Oil Updates — Crude slips; US assistance in cleaning up oil spill-off in Louisiana; Oil depot fire in Cuba under control

Update Oil Updates — Crude slips; US assistance in cleaning up oil spill-off in Louisiana; Oil depot fire in Cuba under control
Brent crude futures fell 23 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $96.08 a barrel at0323 GMT. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 10 August 2022

Oil Updates — Crude slips; US assistance in cleaning up oil spill-off in Louisiana; Oil depot fire in Cuba under control

Oil Updates — Crude slips; US assistance in cleaning up oil spill-off in Louisiana; Oil depot fire in Cuba under control

RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Wednesday as Druzhba pipeline flows resumed and an expected rise in US crude stocks intensified demand concerns.

Brent crude futures were down 2.16 percent, to $94.23 a barrel at 05.45 p.m Saudi time.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 2.35 percent, at $88.37. 

US Coast Guard vessels aid in cleanup of oil spill off Louisiana

The US Coast Guard on Tuesday said it has deployed three skimming vessels and five response vessels to help clean up a spill of thousands of gallons of oil spilled into Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana when a Hilcorp oil tank platform collapsed.

Hilcorp estimated that around 13,944 gallons of crude oil entered the water, the Coast Guard said, adding that there was no reported impact on wildlife.

The Coast Guard said it has deployed 6,200 feet of containment boom along with the vessels.

It said the platform was removed as of Aug. 8, and the exact cause of the spill remained under investigation.

“Automated systems ... secured the facility and alerted operators to the collapsed tank. The platform remains secured,” a US Coast Guard spokesperson said.

According to officials, the spill occurred nearly a week after 4,000 gallons of oil were dumped into a swamp near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as the WCC Energy Group LLC was moving oil in a storage tank, the New York Daily News reported.

The Coast Guard was still overseeing the removal efforts of that spill.

Cuba brings oil depot fire under control

Firefighters on Tuesday finally overcame what officials described as the worst fire in Cuba’s history that over five days destroyed 40 percent of the Caribbean island’s main fuel storage facility and caused massive blackouts.

Reuters witnesses reported the raging flames that ravaged a four-tank segment of the Matanzas supertanker port had died down and the towering plumes of thick black smoke streaming from the area were diminished and now mostly gray.

Matanzas is Cuba’s largest port for receiving crude oil and fuel imports. Cuban heavy crude, as well as fuel oil and diesel stored in Matanzas in 10 huge tanks, are mainly used to generate electricity on the island.

Lightning struck one fuel storage tank on Friday evening. The fire spread to a second by Sunday and engulfed the four-tank area on Monday, accompanied by huge explosions and despite efforts by local firefighters supported by more than 100 Mexican and Venezuelan reinforcements.

Firefighter Rafael Perez Garriga told Reuters on the steaming outskirts of the disaster that he worries the fire would impact the power situation in the country.

“The situation is going to be more difficult. If the thermoelectric plants are supplied with that oil, we are going to have the whole world affected, it is electricity and it affects everything,” he said.

US oil refiners, pipeline companies expect strong demand 

US oil refiners and pipeline operators expect energy consumption to be strong for the second half of 2022, even though analysts and industry watchers have worried that demand could falter if the global economy enters a recession or high fuel prices deter travelers.

The company outlooks suggest a stronger view than recent data showing weakness in US fuel demand, particularly in gasoline, where consumption recently hit its lowest level since February even though this is the middle of the peak summer driving season.

US gasoline products supplied over the past four weeks recently fell below 2020’s level for the same time of year, when the US was in the depths of the pandemic.

Energy companies including Energy Transfer and PBF Energy say energy demand will be strong in the second half of 2022, according to a Reuters review of company earnings calls.

(With input from Reuters) 


TASI drops below 11000 for the first time in over 9 months as the market trembles

TASI drops below 11000 for the first time in over 9 months as the market trembles
Updated 20 sec ago

TASI drops below 11000 for the first time in over 9 months as the market trembles

TASI drops below 11000 for the first time in over 9 months as the market trembles

RIYADH: TASI dropped 1.53 percent at 2:43 p.m. Saudi time, trading below 11000 points for the first time in nearly nine months.

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Serco opens hub in Riyadh to elevate regional trade

Serco opens hub in Riyadh to elevate regional trade
Updated 22 min 38 sec ago

Serco opens hub in Riyadh to elevate regional trade

Serco opens hub in Riyadh to elevate regional trade

RIYADH: British public services firm Serco has opened its new headquarters in Riyadh as the company aims to develop its Saudi-based resources and leverage the location as a driver for local and regional trade.

According to a press release, the new office opened on Sept. 24, a day after Saudi Arabia’s National Day. 

The press release noted that Serco has already formed a specialized team with 15 percent Saudi-national representation, to deliver high-profile contracts with EXPRO and Royal Commission of AlUla. 

The company is also eyeing opportunities in the Kingdom’s smart cities and giga-projects, and these projects will be led by Serco’s Saudi national female country director, Mona Al-Thagafi.

“The opening of this new office, just after National Day on Friday, represents a key milestone for Serco as we fully embrace Saudization. We are already providing rewarding careers for young, local talent and creating many exciting opportunities in the future, for both men and women,” said Al-Thagafi. 

She added that Serco is offering candidates a chance to develop their skills through developmental, graduate and internship programs. 

