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Iraq offers itself as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran

06/01/2016

Iraq has offered to act as a mediator to ease tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran that escalated after the kingdom’s execution of a Shiite cleric and attacks on two of Saudi diplomatic posts in the Islamic Republic. Some Sunni Arab nations have followed the Saudis’ lead and severed or downgraded ties with Iran, while others have offered words of caution aimed at calming the situation. The offer by Iraqi foreign minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, made during a news conference in the Iranian capital, included the diplomat referring to the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr as a “crime”, a description that raised questions as to whether Saudi officials would even consider such an offer. The kingdom and its allies say that Mr al-Nimr was executed after being tried and sentenced to death under Saudi law.

Oil & Gas

Saudi Arabia set to announce 2016 budget amid oil plunge

28/12/2015

Saudi Arabia, seeking to cope with the lowest oil prices in more than a decade, may announce cuts in capital spending and other economic measures for next year as it unveils the first annual budget under King Salman. Key officials, including Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf and Economy and Planning Minister Adel Fakeih, are scheduled to discuss the budget and outline the kingdom’s economic policy at a news conference on Monday in Riyadh. An official from Saudi Arabian Oil Co. will also attend. While the government may reduce capital expenditure, it’s unlikely to reduce spending on healthcare, education or major infrastructure projects, according to Fahad Al-Turki, the Riyadh-based chief economist at Jadwa Investment.

Oil & Gas

Shale’s running out of survival tricks as OPEC ramps up pressure

28/12/2015

In 2015, the fracking outfits that dot America’s oil-rich plains threw everything they had at $50-a- barrel crude. To cope with the 50 percent price plunge, they laid off thousands of roughnecks, focused their rigs on the biggest gushers only and used cutting-edge technology to squeeze all the oil they could out of every well. Those efforts, to the surprise of many observers, largely succeeded. As of this month, U.S. oil output remained within 4 percent of a 43-year high.

Oil & Gas

Saudi Arabia said to weigh selling state-run entities stakes

21/12/2015

As global oil prices tumble, Saudi officials are considering plans to sell shares in state-owned entities and companies, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions, in an attempt to find alternative sources of revenue. The government may sell stakes in ports, railways, utilities and airports, the two people said. Hospitals may also be privatized, one person said. Saudi officials weren’t immediately available for comment. With oil prices down to an 11-year low, Saudi officials are accelerating efforts to reduce the economy’s reliance on revenue from crude exports. They may have missed their best chance when prices were higher, according to economists and an International Monetary Fund study that highlighted how successful attempts depended on policies put in place before the slump.

Oil & Gas

Iran says most of OPEC supports cut except Gulf Arab states

03/12/2015

The majority of OPEC members would agree to a reduction in crude production at Friday’s meeting, with the exception of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arab countries, Shana reported, citing Mehdi Asali, director general of OPEC and energy forums at the Iranian Ministry of Petroleum.

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Saudi Aramco signs MoU with Hyundai Heavy Industries

12/11/2015

Saudi Aramco has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on new business opportunities with HHI (Hyundai Heavy Industries) in Saudi Arabia. The MoU included a multi-faceted framework in areas such as engineering, procurement and construction, downstream, and the development of a casting and forging facility. The agreement also includes the development of a maritime yard in the country.

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Oil worker sentenced in Saudi Arabia returns home to family in UK

11/11/2015

A British grandfather who was sentenced to a flogging for breaking Saudi Arabia’s strict anti-alcohol laws has been reunited with his family in the UK. Karl Andree, 74, was threatened with 350 lashes after he was caught with home-made wine in Jeddah. He was put on a plane to Britain on Tuesday night after being freed from a Saudi prison, where he had been locked up since August last year.

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Saudi Arabia to tackle global bond markets for first time amid low oil prices

10/11/2015

Saudi Arabia could soon tap into international bond markets for the first time, according to reports. The Financial Times said the move was a growing signal of the challenges the country faces as lower oil prices impact its public finances. Officials in the country said Saudi Arabia could increase its debt levels by up to 50% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) within five years.

Oil & Gas

Saudi Arabia could raise domestic energy prices

27/10/2015

Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said the country is looking at raising domestic energy prices. Ali al-Naimi made the announcement in a move which could help reduce a lavish system of subsidies which has been blamed for waste and surging fuel consumption.

Oil & Gas

Saudi Arabia said to delay contractor payments after oil slump

19/10/2015

Saudi Arabia is delaying payments to government contractors as the slump in oil prices pushes the country into a deficit for the first time since 2009, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. Companies working on infrastructure projects have been waiting six months or more for payments as the government seeks to preserve cash, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Delays have increased this year and the government has also been seeking to cut prices on contracts, the people said.

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