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Staff report:

CAIRO, May 22, 2018 - Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on Tuesday signed a US$200 million deal for developing the government-owned Suez Company for Oil Products, a senior Government official said.

Investment and International Co-operation Minister Dr Sahar Nasr said that the agreement was aimed at improving the company’s overall efficiency and the quality of its products.

The agreement, which was co-signed by Dr Nasr and EBRD Natural Resources Management Sector Head Eric Rasmussen, is also aimed at turning the company into an environment-friendly facility.

“The EBRD-supported project will help the company adopt a set of new technologies to reduce the level of its gas emissions, which are harmful to the environment and people’s health,” Dr Nasr said.

Moreover, she continued, the agreement would help the company improve the quality of its products through the adoption of advanced technologies and modern equipment.

In addition, the new technologies and equipment would help the company reduce its operational costs and hire more young workers, who would receive training in operating the modern machines, Minister Nasr added.

Once completed, the EBRD-supported project would help Egypt become a regional hub for producing clean energy in environment-friendly conditions, she said.

“The Ministry is keen on enhancing all the energy sectors and attracting more investments to the vital oil-related industries, now that the government has adopted economic reforms that offer a myriad of incentives to capital owners,” Dr Nasr said.

Oil Minister Tareq el-Mulla, who attended the signing of the loan agreement, said that the proceeds would be used for modernising the company’s existing facilities and building a new cauldron.

“These facilities include the company’s main refinery, gas recycling plants, distillation centres and industrial safety sections,” Minister el-Mulla said.

“The EBRD-loan agreement will also help secure a steady supply of high-quality oil products and reduce imports. From now on there will be increased co-operation between the Ministry and the EBRD,” the minister said.

Mr Rasmussen said that he was happy to sign the legal documents of the EBRD-loan in Cairo and the agreement would help Egypt achieve its sustainable development goals.

Later in the day, Minister el-Mulla and Mr Rasmussen held talks that focused on the possibility of more EBRD’s involvement in implementing new natural gas ventures and building and equipping more facilities for fuelling cars that are run on natural gas.     

 

CAIRO, May 21, 2018 (MENA) - The Petroleum Ministry is still acting to launch international bids and sign exploration agreements with the aim to increase oil production and reserves.

Indeed, Egypt offers attractive opportunities in the field of oil and gas, said Petroleum Minister Tareq el Molla in statements Monday.

He announced the launch of two international bids in 2018 to explore for oil and gas.

The bids are conducted by the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co. (EGAS) in 27 sections covering most of the sedimentary basins in Egypt, Molla noted.

He said that the EGPC bid includes 11 sections; five in the Western Desert, two in the Nile Valley, three in the Gulf of Suez and one in the Eastern Desert.

The EGAS bid, which is the largest in the company's history since its launch in 2001, covers 16 sections; 13 offshore in the Mediterranean Sea and three in the Nile Delta.

Gazette Staff

CAIRO, May 19, 2018 - President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has directed the government to keep up its efforts to develop the electricity and oil sectors.

The assertion of this firm state policy came at a joint meeting that

President Sisi called yesterday with the Minister of Electricity, Dr.Mohamed Shaker,and Oil Minister Tareq el-Mulla to assess the pace of implementing their plans for developing the energy and petroleum sectors.

During the meeting, President Sisi stressed the necessity of pursuing the distinguished performance of the electricity and oil sectors as well as their constant upgrading so as to meet the needs of citizens, Presidency Spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi said.

Ministers Shaker and el-Mulla presented separate reports to the President about their ministries’ efforts to achieve energy security and push forward developmental efforts.

Minister Shaker reviewed the progress of work in various projects that were being implemented in the electricity sector, pointing out that the sector was witnessing comprehensive enhancement with the establishment and upgrading of new power plants.

Besides Ministers Shaker and el-Mulla, attending the meeting were Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Finance Minister Amr el-Garhi, Acting Intellegince Director Abbas Kamel, and Mr. Ahmed Kajok, the deputy finance minister.

President Sisi gave instructions to the government to continue the successful economic structural and monetary reforms while increasing expenditures on health, education, infra-structure sectors, and programmes to help protect Egypt’s most vulnerable.

LONDON, May 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Brent oil prices rose on Friday and were set for a sixth straight week of gains, boosted by strong demand, looming sanctions on Iran, plummeting Venezuelan production and Nigerian disruptions.

Brent crude futures rose by 22 cents to $79.52 a barrel at 1337 GMT. The benchmark on Thursday broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were unchanged at $71.49 a barrel, and set for a third straight week of increase.

British bank Barclays said it expected average prices of $70 per barrel for Brent this year and $65 a barrel for 2019, up from estimates of $63 and $60 previously.

"Since last month, Venezuela's production decline, Trump's Iran sanctions decision, a new disruption in Nigeria, and anecdotal evidence from a new round of producer earnings require a price forecast revision," the bank said.

Rising prices have already raised the alarm among big oil-consuming countries.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it would make sure the world is adequately supplied with oil just as major consumer India expressed frustration with rising prices.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih called India's Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to assure him that supporting global economic growth was "one of the kingdom's key goals", the Saudi Energy Ministry said.

Crude prices have received broad support from voluntary supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The International Energy Agency said oil inventories in the developed world had already dipped below the five-year average, a measure targeted by OPEC and its allies.

