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
Japan raised its gasoline subsidy for oil distributors to 33.8 yen (25.2 cents) a liter for the seven days from Thursday. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 August 2022

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 Grains Organization buys 5k tons of wheat for $2.4m 

Saudi Grains Organization buys 5k tons of wheat for $2.4m 
Updated 25 September 2022

Saudi Grains Organization buys 5k tons of wheat for $2.4m 

Saudi Grains Organization buys 5k tons of wheat for $2.4m 

RIYADH: The Saudi Grains Organization has deposited SR9 million ($2.4 million) to 15 local wheat farmers who supplied quantities allocated for this season.

Purchasing an amount of 5,058 tons, the payment constitutes the fifteenth batch, according to SAGO’s statement. 

It noted that the total amount spent this season so far has reached SR814.6 million.


Saudi banking sector’s assets to reach $1.2tn by 2030, minister says

Saudi banking sector’s assets to reach $1.2tn by 2030, minister says
Updated 25 September 2022

Saudi banking sector’s assets to reach $1.2tn by 2030, minister says

Saudi banking sector’s assets to reach $1.2tn by 2030, minister says

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s financial sector aims to increase the total assets of the banking sector to over SR4.5 trillion ($1.2 trillion) by 2030, the Kingdom’s Minister of Finance said. 

During his speech on the occasion of the 92nd National Day, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan added that the total banking assets amounted to SR3.5 trillion by the end of the second quarter of 2022, according to Asharq Alawsat. 

He noted that the growing strength of the Saudi economy reflects the solidness of financial policies, and its ability to adapt in the face of challenges.

He praised the results achieved by the Financial Sector Development Program, the Financial Sustainability Program and the National Center for Privatization Program.

The Financial Sector Development Program has increased the number of bodies that are effective in financial technology to over 120 companies until September 2022, he explained. 

With regards to the Financial Sustainability Program, the minister noted that it contributed to carrying out many structural reforms.

This is in addition to contributing to raising growth and employment rates, and maintaining financial sustainability, through which financial and economic stability would be achieved, he added.

Speaking of the privatization program, Al-Jadaan explained it contributed to strengthening the partnership between the public and private sectors.

He added that the National Center for Privatization Program has contributed to setting the general frameworks for the privatization system. 

In August, Saudi Arabia’s banking sector showed its continuation to outperform its regional counterparts in 2021, with assets growing by a record 10 percent to SR3.3 trillion, according to a report by The Banker.

The Banker’s Top 100 Arab Banks ranking showed that Saudi lenders’ combined Tier 1 capital base is higher than any other country in the region.

The ranking was issued for the year 2022 and data used for the listing pertained to 2021.

While higher oil prices helped economic growth in the Kingdom recover to 3.1 percent in 2021, up from a 4.1 percent contraction the previous year, it is the country’s booming mortgage market — fueled by government initiatives to help Saudi nationals acquire a property — that continues to boost banks’ balance sheets.


ADNOC, TAQA close $3.8bn deal for clean energy, decarbonization

ADNOC, TAQA close $3.8bn deal for clean energy,  decarbonization
Updated 25 September 2022

ADNOC, TAQA close $3.8bn deal for clean energy, decarbonization

ADNOC, TAQA close $3.8bn deal for clean energy,  decarbonization

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., and Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., known as TAQA, have finalized a deal for the construction of a $3.8-billion strategic project to power and decarbonize ADNOC’s offshore production operations.

According to a statement, a consortium comprising Korea Electric Power,  Kyushu Electric Power Co., and Électricité de France will build, own, operate and transfer its high-voltage direct current sub-sea transmission network in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The statement noted that the KEPCO-led consortium holds a 40 percent stake in the project under a build, own, operate and transfer basis, while ADNOC and TAQA own stakes amounting to 30 percent each. 

According to the statement, the full project will be returned to ADNOC after 35 years of operation. 

The transmission system will have a total installed capacity of 3.2 GW and will comprise two independent subsea HVDC links and converter stations, the statement added. 

