Oil producers cartel Opec resisted international
pressure earlier this month to raise output in order to calm markets
unsettled by the prospect of a war between the US and Iraq.
Leaders of oil producing nations have brushed off the
latest price rise.
"We are watching the markets closely but we are
not worried yet," Opec secretary general Alvaro Silva Calderon
Crude oil for delivery in November rose $1 in
electronic trade in New York to $30.84 by midday on Monday.
In London, Brent crude for November delivery was up
$0.82 to a new high for the year of $29.25.
An Iraqi government spokesman said over the weekend
that his country would not accept any new resolutions on weapons
inspectors that overturned its agreement with UN secretary general Kofi
Iraq's agreement to re-admit UN weapons inspectors
for the first time since 1998 had cooled rising prices in recent days.
The price of oil has risen more than 40% this year on
fears of a Middle East war.
Opec members have agreed to restrict output through
production quotas in order to support the oil price.
However, Opec is committed to increasing production
if the oil prices break out of its target range of $22-28 a barrel for
The Opec secretary general reportedly repeated that
promise on Monday.
ABU DHABI BOOSTS ZAKUM OUTPUT
Abu Dhabi has completed a major project to boost the
production capacity of its giant offshore Zakum oilfield through a
successful gas injection process, as part of an overall programme to
upgrade the emirate's crude output capability.
The Pilot Gas Injection Project has been
'successfully accomplished' and it involved the utilisation of a
4,000-tonne gas injection platform at the field, according to Abu Dhabi
Marine Operating Co (Adma-Opco), one of Zakum's operators.
It said the platform, a joint venture between
Adma-Opco and the Zakum Development Co (Zadco), has the capacity to
inject up to 100 million cubic feet per day of high-pressure hydrocarbon
gas to each of the Lower and Upper Zakum reservoirs.
"The project involved various technical design
innovations that were managed by the project team," it said in its
monthly bulletin. "These included the use of dry gas seal for the
compressors and modern control systems, with performance control and
Majid Al Suwaidi, manager of Zakum asset unit, said
the team faced many challenges during the commissioning of the field.
He said the need to adapt to the introduction of a
high-pressure system necessitated careful planning and co-ordination to
ensure safe operation of the plant and less interruption of production.
"This achievement has been a joint effort
involving people from organisations such as Adma-Opco, Zadco, Technip
(of France) and the National Petroleum Construction Co, in addition to
the extensive support from suppliers and contractors who provided
equipment, material or support services."
Experts said gas injection was a commonly used but
expensive technique to maximise oil output and it had been used
extensively in the UAE's main fields.
U.S., BRITAIN LOBBY FOR IRAQ RESOLUTION
The United States and Britain launched a joint
campaign to muster support for a strongly worded U.N. resolution
demanding Iraq disarm and threatening consequences if it doesn't comply.
Secretary of State Colin Powell decided to send
senior U.S. official Marc Grossman to Paris and Moscow to explain the
elements of the resolution on Friday and Saturday.
Grossman, who will travel with a British envoy,
briefed Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong in Washington,
The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China
are the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, each with
veto power to block a resolution.
OMAN STAYS AHEAD OF OTHER GULF STATES IN PRIVATISATION
Oman has been a pioneer in privatisation in the Gulf,
and if recent developments are any guide, the sultanate will maintain an
edge over its neighbours. In the past few months, privatisation in the
country has got fresh boost, with progress achieved on several fronts.
A group led by the British Airports Authority formed
Oman Airports Management Co to takeover the country's primary gateway.
It has a 25-year contract to manage Seeb and Salalah airports.
An investment of some 100 million riyals ($260
million) aims to transform the two airports, starting with Seeb
International Airport. Feasibility studies to expand Seeb airport are
due to be completed in early 2003. Phase one is designed to increase
passenger throughput at the airport from 2.3 million to 6.5 million by
In telecoms, in late August, the government formed
the Oman Telecommunications Regulatory Authority as an independent
regulator, partly to oversee the privatisation of Oman
Telecommunications Co (Omantel).
CHEMICAL PLANT COMING UP IN CAPITAL
A new Dh60 million chloralkali plant to produce
ultra-pure chemicals is being set up in Abu Dhabi's industrial city by
Al Jaber Group. The state-of-the-art plant will be financed by debt and
equity with Emirates Bank International providing the loan.
Incorporated early this year, Safewater Chemicals LLC,
a 100 per cent nationally-owned company, will build and operate the
plant. Commercial operations will start in the second half of 2003.
