NL/25.06.2018

 

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CRIF GULF WEEKLY INSIGHTS

 

Country Risk Update – Kuwait
Risk Indicator – DB4b
Risk Level – Moderate

Ratings Trend – Stable

In Kuwait a pending resolution of the Divided Zone dispute with Saudi Arabia will boost oil production capacity. The risk of insecurity, including sectarian tensions between Kuwaitis, remains higher than usual in light of regional tensions such as Saudi-Iranian rivalry.

Market Overview

JPMorgan Sells Stake In Saudi Investment Bank For $203 Million
The Saudi Investment Bank announced that it fully bought out JPMorgan International Finance Company’s stake in it for a sum of $203 million.The company announced the signing of an agreement for the purchase of the full stake of JPMorgan International Finance Company in the Saudi Investment Bank amounting to 56,245,350 shares, which represent 7.49% of the share capital of the Saudi Investment Bank for $ 3.6 per share. This deal is subject to regulatory approvalsThe Saudi Investment Bank does not intend to reduce its capital in this transaction but will retain it as treasury shares and re-issue it to shareholders later as a priority share. The bank will seek all regulatory approvals required to complete the transaction.The New York-headquartered bank has said that it is selling its stake as a part of its policy of divesting non-core assets globally.

Good News For Female Managers As Saudi Arabia Celebrates First Day Of Driving For Women
As clock struck 12, women drivers across the Kingdom took the wheel as a long-awaited decades long ban on females driving came to an end on June 24, 2018. One of the most prominent women driver was businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s daughter Reem, who drove around with her father and her children as she celebrated the lifting of the ban. Alwaleed termed the step as a “great achievement” in a video posted on Twitter. On June 5, 10 women received their license after swapping their foreign licenses for a local one. Authorities expected 2,000 women to have their driving license by the time the ban was lifted on June 24. The removal of the ban is part of reforms instituted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in order to offset the fall in oil revenues- one of the main sources of public income. The move is expected to benefit the country positively as it could boost its growth rate primarily by increasing the participation of women in the workforce.
According to a survey by recruitment website GulfTalent, 82% of women plan on taking up driving this year. This is expected to provide more career progression for women by giving them the mobility required for managerial positions, paving their way to senior roles.

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Acquires 10% Interest In Egypt Gas Field Shorouk Concession From Italian Giant Eni
Abu Dhabi’s state-run Mubadala Investment Company has made its first investment in Egypt after its petroleum unit completed an acquisition in offshore Shorouk Concession in Egypt from Italy’s Eni. IEOC, a subsidiary of Eni, owns 50% interest in the concession, while Rosneft has a 30% and BP had close to 10%.The value of the deal, which was first announced in March 2018, was not disclosed. Mubadala’s investment comes as the company revealed its intention to step up its investments following a rise in its 2017 income post domestic consolidation with other investment arms of Abu Dhabi government.​ “The acquisition of a 10% interest in the Shorouk concession with the producing Zohr gas field is a significant portfolio addition for Mubadala Petroleum and marks our entry into Egypt,” said Dr. Bakheet Al Katheeri, CEO of Mubadala Petroleum. The offshore concession contains Zohr gas field which was discovered in 2015 by Italian oil and gas giant Eni. It is the largest ever natural gas discovery in the Mediterranean Sea and has a total potential of up to 30 trillion cubic feet of gas. 

Cleartrip Acquires Saudi Online Travel Firm Flyin As It Eyes Growth In The GCC
Travel booking firm Cleartrip has acquired Saudi Arabia-based online travel aggregator Flyin as it looks to further consolidate its market presence within its focus markets. Although the deal value was not disclosed, a source familiar with the matter said that it amounted to more than $70 million. Cleartrip said in a press release that it was one of the largest deal in the travel space and will provide the company with a wider reach and a larger client base in one of the region’s biggest market.“When we started we realized that Saudi is a lot more complicated than other GCC markets,” Stuart Crighton, Founder and CEO of Cleartrip said in a phone interview. He added that the acquisition will help Cleartrip achieve scale in the Kingdom while improving its market share. Post the deal, Cleartrip will have a 60% market share in the GCC, the company said. Founded in 2008, Flyin says that it is the largest online travel company in KSA.Cleartrip, which originated in India, is now increasing its market presence in the Middle East. It has a 22% market share in its home market of India but has rapidly gained ground in the GCC too.

