Showing posts from 2023

New Civil Transaction Law in Saudi Arabia: ties between the UAE and the Kingdom under scrutiny

CTL - New construction regulations, Saudi Arabia The Saudi cabinet on Tuesday, according to Saudi Press Agency, SPA, approved the controversial contracting regulations for firms that are not based in the Kingdom.  The Kingdom has already set a deadline - January, 2024 -  for the companies in question to move their regional headquarters to the Kingdom or risk losing lucrative contracts that are worth hundreds of billions of US dollars. The law, known as the CTL - Civil Transactions Law - covers both public and private contracts; some aspects had already set the alarm bells ringing in the business world, when it was first announced this year. When it comes to public projects, the CTL emphasizes the need of international firms having their regional headquarters in the Kingdom. If the firms already have their headquarters in Saudi Arabia, they comply with the law. The new international companies, however, may face challenges, when it comes to entering the lucrative Saudi construction secto

Eagles above the Battlefield: The Netherlands Readies F-16s for Ukraine, amidst the Shadow of the S-400

F-16 vs S-400 The battlefront in Ukraine that lost the attention of the global media at the onset of the war between Israel and Hamas, suddenly grabbed the headlines once again, as the involvement of the US-made fighter jets does not seem to remain in the hypothetical realm any more. If the Dutch government is going to stick to its daring initiative, the skies above Ukraine - and Russia for that matter too - are poised for a potential showdown in the air, in the next few months. On December 22nd, the Dutch government headed by Mark Rutte, the acting prime minister, announced the bold move: the Dutch authorities want to deliver 18 F-16 Falcon fighter jets to the beleaguered Ukrainian government to defend its skies from relentless Russian attacks that take place in multiple forms - almost on daily basis. Although the decision is yet to be finalized - and to be blessed by the US, the country of origin of the state-of-the-art fighter jets - it was a dramatic escalation in the Western milit

Tankers, Terror, and Tariffs: How Houthi Attacks are Squeezing the Global Economy

Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea The rate of attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels in Yemen is increasing in proportion to the Israel firepower directed at Hamas in the Gaza Strip - to a crisis level. Judging by the warships that congregate in the region and the critical discussions that take place in the corridors of power in the West and their regional allies, the situation has clearly evolved into a military conflict on a second front, as far as the war in the Gaza Strip is concerned . The recent spate of Houthi attacks that started on Israeli-linked ships at first, has since been extended on other commercial ships as well in the Red Sea; the development has sent shockwaves through the global shipping industry and raised concerns about a potential spike in oil prices. This strategic waterway, responsible for roughly 10% of the world's seaborne oil trade and 12% of global trade overall, has become a precarious route due to the escalating confl

Japan to Hit Record-Low Petroleum Consumption in 2024: Refinery Closures and Aging Population Blamed

  Japanese refinery closures - 2024 The beleaguered crude oil markets that look forward to catching a glimpse of hope in the coming New Year, was dealt yet another disastrous blow last week, when the EIA, US Energy Information Administration, announced the refinery closures in Japan, coupled with a serious decline in petroleum consumption. Adding insult to the injury, the report, published on December 13, says that the petroleum consumption in 2024 would be the lowest on record since 1980s. Image: credit- the EIA The development will reverberate in the markets even before the dawn of the New Year, 2024, causing further volatility in the coming weeks. Since the next OPEC+ meeting is a long way off, a temporary boost, even if it could  be short-lived, is not in the offing at present in these circumstances. Citing the aging Japanese population that has long been in decline since 2009 as the primary cause, the EIA does not see any reversal of the trend in the near future.  At present, more

Sanctions against Russian fossil fuels: Russian revenues suffered recently!

