Egypt, Lebanon discuss launching ro-ro line to boost trade

Egypt and Lebanon discussed Monday launching a ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) line with the aim of increasing import/export trade between the two countries.

The proposal was tabled during a meeting between Egyptian Minister of Transport Kamel El-Wazir and Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamieh on the sideline of the 69th session of the Executive Office of the Council of Arab Transport Ministers in Alexandria.

Ro-ro cargo shipping describes a vessel transporting wheeled cargo, including cars, trucks, buses, trailers or industrial vehicles.

These kind of ships have built-in ramps on their bow or stern to make the loading and unloading of the wheeled cargo much easier than if it was done with a crane.

Both ministers agreed to hold intensive meetings in the near future between specialists from both countries to study the proposal, according to a statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Transport.

Monday’s meeting also tackled means of bolstering cooperation between the two sides in the various transport sectors.

Hamieh expressed his country’s interest in cooperation with Egyptian construction companies to execute infrastructure projects, underlining the Egyptian experience in the field.

El-Wazir emphasised that all Egyptian companies “are fully prepared to carry out all the work required by the Lebanese side as per the international quality standards,” the statement noted.

Lebanon ranked seventh among Arab countries as a destination for Egyptian exports in the first half of FY2022/23, according the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Egypt’s exports to the Arab country hit $220 million while its imports stood at $108.4 million during the six-month period.


Lozan Urban Development launches 2nd phase of Apex Business Mall at NAC

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“The second phase of the project comprises unique units in a variety of areas that meet the ambitions and desires of customers by providing a number of commercial units under the ‘franchise system’ to achieve the highest investment return for customers in its project,” said Adel Abdel Moneim — Chairperson of LUD’s Board of Directors.

Lozan Urban Development (LUD) announced the launch of the second phase of its Apex Business Complex in the Downtown area of the New Administrative Capital (NAC).

“The second phase of the project comprises unique units in a variety of areas that meet the ambitions and desires of customers by providing a number of commercial units under the ‘franchise system’ to achieve the highest investment return for customers in its project,” said Adel Abdel Moneim — Chairperson of LUD’s Board of Directors.

Abdel Moneim added that the new phase includes a variety of facilities and flexible payment systems provided by the company to its customers in accordance with their different needs.

He explained that the mixed-use project comprises administrative, commercial, and medical units on an area of 2,600 sqm with investments of approximately EGP 700m.

The project also includes a ground floor and 12 storeys with a variety of units, with areas starting from 35 metres up to 100 sqm.

The chairperson added that the company offers payment plans with 5% down payment and payment periods up to 12 years, and that it expects to fully deliver the project within four years of construction.

He also noted that LUD has contracted engineering consultant office HAFEZ Consultants for the project’s engineering designs, in addition to CAD — a business management company — as a management and operating consultant to ensure the operation and management of the Apex Business Mall.

LUD has succeeded in developing a number of various projects in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with investments that exceeded AED 250m, in addition to its strategic partnership with a number of companies operating in the NAC with investments of up to EGP 300m.

Moreover, the company is currently working on a number of administrative, commercial, residential, and tourism projects in the Delta’s governorates with investments amounting to EGP 350m.

Saudi oil chief Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman says energy security imperiled by attacks

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Saudi Arabia’s oil chief said markets are going through a “jittery period” and reiterated Tuesday that the kingdom’s ability to ensure energy security is no longer guaranteed.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said cross-border attacks have put to question “our ability to supply the world with the necessary energy requirements.” The attacks have been carried out by Yemen’s rebel Houthis, who are supported by Iran.

“It goes without saying that if this security supply is impacted, it will impact us … but more fundamentally, I think it also will affect the world economy,” he said.

Prince Abdulaziz said Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates could once rely on a collective effort to ensure their energy security. “These pillars are no longer there,” he added. The prince spoke at the World Government Summit, an event sponsored by the government of Dubai in the UAE.

Oil prices, already at their highest in years, have shot up further amid the Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s largest oil producer. Brent crude prices are trading above $110 a barrel, though have soared at times past $120.

The Houthis have used drones and missiles to target the kingdom’s oil facilities, and have also attacked targets in the UAE’s capital of Abu Dhabi.

On Friday, they hit a Saudi oil products storage facility in the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah, sending huge plumes of black smoke into the air that were visible from the vicinity of the Formula One race where practice laps were underway.

