Middle East

Middle East

Report to show Iran nuclear probe stalled

The UN’s atomic agency will be reporting a standstill in attempts to probe allegations that Iran is working on nuclear arms, in an assessment later today, diplomats have said. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports regularly on Iran’s nuclear programme, but the upcoming summary is particularly important because its investigation figures in an emerging deal meant to restrict Tehran’s nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

Middle East

McDermott International wins Saudi Aramco contract

McDermott International has been awarded a large brownfield contract by Saudi Aramco for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of 12 jackets for offshore oil and gas fields in Saudi Arabian waters. The work is scheduled for completion by the end of the first quarter of 2016. The award is the second for the company from Saudi Aramco this year, and represents a work scope bud under an existing long-term agreement.

Middle East

Iran to axe motorists allowance for subsidised fuel

Iran is set to abolish motorists' allowance for heavily subsidised fuel and set a price, according to the country's deputy oil minister. The move is being made as the government makes careful steps to cut back on costly handouts. According to reports, Abbas Kazemi said petrol would now be sold at a single rate of $0.35 per litre.

Middle East

Questerre Energy signs MOU for oil shale acreage in Jordan

Questerre Energy has signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The agreement is for the appraisal and development of oil shale acreage in Jordan. It encompasses two blocks covering 388km in the Isfir-Jafr area, which is 200km south of the capital, Amman.

Middle East

Oil market shrugging off turmoil in Middle East

When Islamic State fighters in Iraq captured the town of Ramadi this week, just 80 miles (129 kilometers) from the capital of the Middle East’s second-largest oil producer, crude markets shrugged. Rather than the spikes that have historically accompanied geopolitical disturbances, oil prices actually fell that day. Elsewhere, Libya is on the verge of becoming a failed state and Saudi Arabia is waging an air war against rebels in neighboring Yemen. Again, the markets seem blissfully indifferent. The old certainty that oil prices respond sharply to geopolitical upset no longer seems the case.

Middle East

Wintershall pulls out of Qatar activities

Wintershall said it plans to give up its gas exploration activities in Qatar as well as closing its Doha office. The BASF subsidiary will return its licence to explore Block 4 North near to the Qatari coast. The company said it had made the decision as a result of limited access to local infrastructure.

Middle East

Qatar Petroleum set to announce restructuring plans

Qatar Petroleum is set to announce a restructuring plan in the next few months in a bid to adapt to the change in oil price. According to the head of its international subsidiary, Qatar Petroleum International, the change is being made at the "right time" for the company.

Middle East

Abu Dhabi pivots for Asian partners in $22 billion oil push

Abu Dhabi, with 6 percent of global crude reserves, selected GS Energy Corp. of South Korea to join Japan’s Inpex Corp. as the second Asian partner in the Persian Gulf emirate’s biggest onshore oil concession. GS Energy secured a 3 percent stake for 40 years in the venture, it said in a statement. Another South Korean company, Korea National Oil Corp., said it will provide technical support to GS Energy in the project. State-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Co confirmed the award Wednesday. Inpex won a 5 percent stake in the venture last month.

Middle East

UAE energy minister set to lead IPIC as managing director

The energy minister of the UAE (United Arab Emrirates) has been appointed managing director of the IPIC (International Petroleum Investment Company). The move follows a reshuffle of the board. Suhail Mohammed al-Mazrouei will take up the position, replacing Khadem al-Qubaisi.

Middle East

Attacks in Baghdad as security forces try to repel oil refinery targeted by IS

Attacks in and around Baghdad have killed at least 14 civilians, as Iraqi security forces repelled an attack by the Islamic State group on the country’s largest oil refinery, officials said. Seven people were killed when a car bomb exploded in a commercial area in the town of Mahmoudiyah, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, police said. The car was parked in a mainly Shiite section of town near a bakery and went off as people were standing in line to buy bread. Another 13 civilians were wounded in the attack, police said. Hours later, another car bomb exploded in a car park outside Baghdad’s Yarmouk Hospital, killing four civilians and wounding 10, a police official said.

Middle East

Iran nuclear accord talks hailed as landmark

Iran and world powers took their biggest step toward ending a decade-old nuclear standoff, saying they agreed on the main outlines of an accord after more than a week of grueling talks. The deal announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday doesn’t commit either side to immediate action, and leaves three more months for diplomats to fill in details. But by outlining areas of consensus, from a timetable for lifting sanctions to the repurposing of Iranian nuclear facilities, it brings the Islamic Republic closer than at any time since the 1979 revolution to international normalcy. President Barack Obama called it an “historic understanding,” and the International Atomic Energy Agency said it was ready to verify Iran’s actions. There were early signs, though, that the next steps won’t be easy.

Middle East

Iran nuclear talks run into eighth day as US says deal possible

Iran and world powers extended talks aimed at ending the 12-year standoff over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program into an eighth day with the US indicating progress toward an agreement. Diplomats negotiated all night in Lausanne, Switzerland and will reconvene at about 9:00 a.m. local time, US spokeswoman Marie Harf said. The US State Department said late Wednesday that enough progress had been made in meetings between Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif to warrant continuing talks.

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.

Australasia

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.

Markets

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.