The construction of this project is expected to start this year, and commercial operation is expected to commence in 2025. 

“ADNOC has once again demonstrated its ability to successfully structure and close a bold and progressive transaction that will help secure our low-carbon future as we intensify our efforts to decarbonize our operations,” said Sultan Al-Jaber, UAE minister of industry and advanced technology and managing director and group CEO of ADNOC. 

He added: “As the responsible provider of reliable and low-carbon energy, ADNOC will continue to work with our partners to advance practical and commercially viable solutions as the energy transition partner of choice.” 

According to the statement, the development is expected to reduce the carbon footprint of ADNOC’s offshore operations by more than 30 percent. 

The project will replace ADNOC’s existing offshore gas turbine generators with more sustainable power sources available on the Abu Dhabi onshore power network, operated by TAQA’s wholly owned subsidiary, Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Co. 

Mohamed Alsuwaidi, chairman of Taqa, said: “Reaching financial close is an important milestone for this distinctive project, which will see TAQA providing ADNOC offshore facilities with low-carbon energy securely and efficiently through TRANSCO’s power network system.” 

“TAQA continues to showcase how its expertise can be utilized to decarbonize industry through strategic partnerships and bringing value to its stakeholders,” he added. 


Germany seeks to deepen energy ties with Saudi Arabia

Germany seeks to deepen energy ties with Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 September 2022

Germany seeks to deepen energy ties with Saudi Arabia

Germany seeks to deepen energy ties with Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday after a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that he wants to deepen the energy partnership between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters, Scholz said that the partnership should go beyond fossil fuels to include hydrogen and renewable energies.

Germany, until recently heavily dependent on Russia for gas, has been seeking to diversify its energy supply since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Scholz, on a two-day trip to the Gulf, said he also addressed issues involving human and civil rights in talks with the Crown Prince.

During the meeting, the Crown Prince and Scholz discussed aspects of Saudi-German relations and areas of partnership between the two countries. 

The Crown Prince also discussed prospects of elevating the bilateral relationship with Germany and opportunities for the Kingdom’s development in accordance with Vision 2030. 

After the Saudi Arabian visit, Scholz reached UAE on Saturday night, where he was welcomed by Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, and several officials at the Presidential Terminal of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, news agency WAM reported. 

Scholz said on Sunday that he had seen progress in talks to buy liquefied natural gas and diesel from the UAE. 

The German Chancellor, however, did not provide details on the talks with the UAE. 

“We need to make sure that the production of LNG in the world is advanced to the point where the high demand that exists can be met without having to resort to the production capacity that exists in Russia,” Scholz told reporters. 

Scholz further noted that Germany is determined to never again rely on a single energy supplier. 

He added: “With the investments that we are now making in Germany, and that will become reality bit by bit next year, we will indeed have an infrastructure for gas imports for Germany, such that we are no longer directly dependent on the specific supplier at the other end of the pipeline, as we are with a pipeline connection.” 

Amid these widespread calls to reduce Russian energy imports, Moscow retaliated by reducing gas flows and threatening to shut off all the taps, sending prices soaring and could even raise the possibility of energy rationing in Europe. 

(With inputs from Reuters and AFP) 


Cement producer Qassim signs MoU to acquire Hail Cement

Cement producer Qassim signs MoU to acquire Hail Cement
Updated 25 September 2022

Cement producer Qassim signs MoU to acquire Hail Cement

Cement producer Qassim signs MoU to acquire Hail Cement

RIYADH: Qassim Cement Co. has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Hail Cement Co. regarding a securities exchange transaction, in which the former will acquire all of Hail’s issued shares.

Both parties will therefore proceed with due diligence in connection with the proposed transaction, according to a bourse filing.

Upon completion of the relevant financial evaluation and after consideration of the due diligence, Qassim and Hail will begin discussions on a non-binding exchange ratio.

Hail’s shareholders will receive 0.1933 newly issued shares in Qassim for each share they own in Hail.