The war in Yemen – where a Saudi-led military coalition, which includes the UAE, has been battling the Houthis since 2015 – has rattled these two Gulf Arab states, revealing the vulnerability of their oil facilities.

Saudi Arabia has expressed its frustrations in official statements, saying it will not bear any responsibility for shortages in oil supplies due to the attacks.

Crude oil prices have also been buoyed by a deal struck by leading producers, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, in an alliance known as OPEC+, which limited oil production to keep prices from crashing amid pandemic lockdowns in 2020. The group has stuck to its cautious plan of releasing more barrels on a monthly basis as COVID-1 9 restrictions have eased. Critics of the plan say the Russian war in Ukraine is roiling markets and sending energy prices soaring for consumers at the pump.

High energy prices have not only benefited oil exporters, but have also helped Russia offset some of the economic pain from Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

The United States, European nations and Japan have either called on Gulf Arab producers with spare capacity to pump more oil or, at a minimum, suggested they should. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered that request in person in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi this month.

“What we are asking for (is) not to tell us ‘do this and do that’. We are experts in our field and we have been doing it for a very long time,” UAE energy minister, Suhail al-Mazrouei, said at the summit.

Al-Mazrouei, doubled-down on the OPEC+ alliance a day earlier in remarks at an energy forum in Dubai. Again on Tuesday, he and the Saudi energy minister stressed the importance of Russia’s roughly 10 million barrels a day in crude output, saying it amounts to almost 10% of global oil demand. They insisted that politics – in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – should be separated from energy policy.

We are not taking a side today,” the Emirati minister said. The aim of OPEC+, he said, is stabilizing the market.

Gulf Arab states have been hedging their policies since the start of the Russian invasion, careful not to be seen as choosing a side.

Despite U.S. condemnation of the Houthis and U.S.-supplied anti-missile systems for Saudi Arabia, relations between the Biden administration and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de-factor ruler, remain tense. There has been no direct call between the two since the U.S. president took office, though President Joe Biden has spoken to the prince’s father, King Salman.

As the White House inches closer to a nuclear deal with Iran, the Biden administration has tried to reassure traditional Mideast allies of its commitment to their security. Israel and several Gulf Arab states remain fiercely opposed to any efforts that would lift sanctions on Iran.

“We have developed and delivered our side of the story,” Prince Abdulaziz said, referring to the kingdom’s position on the link between its national security and global energy market stability.

“People, others, need to deliver their own side of the commitment,” he added. “Otherwise, the very pillar of energy security will be disturbed, to say the least.”

This year, the World Government Summit is being held on the premises of Dubai Expo 2020, the six-month-long world’s fair that concludes later this week.


Tethys oil production from Oman reaches 325,632 barrels in January

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Tethys Oil’s share of the production, before government, take, from Blocks 3&4 onshore the Sultanate of Oman, in January 2022 amounted to 325,632 barrels of oil, corresponding to 10,504 barrels of oil per day.

The Official Selling Price (OSP) for Oman Export Blend Crude Oil for January 2022 was $80.26 per barrel. The OSP, as published by Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals, is the benchmark price for Tethys Oil’s monthly oil sales excluding trading and quality adjustments.

Tethys Oil, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Tethys Oil Block 3 & 4, has a 30 per cent interest in Blocks 3&4. Partners are Mitsui E&P Middle East B.V. with 20 per cent and the operator CC Energy Development (Oman branch) holding the remaining 50 per cent.
Tethys Oil is a Swedish oil company with a focus on onshore areas with known oil discoveries.

The company’s core area is Oman, where it holds interests in Blocks 3&4, Block 49, Block 56 and Block 58. Tethys Oil has net working interest 2P reserves of 26.2 million barrels of oil (mmbo) and net working interest 2C Contingent Resources of 15.6 mmbo and had an average oil production of 11,136 barrels per day from Blocks 3&4 during 2021.


Kuwait’s $33bn holding company appoints female CEO

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Kuwait Projects Co, the holding company with assets of about $33 billion, has appointed Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad as its CEO, in another senior appointment for a woman in the Gulf.

Sheikha Dana was previously the CEO of Al Futtooh Holding Co and on Kuwait Projects’ board since 2020, according to a statement.

She holds board positions in Gulf Insurance Group, OSN and Kamco Invest and her Her appointment is effective January 1.

