12 new deals this week

RIYADH: The mutual trade between Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uzbekistan reached $95 million in the first half of 2022, a substantial increase considering that bilateral trade barely exceeded $17 million last year.

According to a joint news statement, the value is expected to grow rapidly by the end of 2022. The numbers assume significance in the aftermath of the pandemic.

In fact, the number of Uzbek companies running on Saudi funds increased from about nine to 38 in the last five years. Of the 38, 19 are sole proprietors, and the rest are joint ventures.

The two nations will bolster the ties further by signing 12 new agreements on Wednesday and Thursday when Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visits the Kingdom.

According to an Uzbek state agency, high-level talks will take place in Jeddah, where the two nations will discuss opportunities to enhance multilateral cooperation further.

The discussion will focus on the green economy, technology and digitalization, innovations, small business and entrepreneurship. 

Following the meeting, new agreements are expected to be signed in the energy, telecommunications, agriculture, chemical and petrochemical industries, besides encouraging ties in culture, sports and education.

The Kingdom has become one of the largest foreign investors in energy infrastructure and one of Uzbekistan’s most significant developers of green energy projects.

ACWA Power’s Uzbek interests

Recently, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan and Saudi energy company ACWA Power signed several investment agreements for about $3 billion.

ACWA Power will develop and operate a wind energy project with a production capacity of 1,500 MW in the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan.

When commissioned, the plant will become the largest of its kind in Central Asia and one of the largest wind power plants in the world. 

FASTFACTS

• The number of Uzbek companies running on Saudi funds increased from about nine to 38 in the last five years.

• Recently, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan and Saudi energy company ACWA Power signed several investment agreements for about $3 billion.

• The Saudi Fund for Development has contributed to the implementation of many projects in Uzbekistan, including funding the Samarkand-Gozar Road project, with a total value of $30 million.

ACWA Power also signed an agreement to establish the 100MW Nokus wind farm project, the first renewable energy project to be implemented in partnership with Uzbekistan’s public and private sectors.

The power generating company also won a $108 million wind contract after proposing a tariff of 2.56 cents per kilowatt-hour, the lowest in Uzbekistan.

Additionally, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with ACWA Power to establish a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Shirin, located in Syrdarya, Uzbekistan. The deal amounts to $1.2 billion.

According to the statement, these projects will contribute to achieving Uzbekistan’s national goal of raising the total renewable energy generation capacity to 30 percent by 2030.

Saudi Fund for Development

Moreover, the Saudi Fund for Development has contributed to the implementation of many projects in Uzbekistan, including funding the Samarkand-Gozar Road project, with a total value of $30 million.

The fund also contributed to 20 projects in the republic, including building pumping stations and other projects involving sewage, chemicals, mining, building materials, water and agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, the Saudi and Uzbek delegations have discussed issues of cooperation in agriculture, including the prospects for enhancing mutual trade in agricultural products.

Both parties will likely sign memorandums of cooperation in agriculture, veterinary medicine and livestock development at the meeting.

They also agreed to deepen cooperation in the agricultural sector to enhance trade in farming, livestock and other products between the countries.

After signing the memoranda, action plans will be prepared, including specific measures and areas for developing cooperation and joint projects.

The Saudi side invited the Uzbekistan delegation to attend its most prominent exhibition of the agro-industrial complex, which will be held at the end of October in Riyadh.


American Airlines bets on supersonic travel with Boom jet deal

American Airlines bets on supersonic travel with Boom jet deal
Updated 16 August 2022

American Airlines bets on supersonic travel with Boom jet deal

American Airlines bets on supersonic travel with Boom jet deal

CHICAGO: American Airlines Group Inc. on Tuesday agreed to buy up to 20 jets from aircraft maker Boom Supersonic, becoming the second major US airline to bet on ultra-fast passenger travel in the last two years.

The deal brings Boom’s order book to 130 airplanes, including options, valued at about $26 billion, Boom Chief Executive Blake Scholl said in an interview.

The return of interest in supersonic jets comes nearly two decades after Concorde, flown by Air France and British Airways, was retired following a deadly crash and high costs of fuel and maintenance.

Last year, United Airlines Holdings Inc agreed to buy 15 Boom Overture aircraft provided they meet certain safety, operating and sustainability requirements. A similar condition was part of the American Airlines agreement as well.

American also has an option to purchase 40 more of the jets, each of which can carry 65 to 80 passengers, the companies said.

The four-engine Overture jet can fly from Miami to London in just under five hours, cutting the nearly nine-hour flight time between the cities by about half.

American Airlines spokesperson Matt Miller said it was too early to discuss ticket prices, given the aircraft isn't expected to carry its first passengers until 2029.

Supersonic jets have come under criticism from environmentalists for burning more fuel per passenger than comparable subsonic planes.

The Overture jet, being designed to run fully on sustainable aviation fuel or a blend, will be rolled out of Boom’s Greensboro, North Carolina factory in 2025, followed by test flights in 2026.

Third Bridge senior analyst Christopher Raite sounded a word of caution on Boom’s delivery target, saying the delay in conducting test flights for Boom’s other jet, the XB-1, signaled that delivery of the Overture will be delayed.


87,467 families benefit from Saudi housing program in 2022

87,467 families benefit from Saudi housing program in 2022
Updated 16 August 2022

87,467 families benefit from Saudi housing program in 2022

87,467 families benefit from Saudi housing program in 2022

RIYADH: The number of families benefiting from Saudi Arabia’s Sakani housing options and financing solutions has reached 87,467 since the beginning of the year until the end of July. 

Some 104,492 families also received possession of their first homes during that period, the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The program seeks to raise the proportion of housing ownership for Saudi families to 70 percent by 2030.

The Ministry of Housing and the Real Estate Development Fund formed Sakani in 2017 to facilitate homeownership in the Kingdom through the creation of new housing stock, allocating plots and homes to nationals, and financing their purchase.

Earlier this year, Sakani program announced that it aims to enable 180,000 new families to benefit from the program’s housing options and solutions during 2022.