Middle East

Middle East

Saudi foreign reserves drop to the lowest in 31 months


Saudi Arabia’s net foreign assets dropped to the lowest level in almost three years in August, as the world’s largest crude exporter grappled with oil prices below $50 a barrel. Net foreign assets held by the central bank fell for a seventh month in a row to $654.5 billion, compared with $661 billion in July, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency said in its monthly report.

Middle East

Sound Oil signs Moroccan exclusivity deal


Sound oil has signed a two-month exclusivity agreement with Maghreb Petroleum Exploration to buy a subsidiary of the Moroccan Sidi Moktar licences. The Sidi Moktar licence covers 3000km2 onshore in the Essaouira basin which contains multiple gas discoveries. Sound said it is carrying out due diligence and it will issue further updates in due course.

Health & Safety

NOC engineer shot dead in Iraq


A senior official working for Iraq’s North Oil Company (NOC) has been shot dead – just a month after his predecessor at the state-run firm was killed. The chief engineer, Saad Ali Hussain, had been driving to his office in the city of Kirkuk when he was attacked.

Middle East

Iran nuclear deal remains elusive


Disputes over attempts to probe Tehran’s alleged work on nuclear weapons are unexpectedly persisting, threatening plans to wrap up an Iran nuclear deal. Diplomats say at least two other issues still need final agreement. These are Iranian demands that a UN arms embargo be lifted and any UN Security Council resolution approving the deal no longer describes Iran’s nuclear activities as illegal. With few signs that Iranian or US negotiators are prepared to give ground, the high-stakes game of brinksmanship looks set to force a fourth extension of talks since the current round began 17 days ago.