In neighbouring Saudi Arabia, Sarah Al-Suhaimi became the first woman to chair the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, known as Tadawul (pictured above), in 2017.

The kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund has also appointed Rania Nashar as head of compliance and governance, making her one of the most senior women at the kingdom’s $450 billion Public Investment Fund.

Kuwait Projects, also known as Kipco, said Faisal Al Ayyar will retire as an executive after more than 30 years with the company. He will, however, continue to be the vice chairman.


Chevron’s Latest Oil Deal With Iraq Is One To Watch


The newly resuscitated Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) has been authorised by the government in Baghdad to directly negotiate with U.S. oil giant, Chevron, for it to develop the long-delayed Nasiriyah oil field in the southern DhiQar province, according to several domestic news sources.

The idea of developing the 4.36 billion-barrel Nasiriyah oilfield has been mooted by a rapid succession of governments in Iraq since it was discovered by INOC in 1975. The original plan to develop the field on a standalone basis was shelved in the lead-up to the Iran-Iraq war that began in 1980 and lasted until 1988. The field eventually came on-stream in 2009 and was listed on the 2009-2010 fast-track development plan, which aimed to raise its output to at least 50,000 bpd in the first phase.

In the first half of 2009, Chevron was one of four international oil companies (IOCs), along with Italy’s ENI, Japan’s Nippon Oil, and Spain’s Repsol, to be invited to submit bids to develop the field on an engineering procurement construction (EPC) contract basis. The Japanese consortium led by Nippon Oil, and comprising Inpex, and JGC Corporation, then looked set to win the contract before negotiations broke down again.

In 2014, a serious push was made to resuscitate the development of the Nasiriyah field within the broader scope of the ‘Nasiriyah Integrated Project’ (NIP) that also included the development of adjunct lesser oil sites to the main Nassiriyah site and the construction of a 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery. Bids for this wider project were encouraged by the government-ordered changes to the original Iraq technical service contract (TSC) that were aimed at addressing the concern of many IOCs that saw the contract model as falling short of the production sharing contracts model that they preferred.

Unlike the previous contracts, the new TSC variant offered investors a share in project revenues, but only when production began, and the Oil Ministry would pay recovery costs from the date of commencement of work. This differed from the previous contract where the costs were only paid when the contractor raised production by 10 per cent. This said, investors would still have to pay 35 per cent taxes on the profit they made from the Nassiriya project, the same amount as in previous deals.

At that point in 2014, the international engineering and construction firm Foster Wheeler had already completed a front end engineering and design study for the refinery, and 12 potential bidders were on the list. These comprised: India’s Reliance Industries, Oil and Natural Gas Corp, and Essar Oil, Russia’s Rosneft, Lukoil, and Zarubezhneft, France’s Total, and Maurel & Prom, China’s CNPC, the U.S.’s Brown Energy, a Japanese joint bidding team from JGC and Tonen General, and South Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction.

Given longstanding IOC concerns about legal, accounting, and financial transparency in Iraq, this 2014 initiative to develop the Nassiriyah oil field foundered. As summarised by the independent international non-governmental organisation, Transparency International (TI), in its ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’, Iraq demonstrates: “Massive embezzlement, procurement scams, money laundering, oil smuggling and widespread bureaucratic bribery that have led the country to the bottom of international corruption rankings, fuelled political violence and hampered effective state building and service delivery.”

In 2017, China relaxed its directive of the previous two years to all state-owned hydrocarbons companies to cut budgets. From the Iraqi side, this coincided with a fresh impetus for expediting as much production from the south of the country ahead of the chaos in oil supplies from the north that was likely to result (and did) from Kurdistan’s independence referendum to be held in September.

These factors then led to China’s Sinopec and PetroChina proposing a deal that would see the NIP being rolled out as part of the broader ‘Integrated South Project’ (ISP). The ISP (later rebranded as the ‘South Iraq Integrated Project’) aimed to boost output across Iraq’s southern oilfields, and also to build out related infrastructure, including pipelines, transport routes, and the construction of the Common Seawater Supply Project (CSSP).