Abraaj To Sell Part Of Its Fund Management Business To US Based Colony Capital
Following an approval from the Cayman Islands Courts for a provisional liquidation and business restructuring, Abraaj Holdings inked a sale and purchase agreement with U.S.-based Colony Capital for its Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa, North Africa and Turkey Funds management business. According to the agreement, all of Abraaj’s staff in the eight offices will be transferred to Colony Capital. Further to the deal the U.S. based investment management company will oversee—on an interim basis—other group funds that it did not acquire so that Abraaj’s stakeholders have a complete global situation in place. Colony Capital was initially in advanced talks to buy Abraaj’s fund management business but backed away after due diligence raised some red flags about the buyout firm. Other investors such as Cerberus Capital Management LP and a unit of Abu Dhabi Financial Group had also previously showed interest in purchasing Abraaj’s fund management business. But none of the deals went through.

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HostApp Summit 2018
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06 August – 07 August 2018
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CRIF GULF DWC LLC · 48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD · Dubai · United Arab Emirates

NL/18.06.2018

 

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CRIF GULF WEEKLY INSIGHTS

 

Country Risk Update
Saudi Arabia
Risk Indicator – DB3c
Risk Level – Slight

Ratings Trend – Stable

The outcomes of the Kingdom’s assertive foreign policy, especially with relation to Iran, have been mixed, and are keeping political and security risks elevated. Longer-term growth will be driven by government reforms under its Vision 2030, which aims to reduce its dependence on oil export revenues and boost the private sector.

Market Overview

Oil slumps near $64 as OPEC clash looms and trade war escalates
Oil fell near $64 a barrel as Saudi Arabia and Russia prepared for a clash with allied crude producers over whether to lift output and as China and the US exchanged threats over trade. Futures in New York dropped as much as 2.3 percent, on course for the lowest close since April 9 after a 2.7 percent decline on June 12. Iran says Venezuela and Iraq will join in blocking a proposal to increase production that’s backed by Saudi Arabia and Russia when OPEC and its allies meet in Vienna this week. China said it would impose tariffs on a variety of US goods, including crude and gasoline, in response to President Donald Trump’s $50 billion levy on Chinese imports.Crude has dropped more than 10 percent from its high in May amid signs Saudi Arabia and Russia are seeking to lift output curbs that have eliminated a global surplus and boosted prices.Meanwhile, traders are trying to digest the impact from both the US and China issuing tariffs on goods and the threat of a broader trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

Saudi prices rise by 2.8% so far in 2018 as VAT makes impact
Prices in Saudi Arabia have risen by 2.8 percent year-on-year so far in 2018 due to the introduction of VAT and utility and fuel price reform, according to new research. Jadwa Investment, citing the latest General Authority for Statistics (GaStat) inflation release for April, also showed that prices rose by 2.6 percent year-on-year in the month, declining by 0.2 percent month-on-month. Jadwa said food and beverages prices rose by 5.7 percent year-on-year in April, but declined by 0.9 percent month-on-month for the second time in a row. Housing and utilities prices rose slightly by 0.5 percent in April year-on-year, despite a spike in fuel prices in January, Jadwa noted, adding that housing rents, which have been showing negative growth rates since July 2017, weighed on this segment. The research also said that after a decline in January, annual growth in point of sale retail sales have rebounded, with the average year-to-date rise of 13 percent, compared to 7 percent in the same period last year. Despite the fact that this year saw the implementation of VAT, Jadwa said it still expects to see higher inflation rates in Ramadan.