"It is the first such plant in the UAE, and
perhaps in the Gulf, to produce such products with such
technology," Jaber Al Jaber said.
Atkins Process is handling its process and detailed
engineering work. Successful bidders for three major process units will
be announced shortly.
The process to be used in the plant is based on
environment-friendly technology and will have electrolytic membrane cell
modules, caustic soda concentrator and hydrochloric acid absorber.
"The chemicals produced will be strategically important for oil
well management and potable water disinfection," he said.
MAKE PUBLIC SECTOR VIBRANT — WORLD BANK
The World Bank has urged regional governments to
enhance the performance of the public sector, saying government
inefficiency is the "number one risk" to investments.
"Financial deficits are only symptoms of
performance deficits in the public sector," Professor Prajapati
Trivedi, WB's senior resident economist in Saudi Arabia, told a group of
government officials and business leaders at the UN House in Manama.
He said the question that should be paramount in the
minds of policy-makers and citizens in the region is not whether to
privatise but how to privatise state-owned enterprises and attract
IRAN MOVES TO AVERT IRAQ STRIKE
Iran, keen to avert war in neighbouring Iraq, said it
was to hold talks with foreign ministers from both its old enemy Baghdad
and Washington's closest ally Britain.
Iran fought a bitter eight-year war with Iraq in the
1980s and is no friend of President Saddam Hussain, but it fears an
attack on Baghdad by its arch-foe the United States could dangerously
destabilise the Middle East.
DUBAI 2003 SIGNS PACT WITH AUDI
Dubai 2003 has signed a partnership agreement under
which the German luxury car manufacturer Audi will supply limousines for
government leaders and senior officials during the annual meetings of
the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund that will be held
in Dubai in September 2003.
The agreement was signed by Dubai 2003 general
coordinator Ibrahim Belselah, and the chairman of Audi AG, Dr Martin
Winterkorn and the board member for marketing sales, Dr. Georg
Flandorfer, during the Paris Motor Show.
Omani banks have limited banking opportunities in a
slow-growing private corporate sector, and do not have the critical mass
to finance large government projects, according to a report released by
Standard & Poor's (S&P).
The first week of Dubai's new exhibition season came
to a close with exhibitors and organisers impressed with the level of
Gulf Beauty, Beauty Shopper and Moda Arabia closed on
Wednesday, while Motexha Autumn, Ambiente Arabia and Arab Hunting shut
ANNAN DEPLORES ISRAEL'S GAZA ATTACK
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has
condemned an Israeli missile attack in the Gaza Strip that killed at
least two Palestinians and wounded about 40 others.
Mr Annan called on Israel to halt military action in
densely-populated areas, and said he was deeply concerned about the
possible consequences of the attack.
KUWAIT PREPARES FOR WAR
The debate over whether to go to war with Iraq is
being watched with growing interest in the Gulf.
US forces have been building up in Kuwait, officially
for an exercise, but as the only Arab country likely to fully back a war
with Saddam Hussein, Kuwait is likely to be in the firing line.
DUBAL TARGETS MALAYSIAN SMELTER
Dubai Aluminium Co (Dubal) is in talks with the
Malaysian government and some private companies to buy a stake in the
$2.1 billion aluminium smelter to be set up in eastern Sarawak state.
The smelter to be built near the port city of Bintulu,
180 kilometres from the Bakun hydroelectric project, will have an
initial capacity of 250,000 tonnes a year, which is likely to increase
Union Properties has spun off its facilities
management services into a separate company, ServeU, which will look at
projects in the UAE and the other Gulf states.
This is the second subsidiary to emerge from the
company's fold in the last five months — Edara was created in May to
offer project management — again with a GCC mandate.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF MEGA PROJECTS
The rapid pace of development in the Gulf, and
particularly in the UAE, has meant a great deal of projects covering the
oil and gas sector and, of course, infrastructure developments. This is
natural in the course of economic development and is to be expected in
However, as someone who has lived in the country for
long, my concerns remain about the environmental impact that is being
created by these mega projects, some of which involve dealing with the
seabed of what is already a fragile eco system.
NBK TO OPEN SAUDI BRANCH
National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest financial
institution in Kuwait, has become the third foreign bank to get approval
for a branch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
REMITTANCES TO BANGLADESH JUMP
Bangladesh through official channels have jumped
considerably in the last one year although the hawala system cannot be
eliminated totally, said a senior visiting Bangladeshi banker.
Meanwhile, two private banks from Dhaka are offering
facilities to Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) through their agents in
the UAE. The services, however, are restricted to opening accounts.