Middle East

Middle East

Petrotechnics appoint two new team members


Petrotechnics has appointed two new members to its Middle East business development team. Suhas Jadhal has been appointed as Petrotechnics’ new Middle East business consultant. Mr Jadhal has an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering and MBA in Construction Management and Research, and brings with him extensive experience in implementing enterprise solutions such as SAP and Primavera to major refineries in the Middle East and North Africa. He will provide hands-on customer support from Petrotechnics Abu Dhabi office, working closely with clients to achieve operational excellence through the deployment of Proscient.

Middle East

Second European firm pulls out of Yemen as violence continues


DNO ASA, the Norwegian oil and gas operator, have announced a suspension of production in Yemen as violence continues to rock the Middle Eastern country. The news comes just a day after French giant Total evacuated all expatriate staff from Saana and Kharir in the country. The oil major said its operations on Yemen’s Block 10 have also been reduced , with gas production maintained only for local power generation and supply to nearby communities.

Middle East

Iran nuclear talks enter final day


Iran and world powers are weighing compromises in order to overcome a deadlock in nuclear talks with little more than 12 hours to reach an agreement. “We’re in a bit of a crisis with the talks; perhaps we have a bit of a new approach, we will see,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters on Tuesday. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow that there’s still a good chance the sides can overcome their differences before the deadline. An understanding can be reached “as long as none of the participants at the talks raise their stakes at the last moment,” Lavrov said at a press conference prior to returning to Lausanne, Switzerland, where the negotiations are taking place. The effort to end a 12-year standoff has negotiators still divided over the pace of easing sanctions on Iran, and the limits to be imposed on its research to ensure it can’t obtain nuclear weapons.

Middle East

Iran reserves again coveted by big oil after decades of conflict


Outside the boardroom of BP Plc’s headquarters on London’s swanky St. James’s Square, a display case houses the geological data from Masjid-i-Solaiman, Iran’s first oil well. The discovery of crude in 1908 laid the foundations for the company that would become British Petroleum and opened one of the richest opportunities that western oil companies have ever enjoyed in the turbulent Middle East. Since then, the industry’s history in Iran is intertwined with CIA-backed coups, colonial exploitation and the anti-western resentment surrounding the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


KDM Marine International appoint new regional manager for eastern hemisphere


KDM Marine International have appointed a regional manager for their work in the eastern hemisphere. The company, which is part of the James Fisher Group, has appointed Faisel Chaudry as their new regional manager for the eastern hemisphere. Faisel, who has more than eight years' experience in the oil and gas and offshore renewables industries, is tasked with growing the market-leading company's presence in regions like the Middle East, India, North Africa and Asia Pacific.

Market info

Dubai stocks drop to lowest in two months as oil rout deepens


Dubai stocks declined to the weakest level since January as Brent crude extended its slide on speculation that record U.S. supply may start to strain the country’s storage capacity. The DFM General Index retreated 1.4% to 3,563.95 at 12: 22 p.m. local time, the lowest since January 7. The index has decreased 3.9% in two days, dragging its 14-day relative strength index to 27, the weakest in three months, from 38 on Thursday. A Level below 30 indicates to some analyst the equities have fallen too far.

Middle East

Egypt to pay its $3.1 billion debt to foreign oil and gas companies a year late


Egypt aims to pay its $3.1 billion debt to international oil and gas companies a year later than previously indicated, according to the Egyptian oil ministry. The ministry said: "All current operational payments hae been made on time and are on track to repay any remaining arrears before mid-2016." It is expected that the debt will be repaid by the middle of 2016, a year ahead of the previously indicated mid-2015.

Middle East

Total signs onshore concession agreement in Abu Dhabi


Total has signed a new 40 year onshore concession agreement with the Supreme Petroleum Council of the Emirates of Abu Dhabi (UAE) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The deal will give the French company a 10% participating interest in the concession, which covers the 15 principal onshore oil fields of the region and represents more than half of the Emirate's production.

Middle East

Shell signs $11billion deal for Iraqi petrochemical plant


Shell has signed a deal with Iraq worth $11billion to build a petrochemicals plant. The agreement was announced by Industry Minister for the country, Nasser al-Esawi, who said the Nibras complex was expected to come on line within the next five to six years. The southern oil hub in the Basra region would make it the largest petrochemical producer in the Middle East.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia’s new king probably will not change current oil policy


King Salman, Saudi Arabia’s new ruler, probably will stick to the oil policy of his predecessor, the late King Abdullah, maintaining production levels to preserve market share even at the cost of depressing prices. A key indicator will be whether Salman, 79, retains the oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, who has driven decision-making since 1995. Naimi, who turns 80 this year, has said he’d like to devote more time to his other job, chairman of the science and technology university named after the late sovereign.

Middle East

Oman joins other oil nations saying OPEC decision wrong


Oman, the biggest Middle Eastern oil producer that’s not a member of OPEC, joined Venezuela and Iran in questioning the group’s decision to keep its output target unchanged even with crude prices falling. Oman is having a “really difficult time” because of low oil prices, Oman’s Oil Minister Mohammed Al-Rumhy said at a conference in Kuwait City. Standard & Poor’s lowered the country’s outlook to negative from stable on December 5, citing a risk that oil may drop more than expected.