Dubai’s Abraaj Offloads $52 Million Stake In Orascom Construction As Pressure Mounts
Abraaj Group has sold off its entire stake in Egypt’s Orascom Construction for about $52 million, a move that comes as the Dubai-based private equity firm faces mounting challenges.Prior to the sell off, Abraaj held 6,256,155 ordinary shares, or 5.4%, of the issued share capital of the Egyptian construction giant, with ordinary shares priced at $8.30 each, according to a statement on Nasdaq Dubai. The Middle East’s largest private equity firm, founded in 2002 by Arif Naqvi, is currently in the midst of a restructure and is contending with the fallout from allegations that it mishandled funds. In February 2018, reports emerged that Abraaj misused funds intended for healthcare projects in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, leading its investors to launch an investigation. Abraaj denied the allegations and hired the auditing firm KPMG to verify its receipts.

UAE Courts Economic Growth As It Reforms Visa Rules For Foreign Workers And Tourists
The UAE has introduced a new low-cost insurance system for foreign workers, replacing the previous mechanism of bank guarantees for each worker as it looks to bolster economic growth and improve investment flows. According to the state news agency WAM, the new rules come into effect after they were approved by the cabinet. With the new regulations, the previous mandatory deposit of AED 3,000 has been replaced with a new insurance scheme that cost just AED 60 annually per worker. The Cabinet noted that such a move will help companies save AED 14 billion in costs which they could in turn redirect to develop their businesses. The new policy for a worker covers the end of service benefits, vacation allowance, overtime allowance, unpaid wages and worker’s return ticket. In the case of an injury, the insurance amount could rise to AED 20,000 per worker. The UAE has also moved to revamp residency rules, allowing a two-year extension for students to continue on their parents’ visa after they complete their university education. Tourism too is set to get a boost with the UAE exempting the entry fees for 48-hours transit passengers. Those stopping by for 96 hours will get a visa for a fee of just AED 50.​

Abu Dhabi fund allocates $3bn aid package to Ethiopia
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the national entity for development aid, has allocated a AED11 billion ($3 billion) economic aid package to the Ethiopian government to support sustainable socio-economic development. ADFD said it has deposited an amount of AED3.7 billion in the National Bank of Ethiopia to bolster the country’s fiscal and monetary policy, as well as to enhance the liquidity and foreign exchange reserves of its central bank. The remaining AED7.3 billion seeks to stimulate the Ethiopian economy and encourage joint investments.Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD, and Teklewold Atnafu, governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) outlining the terms of the funding in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.Al Suwaidi said: “In addition to helping Ethiopia overcome the challenges it faces, the funding will encourage the UAE private sector to enter the Ethiopian market and benefit from the investment opportunities it offers.”He added that the funding will boost the country’s gross national income and revitalise key strategic sectors.

Commodity Tracker
Business Events this Week In UAE
 

The Indian Property Show
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre
21 June 2018 To 23 June 2018
Business Updates
 

Introducing D&B’s Express BIR
D&B Express Business Information Reports helps to take day-to-day credit decisions, analyse a company’s financial strength and discover commercial opportunities.

 

CRIF Gulf (Dun & Bradstreet) is delighted to have reached this outstanding milestone of having 4,000 + followers on LinkedIn.

Many thanks to everyone who likes our page and shares/comments on our content. We appreciate your support and enjoy engaging with you!
Our LinkedIn    page is an important tool which enables us to actively engage with our customers and followers.