“The Chinese said that they would spend US$9 billion on the [NIP-related] refinery and the first phase of developing Nassiryah but as, under the terms of Iraqi oil contracts, the Iraqis would have to pay back this cost to the Chinese from the value of oil recovered,” a source who works closely with Iraq’s Oil Ministry told “The initial reaction from the Oil Ministry was to decline the offer, and to say that the development should only cost around US$4 billion, which the Chinese in turn flatly turned down.”

The Chinese had other demands that grated on Iraq at that time as well. “China also wanted its firms to receive their costs back in a much shorter timeframe than most other similar projects,” said the source. “This meant that they were effectively asking for a per barrel remuneration fee at a 15 per cent premium to the highest maximum fee being paid to any company in Iraq for a regular crude oil producing field, which was US$6 per barrel to PetroChina for al-Ahdab,” he added. “This would mean that the Chinese would get around US$6.90 per barrel, more than [Angola’s] Sonangol for its heavy oil extraction at Najmah [US$6 per barrel] and Qairayah [US$5 per barrel] and would dwarf the US$1.49 per barrel that [Malaysia’s] Petronas was getting for the same type of field of Gharraf,” he told “China also demanded that it was given [Iraq] dinar-denominated government-backed bonds for the entire amount [US$9 billion] that could be cashed in if the development did not start to generate large amounts of oil quickly,” he underlined.

Given the negative history of dealing with China over the Nassiriyah project and the fact that Russia is occupied elsewhere in the country and the region, the U.S. might be in an unusually positive position to take a significant role in either the Nassiryah field development alone or in the broader NIP. This has been bolstered by the apparent willingness of Iraq’s de facto leader – radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr – to engage with U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, and by the shift in tone from one key player in Iraq’s influential al-Hakim family.

Whether this shift in attitude towards doing substantial and enduring business with the U.S. across its oil, gas, and petrochemicals sectors is genuine, or whether it is just the usual games-playing by Baghdad to keep the money flowing from Washington, remains to be seen but the slew of deals signaled recently appear propitious at this stage.


Saudi Arabia licenses 44 companies to open regional headquarters in Riyadh

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Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had licensed 44 international companies to set up regional headquarters in the capital Riyadh under the kingdom’s push to become a regional commercial hub and vie for foreign capital and talent.

Among the 44 companies are multinationals in sectors including technology, food and beverages, consulting and construction including Unilever, Baker Hughes and Siemens, a press release said.

The world’s top oil exporter and largest Arab economy in February said it would give foreign firms until the end of 2023 to set up headquarters in the country or risk losing out on government contracts.

The move, part of efforts by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the economy off oil by creating new industries that also generate jobs for Saudis, has put the kingdom in competition with regional business hub the United Arab Emirates.

The new headquarter establishments would add 67 billion riyals ($18 billion) to the economy and provide around 30,000 job opportunities by 2030, the President of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, Fahd al-Rasheed, said in a statement.

Rasheed told Reuters he expects the 44 firms to move to Riyadh within a year, adding that some had already done so. He said the target was for 480 companies by 2030.

The kingdom earlier this year said that 24 companies had signed agreements to establish main regional offices – including PepsiCo, Schlumberger, Deloitte, PwC and Bechtel – rather than oversee operations remotely from the UAE’s Dubai emirate.

European law firm DWF Group said on Wednesday that Riyadh would become its regional headquarters for business services.

Rasheed has said the move is not aimed at dismantling corporate operations elsewhere.

“We are simply saying – you need to have your regional headquarter here because this is not simply a contract economy that you come in and come out. We want to see you with us for the long term,” he told Reuters on Monday.

Rasheed defined regional headquarters as housing all major decision-making functions, but it was unclear how all firms themselves are defining Saudi headquarters.

Some people in the business community say companies are unlikely to shut operations in the UAE and may simply shift some operations to Saudi.

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas, not among the list of 44 firms, told Reuters in a statement that it was moving its Middle East sales h ..

Saudi Arabia has launched economic and social reforms aimed at making the kingdom an easier place to live and work in and has cut the red tape that long deterred companies.

source:Saudi Arabia has launched economic and social reforms aimed at making the kingdom an easier place to live and work in and has cut the red tape that long deterred companies.


ACME Group signs land deal for green ammonia project in Oman

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The agreement was signed with The Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, a Government authority of Oman, an official statement said.