Middle East

Saudis kept oil exports at seven-month high as OPEC met


Saudi Arabia’s oil exports rose to a seven-month high in November when it led OPEC to keep production unchanged as the largest crude shipper fought to keep market share with output rising from the US to Russia. Saudi Arabia’s oil exports rose to 7.3 million barrels a day from 6.9 million barrels in October, according to data yesterday on the website of the Joint Organisations Data Initiative. Crude stockpiles at the end of the month stood at 305.8 million barrels, the highest level since at least January 2002, figures on the group’s website showed.

Middle East

UAE Energy Minister says oil glut could run for years


Oversupply in crude markets could take months or even years to fix depending on when producers outside OPEC cut their output, Abu Dhabi-based The National reported, citing comments by UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei. “We are experiencing an obvious oversupply in the market that needs time to be absorbed,” the newspaper reported Mazrouei as saying. The United Arab Emirates supported the November decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to maintain production, The National reported Mazrouei as saying.

Middle East

Gulf Keystone Petroleum hits production target


Gulf Keystone Petroleum said seven wells are now producing at its Shaikan production facilities. A further well is expected to come online this month in the Kurdistan region of Iraq where operations are taking place. The company said total daily production has been gradually increasing since last month, with the company’s 400,000 gross barrels of oil per day target being reached shortly before New Year.

Middle East

Attacks on Syria gas plants


Suicide attackers have targeted two natural gas facilities in the central Syrian province of Homs, killing eight people, officials said. State news agency Sana also reported the attacks, saying guards opened fire at the attackers as they drove towards the plants, forcing them to detonate their bombs before reaching their targets.

Middle East

Iraq cabinet approves lower spending plan on oil’s drop


Iraq’s cabinet approved a smaller 2015 spending plan than the government expected because of the collapse in oil, which provides most government revenue. The budget, based on a $60 a barrel price for oil, stands at 123 trillion dinars ($103 billion), Saad Al-Hadithi, spokesman for the office of the prime minister, said. The budget deficit was set at 23 trillion dinars and total revenue at 99.8 trillion dinars, including oil revenue of 84 trillion dinars, Obaid Mahal, deputy secretary general of the cabinet, said.

Middle East

Iran said to discount light crude to Asia to deepest in 14 years


Iran is said to be offering its main crude grade to customers in Asia at the deepest discount in 14 years, taking a cue from Saudi Arabia in trimming price differentials. National Iranian Oil Co. cut its official selling price for January shipments of light crude to Asia to a discount of $1.80 a barrel below the regional benchmark as Middle Eastern producers vie to keep selling in the region, according to four people with knowledge of the decision. An official at NIOC’s crude-marketing department in Tehran declined to comment.

Middle East

Oil resumes drop as Iran sees $40 if there’s OPEC discord


Brent resumed its decline as an Iranian official predicted a further slump in prices if solidarity among OPEC members falters. West Texas Intermediate in New York also erased yesterday’s gains. Futures slid as much as 1.6% in London after snapping a five-day losing streak. Crude could fall to as low as $40 a barrel amid a price war or if divisions emerge in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, said an official at Iran’s oil ministry.

Middle East

Lukoil’s West Qurna adds $1.25billion to earnings, boosts output


OAO Lukoil’s West Qurna-2 project in Iraq is beginning to pay back, adding $1.25 billion to earnings in the third quarter, according to the company. The addition helped prop up earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization, which fell 2.4 percent to $5.34 billion after oil prices weakened, the Moscow-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. Net income dropped 48 percent to $1.62 billion. “Ebitda turned out stronger because of higher sales in Iraq,” Alexander Kornilov, an oil and gas analyst at Alfa Bank, said by e-mail. The Iraqi project contributed 22 percent to Ebitda, he said. Revenue rose 6.2 percent to $39 billion.

Middle East

Iraqi forces drive IS from oil town


Iraqi government forces have driven Islamic State militants out from their remaining strongholds inside the oil refinery town of Beiji. Officials said it is a key victory over the terror group that has captured much of northern and western Iraq in a summer offensive. The Iraqi troops, backed by allied Sunni militiamen, also lifted the Islamic State group’s siege of the oil refinery, Iraq’s largest, and hoisted Iraq’s red, white and black flags atop the sprawling complex hosting the facility. The officials said the army used loudspeakers to warn the small number of residents still holed up in the town to stay indoors while bomb squads detonated booby-trapped houses and remaining bombs planted on the roads. State Iraqi television also reported the “liberation of Beiji”, quoting the top army commander there, General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi. Islamic State extremists captured Beiji during their summer offensive. The Iraqi forces had collapsed in the face of that onslaught but have since partially regrouped and went on the offensive, with Beiji the biggest area they have recaptured to date. Since August, the Iraqi military has been aided by air strikes from a US-led coalition targeting Islamic State positions in Iraq and in neighbouring Syria. The two officials said fierce battles were fought early on Friday around the refinery and that government warplanes hit Islamic State positions around the facility on the northern edge of the town. The refinery’s capacity of some 320,000 barrels a day accounts for a quarter of Iraq’s refining capacity. Beiji will now likely be a base for staging a push to take back Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit to the south. Government forces tried to retake Tikrit earlier this year, but their campaign stalled and the city remains in Islamic State hands.