Not a ‘follower’ yet? Become a CRIF Gulf (Dun & Bradstreet) follower on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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CRIF GULF DWC LLC · 48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD · Dubai · United Arab Emirates

NL/12.06.2018

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CRIF GULF DWC LLC · 48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD · Dubai · United Arab Emirates

NL/11.06.2018

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CRIF GULF WEEKLY INSIGHTS


Country Risk Update – Kuwait
Risk Indicator – DB4b
Risk Level – Moderate
Ratings Trend – Stable

In a breakthrough on 3 May, the Kuwait cabinet approved two public-private partnership (PPP) projects which had been held up by the State Audit Bureau.Business opportunities should increase as the government targets a more diverse economy with its national development plan.

Market Overview

UAE banking sector remains resilient, says central bank chief
The UAE banking sector remains resilient, with robust capital ratios, liquidity buffers, profitability, and stable sources of funding, according to Central Bank governor Mubarak Rashed Al Mansoori. The bank’s Financial Stability Report for 2017 showed that macroeconomic and financial-market conditions remained stable in the UAE last year while the global and domestic economic growth and outlook improved during the year. It added that improved economic conditions have not yet translated into a credit expansion in the domestic retail and corporate sectors.The Central Bank said the UAE banking sector remained well capitalised, with solid liquidity buffers, stable funding, and improved profitability.While the liquid assets of the banking sector increased and stable funding indicators improved, bank lending growth slowed down during the year, although lending growth to the real estate sector increased.The general and specific loan loss provisions remained adequate at above 100 percent, despite the slight uptick in the non-performing loans ratio, the report noted.

Saudi’s Arbah offers $66m financing for upmarket London project
Saudi-based Arbah Capital has announced its participation in the £500 million ($666 million) Regent’s Crescent project in prime central London, UK with a shariah compliant mezzanine financing facility of up to £50 million ($66 million).The development is for 76 high-end residential units facing Regent’s Park in the heart of the UK capital city.It is the rebuild of an 1800s Grade 1 listed building designed by John Nash, who was the architect of Buckingham Palace. The development is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020, a statement said.Mahmood Al Kooheji, CEO of Arbah Capital, said: “This is a landmark moment in Arbah Capital’s successful progress into becoming an investment bank which participates in carefully selected, risk adjusted, and investment opportunities internationally.

Abu Dhabi’s New $13.6 Billion Reform Plan To Create 10,000 Jobs
Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has approved an AED 50 billion ($13.6 billion) economic stimulus package for Abu Dhabi, aimed at accelerating the economic growth over the next three years.In order to boost the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi’s private sector, the plan will comprise a set of initiatives covering infrastructure and legislative projects, as well as SMEs, and industrial and social projects.The plan also included a number of initiatives aimed at promoting the ease of doing business in Abu Dhabi, reducing associated costs across industries. This includes exempting all new licenses from the requirement of having an office or a work space in the emirate for two years, permitting permanent home licenses, and implementing instant licensing systems in most commercial license types and all services provided by the government.The government will also issue dual licenses for companies in Abu Dhabi free zones to enable them to work outside the free zones and to participate in government tenders.

Saudi Arabia’s Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair Secures $300 Million Islamic Loan
Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co has raised a $300 million Islamic loan from a group of regional banks in an effort to repay its outstanding debts. The Saudi-listed retail giant secured the funds by signing a Murabaha loan agreement with the National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, it announced in a stock exchange statement. Murabaha is an Islamic financing structure where a loan does not carry interest, and therefore remains Sharia compliant.The loan will be used to repay the outstanding balance on a $266 million syndicated loan the company signed in 2014 and the total amount of a $133 million in sukuk issued in the same year. The sukuks are due to be repaid in 2019. The new lslamic loan has a seven-year maturity, and a payment plan every six months.

