Saudi Arabia

Middle East

Oil drops as Saudis to maintain spending, China diesel use falls


Oil dropped after Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, said low prices won’t reduce its spending on energy projects and China’s diesel consumption dropped for a fourth consecutive month. Futures dropped as much as 4.6 percent in New York. Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Saudi Aramco, is maintaining its investment plans despite the rout in the crude market, Chairman Khalid Al-Falih said Monday. Diesel use in China dropped 5.6 percent in December compared with a year earlier and gasoline consumption grew at the slowest pace in more than two years.

Oil & Gas

Iran’s Supreme Leader condemns Saudi embassy attack


Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said a mob attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran earlier had “hurt” the Islamic Republic, in a speech that also praised officials who secured the lifting of sanctions over the weekend. Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic and commercial ties with Iran after protesters stormed the mission in response to the execution by Saudi authorities of a prominent Shiite cleric on Jan. 2, deepening tensions between two powers on opposing sides in many of the region’s conflicts.

Middle East

Saudi growth at 14-year low as oil prices tumble


Saudi Arabia’s economy is set to grow this year at the slowest pace since 2002 as the oil-price plunge drains the kingdom’s finances, according to projections released by the International Monetary Fund and HSBC.

Middle East

A new Saudi Arabia is suddenly in a hurry in era of cheap oil


Saudi Arabia, one of the most tradition- bound societies on the planet, where family structure and tribal patriarchy differ little from a century ago, is suddenly in a hurry. It has done more in the past week than in most years. Over eight days, it has executed dozens of militants, severed ties with Iran and announced numerous steps for a radical rollback of the state that may include privatizing oil giant Saudi Aramco, among the world’s largest companies.

Other News

Iraq offers itself as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran


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


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


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


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


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.