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CAIRO, July 9, 2018 (MENA) – President Abdel Fattah El Sisi directed on Monday to develop the petroleum sector including the human element and turning Egypt into a regional hub for trading in petroleum, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said.

This came during his meeting with Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli, Presidential Aide for National and Strategic Projects Sherif Ismail, Petroleum Minister Tarek el Molla, Planning Minister Halal el Said, Finance Minister Mohamed Ma'it and Head of Administrative Control Authority Mohamed Erfan.

During the meeting, the president asserted the importance of enhancing the capabilities of the sector’s staff via using international companies specialized in the training field.

The president also directed to adopt all measures required to attract investments in the field of exploration for petroleum.

Meanwhile, Petroleum Minister reviewed the ministry’s plan aiming at developing the petroleum sector, adding that the plan will work on increasing production and cutting cost, raising the benefits of the petroleum products, developing the system of managing the sector’s resources and saving more energy to meet the needs of the country.

LONDON, July 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Oil prices rose on Monday as increased global demand and US efforts to shut out Iranian output using sanctions outweighed drilling data suggesting US shale production would climb.

Benchmark Brent was up 60 cents at $77.71 a barrel by 10:20 GMT. US crude was down 25 cents at $73.55.

The United States says it wants to reduce oil exports from Iran, the world's fifth biggest oil producer, to zero by November, in a move that will oblige other big producers such as Saudi Arabia to pump more.

But Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries have little spare capacity and oil demand has risen faster than supply over the last year.

At the same time, exports from several OPEC producers, including Venezuela and Libya, have been falling.

"If the Saudis and others replace the losses from Iran, there will be basically no spare capacity left," Societe Generale analyst Michael Wittner said.

US oil output is increasing but is unlikely to be able to fill the supply gap if US. sanctions are successful in blocking Iranian exports.

US energy companies last week increased the number of rigs drilling for oil by five to 863, up 100 year-on-year, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in a report on Friday.

The US rig count, an early indicator of future output, is much higher than a year ago as energy companies have ramped up production in response to higher prices.

But the US oil market is still tightening.

Crude oil inventories at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for US crude futures, have fallen to their lowest in 3-1/2 years, data showed last week.

"Cushing is clearly screaming out for crude," said Virendra Chauhan, oil analyst at Energy Aspects in Singapore.

OPEC, Russi and other producers agreed in June to a modest increase in output to dampen oil prices, which recently hit 3-1/2 year highs.

A rise in supply will reverse some of the output cuts that OPEC and other major producers put in place in early 2017 to end several years of glut.

The tightness at Cushing and the potential increase in Gulf exports "both have implications for how quickly the prompt overhang in the market can clear, and thus provide some direction for prices", Chauhan said.

VIENNA, July 6, 2018 (News Wires) - Iran's remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal vowed Friday to keep the energy exporter plugged into the global economy despite the US withdrawal and sanctions threat.

Three European nations along with Russia and China met with Iran to offer economic benefits and assurances that would lessen the blow of sweeping US sanctions, two months after President Donald Trump walked away from the landmark nuclear deal.

They said they remained committed to the 2015 accord and to building up economic relations with Iran, including "the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas" and other energy products.

Their foreign ministers agreed on an 11-point list of joint goals in Vienna, where the accord was signed three years ago with the aim of stopping Iran from building the atomic bomb in return for sanctions relief that promised greater trade and investment.

In the joint statement, Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif and other top diplomats reconfirmed their commitment to the deal and its "economic dividends" for Iran, which has suffered worsening financial turbulence since Trump abandoned the accord.

Despite the US threat to penalise companies and banks that do business with Iran, the remaining signatories said they would work to promote investment and trade.

They also vowed to maintain financial channels, promote export credit cover and air, sea and overland transport links, and to work for the "the protection of companies from the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions".

"These initiatives are aimed at preserving the nuclear deal which is in the security interest of all," said the joint statement read out by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

There was no immediate separate statement from Iran, which on the eve of the talks had signalled disappointment about the measures then on the table.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani had Thursday told French President Emmanuel Macron by phone that the European offer of economic measures did "not meet all our demands", Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

Since Trump's shock move in May, which dismayed all other signatories, Washington has warned other countries to end trade and investment in Iran and stop buying its oil from early November or face punitive measures.

The other partners so far appear powerless to stop their countries' companies pulling out of Iran for fear of US penalties. Several major firms -- including France's Total and Peugeot, and Russia's Lukoil -- have said they are preparing to leave.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas conceded that "we won't be able to compensate for all the effects of enterprises withdrawing from Iran because they see their American business interests threatened by the sanctions".

"After the withdrawal of the United States, which we can't understand, we face a difficult situation," he added, but he stressed that "we want to make clear to Iran that it will still gain economic benefits through this agreement".

Iranians have complained that the hoped-for rise in foreign investment and trade after the deal has not materialised.

 

MOSCOW, July 4, 2018 (News Wires) - The Kremlin said on Wednesday that the situation on global oil markets was unlikely to be one of the main agenda items at a summit between President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16.

“There are much more pressing matters from the point of view of bilateral relations that will of course be examined in the first instance,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call when asked about the matter.

“Beyond that, it’s all a matter of time that the heads of state decide to set aside for this meeting.”

CAIRO, July 4, 2018 (MENA) - Petroleum Minister Tarek el Mullah asserted the importance of the role played by the Gas Market Regulatory Authority (GMRA) in supervising all activities related to the natural gas market, protecting it from monopoly and setting prices of gas and services according to supply and demand mechanisms.

During the third board meeting of GMRA, Mullah said Egypt is proceeding on the track of liberalizing the gas market gradually through cooperation with the Oil Ministry's entities, noting that Law No.196 for the Year 2017 has given a special attention to consumers' interests and encouraging the increased involvement of the private sector to ensure a competitive environment.

The aforementioned law is a great boon to Egypt's ambitious plan to become a regional hub for the trade of gas and oil as well as to efforts to attract local and international investments and optimise the natural gas infrastructure.

The board of GMRA has approved its organisational structure, financial regulations and plan of action for the coming phase to be able to carry out its assigned tasks to regulate, follow up and control all activities related to the natural gas market in Egypt from granting and renewing operation licenses to calculating tariffs so as to ensure the availability of gas, maintain a well functioning natural gas grid and related facilities and protect the market from any monopolistic practices.

RIYADH, June 30, 2018 (News Wires) - Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and US President Donald Trump emphasised the need to preserve oil market stability and the efforts of oil-producing countries to compensate for any potential shortage, in a phone call reported by Saudi state media on Saturday.

The statement did not mention any intention by Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, to raise production to 2 million barrels per day.

Earlier on Saturday, Trump said in a tweet he had asked the king for such an increase and the king had agreed.

 

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