Ras Al Khaimah says 2018 oil, gas licensing round ‘proving popular’
The RAK Petroleum Authority has announced that international companies have expressed an interest in bidding for oil and gas exploration concessions in Ras Al Khaimah.Launched on April 1 to attract regional and international companies aiming to expand their portfolios in the UAE, the 2018 RAK Licensing Round is proving to be popular, state news agency WAM reported.The newly established RAK Petroleum Authority is managing the licensing round in accordance with the directives of Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah. The licensing round has successfully generated an encouraging and positive response from many international companies eager to explore Ras Al Khaimah’s oil and gas potential,” said Nishant Dighe, CEO of the RAK Petroleum Authority and RAK Gas.​The licensing process covers seven contract areas that span almost the entire emirate of Ras Al Khaimah including four shallow water offshore blocks and three onshore blocks.The process remains open to interested parties until later this year.Data rooms have been set up in RAK and London to view the 2,200 sq km concessions.

Commodity Tracker

Business Events this Week In UAE


The Indian Property Show
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre
21 June 2018 To 23 June 2018
 
Business Updates


Introducing D&B’s Express BIR
D&B Express Business Information Reports helps to take day-to-day credit decisions, analyse a company’s financial strength and discover commercial opportunities.

 


 

CRIF Gulf (Dun & Bradstreet) is delighted to have reached this outstanding milestone of having 4,000 + followers on LinkedIn.

Many thanks to everyone who likes our page and shares/comments on our content. We appreciate your support and enjoy engaging with you!
Our LinkedIn    page is an important tool which enables us to actively engage with our customers and followers.

Not a ‘follower’ yet? Become a CRIF Gulf (Dun & Bradstreet) follower on LinkedIn by clicking here.

 
We would like to hear from you write to us at [email protected] for
Suggestions and Feedback
You have received this email because you are on our database as a client, partner or someone interested in our products & services. In case you wish to unsubscribe, please click on the unsubscribe option.

Our mailing address is:

CRIF GULF DWC LLC

48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD

Dubai

United Arab Emirates

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CRIF GULF DWC LLC · 48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD · Dubai · United Arab Emirates

NL/04.06.2018

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CRIF GULF WEEKLY INSIGHTS


Country Risk Update 
United Arab Emirates
Risk Indicator – DB3c
Risk Level – Slight
Ratings Trend – Stable

The rising oil price will boost growth in U.A.E and help ease elevated financial liquidity over the rest of 2018. Access to global markets from Dubai will be among the best in the world.The continued strengthening of the global oil price is feeding through into improved short-term economic conditions and easing credit conditions. As a result, Dun & Bradstreet has upgraded its outlook on the Credit Environment from ‘stable’ to ‘improving’.

Market Overview

Crude Oil Emerges As Headliner In Commodities Trading
The energy sector led with losses this past week in the commodities trading race. Other sectors like metals and agriculture saw no significant fluctuations except for mixed trading numbers. According to the Head of Commodity Strategy Ole S Hansen at Saxo Bank, these recent trading results are the direct and indirect cause of the political situations in Spain and Italy, as well as Donald Trump’s decision to implement duties on imports of steel and aluminium from US allies in addition to a range of tariffs on goods from China.In light of these events, the stock market saw core bond yields lower and the dollar rise higher while raising concerns about global growth. After Saudi Arabia and Russia opened to the possibility of raising production of crude oil, the commodity became the headliner in trading.  On the other side of the spectrum, gold and silver both remained around $1300/oz and $16.5/oz with the ever changing political news so far having a net neutral impact on them. According to Hansen, the decision made by Saudi Arabia and Russia to work towards increasing production came after the first signs of rising crude oil prices were beginning to potentially hurt demand.

