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Middle East & African Monitor – 5 September 2017

  • Libya’s Largest Oilfield Remains Offline – KSA Raises Oil Prices For Asian Clients.
  • Iran Tests New Long-Range Air Defence System.
  • Kenya’s Presidential Election To Be Rerun In October.
  • Moodys Amends Outlook On Oman’s Banking Sector.
  • RASGAS & Nakilat Downgraded By FITCH.
  • Saudi Arabia To Spend US$2.6 Bio On Tourism Projects.
  • Legend Holdings To Buy BIL Stake From Qatari Fund.
  • Egypt Seals Nuclear Power Plant Deal With Russia.
  • KUFPEC Buys 15% Stake In Norwegian Oil Field.
  • Dana Gas Shares Soar On Kurdistan News.Cathay Pacific To Establish Middle East Hub In Dubai.

REGIONAL COMMENTARY

Libya’s Largest Oilfield Remains Offline – KSA Raises Oil Prices For Asian Clients.
Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field which was suspended on August 19th still remains on hold due to ongoing militia activity in the area. Foreign workers have reportedly also been evacuated from the facility according to a Reuters yesterday. The field was pumping up to 300,000 bpd of crude before the shutdown. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has increased the price for its light crude exports to Asia by 55 US cents a barrel indicating demand growth.

Iran Tests New Long-Range Air Defence System.
Iran said that it has tested its first locally developed long-range SAM missile defence system called the ‘Bavar 373’, which is somewhat similar to the handful of Russian S-300 platforms its forces currently operate, and is due to come into service early next year. Meanwhile The Iranian Defence Minsiter, Brigadier-General Amir Hatem was quoted as saying earlier this week that his country was committed to boosting its military capabilities, especially in the area of ballistic and cruise missiles as well as cyber-warfare. The Trump administration imposed a range of new sanctions against Iran last month after accusing the country of violating the spirit of the P5+1 nuclear accord with regards to its ballistic missile development. Iran claims that its missile program is for defensive use only and is thus not a breach of the agreement.

Kenya’s Presidential Election To Be Rerun In October.
According to a statement issued by Kenya’s electoral commission last night, a rerun of the Presidential election whose August result was nullified by the country’s supreme court last week and the poll ordered to be held again within 60 days, will be conducted on the 17th of October 2017. In case you missed it you can read our recent commentary on this historic decision here.

Moodys Amends Outlook On Oman’s Banking Sector.
In its latest review, Moodys Investor Services had adjusted its outlook on Oman’s banking system from stable to negative. The agency explained its decision in a statement published today saying that the change reflected, “softer economic growth, tight liquidity conditions and the declining capacity of the Government of Oman (Baa2 negative) to support the country's banks in case of need,” although noting that it expected official willingness to provide such support to remain “very high.”

RASGAS & Nakilat Downgraded By FITCH.

FITCH Ratings agency yesterday downgraded its ratings on Rasgas and Nakilat from A+ to A and removed both names from negative watch. This move follows the agency’s decision to lower Qatar’s sovereign ratings to AA- last month.

Saudi Arabia To Spend US$2.6 Bio On Tourism Projects.
Saudi Arabia’s Commission for Tourism and National Heritage has said via its website that SAR 9.9 will be allocated on six new initiatives this year including the development of tourist destinations in Al Ula, the Fursan Islands and Al Raas Al Abyad as well as a number of important archeological sites, three of which are set to be officially recognized by UNESCO. The projects are a part of the Kingdom’s ‘National Transformation Plan’ and aims to help increase revenues from the tourism sector. Meanwhile the government is also seeking to raise the number of umrah and hajj pilgrims by expanding the range of facilities and accommodation options in Mecca. A reported 2.3 million Muslims attended this year’s hajj pilgrimage.

Legend Holdings To Buy BIL Stake From Qatari Fund.
China’s Legend Holdings Corporation has agreed to purchase a 90% stake in Banque Internationale Luxembourg from a Qatari investment fund, Precision Capital, for EUR 1.5 bio. The deal will however still need to be approved by the ECB and Luxembourg’s Financial Surveillance Commission.

Egypt Seals Nuclear Power Plant Deal With Russia.
According to Russian media reports, the Egyptian government has finalized an agreement for the construction of a 4800MW nuclear power plant in a coastal area north of Cairo at an estimated cost of US$ 30 bio. The bulk of financing for the project will come via a Russian state-backed loan at an interest rate of 3% with repayments reportedly only due to start in 2029.

KUFPEC Buys 15% Stake In Norwegian Oil Field.
The Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company has reportedly agreed to buy Total’s remaining 15% stake in the ‘Gina Krog’ oil field in Norway in a deal valued at over US$300 mio.

Dana Gas Shares Soar On Kurdistan News.
Shares of Dana Gas jumped by more than 14% on the Abu Dhabi exchange yesterday after the government of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in Iraq announced that it had agreed to issue an immediate payment of US$1 bio to a Dana gas led consortium in order to resolve an outstanding court case.

Cathay Pacific To Establish Middle East Hub In Dubai.
Cathay Pacific has announced that Dubai will be the airline’s main base for all of its passenger and cargo operations in the Middle East as part of the company’s renewed focus on the region.

05-09-2017

AND FINALLY…
Did you know that coffee was first brewed in Yemen around the 9th century? The drink only reached Europe in the 16th century.

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