In March 2021, The Oman Company for the Development of the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (Tatweer) and ACME Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to set up a large scale facility to produce Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia. The plant will be an integrated facility using 3 GWp of solar and 0.5 GWp of wind energy to produce 2,400 TPD of green ammonia with an annual production of approx. 0.9 million tons. The facility is being built to export green ammonia to demand centres like Europe and Asia with an investment of approx $3.5 billion, the statement said.

ACME Group Founder and Chairman Manoj K Upadhyay said, “The signing of land reservation agreement will allow us to kick start pre-construction activities. We have hired environmental consultants and owner’s engineers Black & Veatch and we plan to start the construction at Oman as soon we commission our first green hydrogen and green ammonia plant at Bikaner in India. The plant in Oman would be developed in phases and the first phase is likely to be commissioned by end of 2022.”


Egypt’s economy to grow 5% in 2021-22 as rebound continues

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Egypt’s economy will grow 5.0% in the fiscal year that ends in June next year, a Reuters survey predicted on Monday, unchanged from analysts’ expectations in a similar poll three months ago and slightly below the government’s target of 5.4%.

Gross domestic product (GDP) of the Arab world’s most populous country was seen growing 5.5% in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2023, the July 5-26 poll showed.

The government has said it expected the economy grew 2.8% in the 2020/2021 fiscal year despite the huge disruption across the global economy, retaining its place as one of the few emerging markets to achieve GDP growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic caused tourism to collapse in March 2020 and other parts of the economy to slow, as Egypt maintained a large trade deficit, which rose 9% to $30.6 billion in July 2020-March 2021 compared to the year prior.

Allen Sandeep of Naeem Brokerage said Egypt’s high current account deficit was partly a result of lower tourism revenues.

“The hope is that non-oil foreign direct investment picks up, local industry, local manufacturing takes over, and then you have substitution for imports,” he said.

Inflation was forecast at 6.0% in the fiscal year that ends in June, down slightly from an expectation of 6.4% three months ago. The headline price index is seen at 6.8% in the 2022/2023 fiscal year, revised up from an April projection of 6.2%.

Inflation has slowed as inventories have piled up after the market was throttled by supply chain disruptions last year due to the pandemic. Lower household consumption has also led to lower inflation.

“Now, if we see this COVID dragging on and tourism being quite weak … there will be a time when we cannot go on borrowing,” Sandeep said, adding that Egypt already pays debt investors a large premium over its central bank rates.


Global industrial services to execute Bharain steel mill

Global industrial services and engineered products company Harsco Corporation has announced three multi year contract awards for onsite steel mill services from new customers in Bahrain, Sweden and Chile totaling more than USD 135 million in projected revenues.

The contracts include the first steel mill to be built in Bahrain, the all new United Steel Company steelworks now nearing completion in the Hidd Industrial Area of northeastern Bahrain. The mill will be the Gulf Region’s first fully integrated producer of medium and heavy beams and structural steel sections, and is also envisioned to become the lowest cost producer of its kind in the world. Harsco’s new five year contract, scheduled to begin in the second half of this year, will service the mill’s anticipated production levels of close to one million tons per year, with objectives for further capacity expansion in the coming years. The SULB works becomes the second Harsco Metals & Minerals group operating site in Bahrain, joining Harsco’s AluServ aluminum dross processing facility at Askar which will now also provide slag processing support for the SULB contract.

The award in Sweden comes from SSAB, the largest Nordic manufacturer of heavy steel plate, and calls on Harsco to provide a range of scrap management services at SSAB’s plant in Oxelosund over a ten year period. Harsco’s services will enable the mill to better maximize its usage of internally generated scrap for improved efficiency and lower costs, while also enhancing the sorting and segregation of highly alloyed scrap materials for various production recipes. Harsco’s work will include a high-productivity Ferrocut(R) operation for reducing oversized scrap material into production-ready sizes.

In the third award, Harsco will begin services at the Gerdau AZA steelworks in Chile, a leading regional producer of steel products for the construction sector and other markets. Gerdau AZA is one of the two largest steel plants in Chile, and with this latest award, both are now served by Harsco. Harsco’s work will include slag processing, metal recovery and the sale of slag aggregates. The Company’s services are scheduled to start up in the third quarter of 2012 and, following completion of a slag processing site, the Company expects to be fully operational with all service activities by the first quarter of 2013. The six year contract adds to Harsco’s relationship with the Brazil based Gerdau Group, the largest producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the main suppliers of special long steel in the world.