U.A.E.-Based Startup SchoolVoice Raises $1.5 Million In Seed Funding
SchoolVoice, a U.A.E.-based interactive platform simplifying communications between schools and parents has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from a local venture capitalist Bin Mejren Investment Group.Founded in 2016 by Ali Bin Yahia, SchoolVoice is a product of Abu Dhabi-based tech house Netaq E-solutions. The two-way communicative platform plans to use the seed fund to develop its technology, grow its team and scale-up the brand.​ Through the app-based platform parents are constantly updated about their children’s academics and educational progress. To further expand the app’s user reach to French speaking countries by Q3 2018, the startup is developing a French version of the app. It has also signed contracts with schools in the U.A.E and in the MENA region and some in the Southeast Asian countries.Commenting on the seed investment, Mohamed Ibrahim, Manager, Bin Mejren Investment Group said: “We studied the communication tools used by the education sector in the Middle East and found that it is worth $1.3 billion.” He continued, “We believe that SchoolVoice will be the market mover and will acquire a huge share of this market.”​

Abu Dhabi’s Non-Oil Trade Falls 13% To $12 Billion But Exports Show Growth
The value of non-oil trade through Abu Dhabi ports decreased by 13.6% to reach $12 billion in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 2017, according to a report from the Abu Dhabi Statistics Center. This was the result of a 21.9% decrease in re-exports which fell to AED 5.6 billion, down from AED 7.2 billion last year. Meanwhile imports fell by 15.1% to reach AED 26.3 billion, while the value of non-oil exports rose by 5% compared to the same period in 2017.​The statistics refer to trade which moves through the ports of Abu Dhabi only and do not capture inter-emirate trade activity. Therefore, the trade activity through the ports in Dubai and the other emirates are not reflected.​Though imports decreased this quarter, they stood at $ 8.5 billion and are still over five times higher than exports that stood at $ 1.5 billion. Re-exports from Abu Dhabi’s ports were $1.9 billion for the first three months of the year.​

Dubai’s Landmark Group To Inject $13.2 Million Into Carluccio’s Rescue Plan
Dubai-based retail firm Landmark Group will be reportedly investing close to $13.2 million to rescue struggling U.K.-based Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s. Carluccio’s could be shutting down as much as 30 outlets under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) rescue plan that will help shore up some of its losses. The cash injection by Landmark, which is its majority owner, will be used to revamp the surviving outlets.​The Dubai-headquartered retailer bought the U.K. operator of the Italian chain of restaurants in 2010 in a transaction that was valued around $138 million. Upon acquiring it, Landmark had also laid out an expansion strategy for Carluccio’s in the Middle East. However, Carluccio’s, like many others, have been hit by rising costs and a general dip in consumer spending across the U.K.​

Oman Oil Mulls 10% Stake Sale In Khazzan Gas Field For About $1 Billion
State-owned Oman Oil Company is reportedly looking at selling a 10% stake in one of its major gas fields in the country for about $1 billion or more. In September 2017, BP, jointly with the Ministry of Oil & Gas of the Sultanate of Oman started production at the Khazzan gas field in partnership with Oman Oil Company. BP owns 60% of the field, while the remaining 40% is owned by Oman Oil. According to reports Indian, Middle Eastern and Chinese companies were interested in acquiring a stake, which Oman Oil expects to get a bid for by July. However, the plan is pending final approvals and Oman Oil can even decide not to sell it. One of the biggest tight gas projects in the Middle East, Khazzan gas field currently produces 5.5 million barrels per day. It is a strategic project for Oman that has struggled with low oil prices, mainly because it has a higher breakeven price among the GCC countries.

Commodity Tracker

Business Events this Week In UAE


The Indian Property Show
@ Sheikh Rashid Hall, Dubai World Trade Centre
21 June 2018 To 23 June 2018
 
Business Updates


Introducing D&B’s Express BIR
D&B Express Business Information Reports helps to take day-to-day credit decisions, analyse a company’s financial strength and discover commercial opportunities.

 

 
We would like to hear from you write to us at [email protected] for
Suggestions and Feedback
You have received this email because you are on our database as a client, partner or someone interested in our products & services. In case you wish to unsubscribe, please click on the unsubscribe option.

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CRIF GULF DWC LLC

48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD

Dubai

United Arab Emirates

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CRIF GULF DWC LLC · 48 BURJ GATE, DOWNTOWN BURJ AREA, SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD · Dubai · United Arab Emirates