Beyond OPEC's cuts, strong demand, falling output from Venezuela and a US announcement this month that it would renew sanctions against OPEC member Iran have helped push up Brent by 20 percent since the start of the year.

US investment bank Jefferies said sanctions against Iran could remove more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from the market.

Barclays said output from Venezuela could fall below 1 million bpd. The country, also an OPEC member, produced around 1.5 million bpd in April.

In Nigeria, Shell declared force majeure on Thursday on loadings of Bonny Light crude. Exports of the grade were expected to run at nearly 200,000 bpd in June. Nigeria's Forcados stream was also experiencing delays due to a pipeline leak.

BP, however, sees the rally cooling off. The oil major's Chief Executive Bob Dudley told Reuters he saw oil falling to between $50 and $65 a barrel due to surging shale output and OPEC's capacity to boost production.

ABU DHABI, May 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) plans to invest $45 billion over the next five years to expand its refining and petrochemicals operations, it said on Sunday.

Striving to become a global player in the downstream sector, the state oil giant wants to double its refining capacity and triple petrochemicals output potential by 2025 as it looks to capture new growth markets, ADNOC’s Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber told Reuters on Saturday.

On Sunday al-Jaber presented ADNOC’s downstream expansion strategy at an industry conference in Abu Dhabi, alongside CEOs of oil majors such as BP, Total and Eni , which have secured long-term oil production deals in the United Arab Emirates, a key Gulf OPEC member.

The centrepiece of ADNOC’s strategy is the Ruwais industrial complex, which ADNOC wants to turn into the largest integrated refining and petrochemicals complex in the world, al-Jaber said at the conference.

ADNOC plans to expand refining and petrochemical operations at Ruwais by adding a third refinery to boost capacity by 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) by 2025, lifting total refining potential to 1.5 million bpd.

“We are extending an invitation to existing and new partners to join with us in building a world-leading refining and petrochemicals complex and manufacturing ecosystem here in Ruwais,” al-Jaber said.

The company, a major Middle East producer that pumps about 3 million bpd, will also make overseas investments to secure access to growth markets, it said on Sunday.

The traditionally conservative national oil company has been shaking up operations since the 2016 appointment of al-Jaber as CEO after years of being overshadowed by neighbour Saudi Aramco.

Now ADNOC is seeking to become more competitive, with its downstream shift focusing on Asian markets where oil demand is still growing.

It listed 10 per cent of its fuel distribution business late last year, set up a new trading unit to handle its crude oil and refined products while also expanding partnerships with strategic investors.

This year it finalised 40-year concession agreements for its offshore oilfields with both Western oil companies and Asian buyers.

“Everything we are doing here is centred around ensuring that we are operating in the most efficient manner,” al-Jaber told Reuters, adding that it intends to extract maximum value from every barrel produced.

The company said in November that it plans to spend more than $109 billion in the next five years to boost gas output and invest in international downstream activities.

On Saturday India’s oil minister, on a visit to the UAE, told Reueters that there was a consensus between Saudi Aramco, ADNOC and Indian companies to form a joint venture for India’s Ratnagiri oil refinery.

LONDON, May 11, 2018 (News Wires) - European oil companies are not ruling out reducing Iranian oil imports after the threat of new US sanctions, with some expecting banking issues to hinder trade, but there was no rush to immediately cut volumes.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States was exiting an international nuclear deal with Iran and would impose new sanctions that seek to reduce oil exports from OPEC's third-largest producer.

But as of Friday, companies in Europe said they were still taking Iranian oil. Iran pumps about 4 percent of the world's oil and exports about 450,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude to Europe, according to tanker-tracking data.

"At this moment, our trading activity is business as usual," said Marta Llorente, a spokeswoman for Spanish oil company Cepsa, one of Iran's customers in Europe.

"We strictly conform with European Union and international laws and regulations, and scrupulously respect any trade restriction that could occur from any potential international sanctions or embargo."

Another European buyer, Italy's Eni, said it is buying 2 million barrels a month of Iranian crude as part of a contract running to year-end, adding any new sanctions would take six months to kick in.

The U.S. sanctions have a 180-day period during which buyers should "wind down" oil purchases, meaning any loss of supply will not be immediately felt - and companies don't have to rush to find alternatives.

But Greece's biggest oil refiner Hellenic, which was the first European European company to agree to buy crude oil from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) after sanctions on Iran were lifted in January 2016, rang a cautious note:

"We are closely monitoring developments following (the) U.S. administration decision ... and will assess our position and commercial arrangements accordingly," Hellenic said.

"In any case we will make sure that we comply with the applicable international regulatory framework and, given our crude supply flexibility and diversification, we do not expect any significant effect on our operations."

The bulk of Iran's crude exports, about 1.8 million bpd, go to Asia.

A decline in volumes due to the sanctions will add to upward pressure on oil prices, which have gained this year because of an OPEC-led supply cutting deal and strong global demand. Crude has topped $78 a barrel, the highest since 2014, following Trump's sanctions announcement.

Market participants said there were still many unanswered questions about how the United States might impact European companies.

"We're doing nothing," said the head of trading at another European refiner. "It's wait and see. If we're forced to reduce, we will. Iranian is not the only crude."

 

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