The press release further added that the new office in Riyadh will also feature an ‘ExperienceLab,’ Serco's user-centered research and design agency, which the company says is “centered around people and innovation.” 

Speaking to Arab News in April 2021, Phil Malem, CEO of Serco for the Middle East region, opened up about the company’s aspirations in the Kingdom. “We are hugely enthusiastic about the potential of the Kingdom and we have tried to grow in line with Saudi Vision 2030. We are passionate about the Saudization program. It’s a key part of our strategy. We have continued to recruit, train and develop skills in Saudi nationals who can make a difference in the organization,” said Malem. 

He also added that Serco is closely following the development of Saudi giga projects including NEOM and The Red Sea Development Co. “We are actively in discussion around the potential of helping,” he said. 


Daman Investments launches UAE IPO fund for institutional investors

Daman Investments launches UAE IPO fund for institutional investors
Updated 26 September 2022

Daman Investments launches UAE IPO fund for institutional investors

Daman Investments launches UAE IPO fund for institutional investors

RIYADH: Dubai’s Daman Investments has launched a UAE initial public offering fund for professional and institutional investors, according to a statement. 

In line with the Gulf country’s plans to develop financial markets, the move will provide investors with higher returns compared to UAE stock market indices. 

Regulated and supervised by the Securities and Commodities Authority, the fund is expected to attract investment firms, professional investors and private family businesses.

“The fund will invest in the upcoming IPOs and in companies which have been listed during the past two years,” CEO Ahmed Khizer Khan said. 

He added the fund is “designed to meet the needs of professional and institutional investors, as it is expected to distribute quarterly and annual profits, respectively.”

This comes amid the rapid developments in financial markets and liquidity rates in the UAE.

In August, the UAE’s net financial surplus increased by 129 percent during the first quarter of this year, according to data from the UAE Ministry of Finance.

The surplus during the first three months of 2022 amounted to 36.4 billion dirhams ($10.1 billion), compared to 15.9 billion dirhams in the same period last year.


Mediterranean Shipping Co. connects Jeddah Port with 10 global ports

Mediterranean Shipping Co. connects Jeddah Port with 10 global ports
Updated 26 September 2022

Mediterranean Shipping Co. connects Jeddah Port with 10 global ports

Mediterranean Shipping Co. connects Jeddah Port with 10 global ports

RIYADH: Geneva-headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Co. will introduce a new call to its Himalaya Express Service to connect Jeddah Islamic Port with 10 global ports, said the Saudi Ports Authority. 

The new addition will link Jeddah Islamic Port with ports of Colombo, Nhava Sheva, Mundra, Salalah, King Abdullah Port, Valencia, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Antwerp, according to a statement. 

The service will include 11 mother ships with a capacity of 14,000 twenty-foot equivalent units for each vessel. Its first vessel sailing is expected to arrive at Jeddah Islamic Port on Oct. 23.

The global transport and logistics firm said it’s part of its commitment to serve the Saudi market and to expand import and export operations in the Kingdom’s ports. 

The cooperation between Mawani and MSC will enhance Saudi ports' performance on the investment and logistical fronts.

It will strengthen connectivity between the Kingdom and the world, reflecting positively on the operational efficiency in line with the objectives of the National Transport and Logistics Strategy of positioning Saudi Arabia as a global logistics hub, Mawani said in a press release.


Egypt aims to raise $6bn by selling stakes in state firms to revive economy

Egypt aims to raise $6bn by selling stakes in state firms to revive economy
Updated 26 September 2022

Egypt aims to raise $6bn by selling stakes in state firms to revive economy

Egypt aims to raise $6bn by selling stakes in state firms to revive economy

RIYADH: Egypt is planning to raise $6 billion by June 2023 through selling stakes in government companies as the nation tries to revive an economy badly affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Bloomberg, citing Egypt’s planning minister Hala El-Said, reported that the move will include share offerings to the public or block sales to strategic investors, backed by the country’s sovereign wealth fund. 

She did not reveal the names of the companies which will be listed for an initial public offering. 

The Bloomberg report further revealed that the stakes of some companies owned by Egypt’s army will be sold as a part of this program. 

Earlier this month, Egypt set up a new fund to assist government companies in getting listed on the stock exchange. The pre-IPO fund aims to restructure some state-owned assets and prepare them for stake sales. 

El-Said revealed that the ultimate target is to transfer assets worth $3 billion to the fund within three to six weeks, and it includes the assets of a power plant co-built by Siemens AG. 

The planning minister said that Egypt will conduct road shows in Europe and Asia at the end of October to showcase the investment opportunities in the country. 

She added that sovereign wealth funds within the Gulf and other regions will be approached to buy stakes in Egyptian entities. 

“Sovereign wealth funds are usually long-term investors, they add value in terms of expertise, finance and technology,” she said. The Bloomberg report further pointed out that Abu Dhabi’s ADQ and a unit of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund have already invested roughly $3 billion to buy shares in Egyptian firms owned by the government. 

Apart from eyeing more foreign investments, Egypt is also negotiating a new loan with the International Monetary Fund. 

Egypt’s fuel and food imports bill has soared as a result of the Ukraine war, and the country witnessed $22 billion in outflows from the local debt market since March 2022. 

Egypt had considered listing 10 government companies on the stock exchange this year, but the Russian-Ukraine crisis apparently delayed the plans.