Source: CREA Despite the sanctions, Russia still exports fossil fuel to a significant group of countries that include some countries in the EU. Since exporting fossil fuels has been a cornerstone of its economy, the war in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions imposed by the West have made an impact on its coffers - for obvious reasons. To make matters worse for Russia, the European Union imposed what it calls, phased-in ban on imports of Russia oil on December 5, 2023. With this move, Russian oil revenues were dealt a major blow, according to seasoned analysts. The sanctions have resulted in the inability of collecting revenue for its oil exports by Russia. In order to get round the challenge, Russia started selling oil at heavily discounted prices for India and China. The challenge, however, is far from over: according to estimates by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), for instance, Russia's oil export revenues in October 2023 were down by 36% compared to Oct

Slightly Bearish mood dominates the crude oil markets!

  Bearish mood in the crude oil markets In proportion to the rate of optimism for a price rebound in the crude oil markets wearing thin, the hyperactivity of the stakeholders in the fossil fuel markets appears to be getting more and more intense by the day. The seemingly-hastily-arranged state visit by President Putin of Russia to two major oil producers in the Middle East two days ago is a case in point.  Defying an international arrest warrant, Mr Putin arrived in the UAE and Saudi Arabia onboard Russia's own ' Air Force One ', escorted by a fleet of  SU-35S fighter jets. Among the general issues discussed, according to both Russian and the Middle Eastern sources, were the wars in the Gaza strip, Ukraine, Syria and Yemen; in addition, the need of a constructive, collective move by the OPEC+ to stabilize the oil markets has been a major topic for discussion too, according to those who keep an eye on the development in the region. Mr Putin, who received a grand welcome

Oil prices: why the production cuts failed to do the magic - this time?

  Estimated oil production cuts in 2024 by country The OPEC+ meeting that took place yesterday, having been rescheduled for inexplicable reasons after four days, did not live up to the hype created by certain media about deepening production cuts. Nor did it achieve its intended goal, judging by the unusual market response in the aftermath of the meeting; the prices did not skyrocket this time! The price of oil in the international markets on Friday, on the contrary,  continued its downward trend, instead. Then, there are misgivings about the official communique , which at best, is vague in detail and at worst, leaves the analysists in a state of nausea, if they keep dissecting the material, phrase for phrase, in extracting the potential, exact numbers.  The markets expected additional cut of 1 million barrels; not only are the numbers announced far below that, but also voluntary; that means, the individual member of the OPEC+ has the freedom to choose - perhaps, not cutting any output

Laughing in Quotas, Dancing to Baselines: trials and tribulations of OPEC+ in verse!

  Trials and tribulations of the OPEC+ All eyes are on the rescheduled meeting of the OPEC+ that is going to take place tomorrow online, if they have overcome the stumbling blocks that led to the unexpected impasse.  It is the 187th OPEC conference, 51st JMMC meeting and 36th ONOMM combined. Undoubtedly, the meeting is going to be crucial for the cartel in light of price slump and failure of the existing production cuts to boost the prices. Weekly oil prices It's no secret three are disagreements over the production quotas involving three African producers for 2024. Analysts say Angola, Nigeria and Congo want new production quotas, if implemented,  could potentially derail the plan of Saudi Arabia and Russia in keeping the production low. In the presence of rising inflation and its inevitable impact on the cost of living, the African countries may have tried their best to change the status quo.  The success/failure of their collective effort may be laid bare during the forthcoming

Oil Prices Tumble as OPEC+ Postpones Meeting; OPEC+ and IEA lock horns over renewables and peak oil demand!

OPEC+ and IEA lock horns... On November 22, 2023, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia, collectively known as the OPEC+, surprised the energy markets by announcing that their upcoming meeting, scheduled for November 26, would be postponed. The meeting had been scheduled to discuss the production levels for the next year, 2024. Not only did the bad news shock the market, but also pushed the price of oil down  by more than 5%, as analysts sensed that something has sprung into existence that was not conducive for the anticipated, further production cuts. Hourly Oil prices -  Monday A bone of contention, according to some analysts, appears to be over the collective output: is it going to be maintained at the current level or going to be deepened further? The OPEC+, however, implied that the cartel wanted more time to gauge the global economic outlook before making a decision, despite a space of one week being not enough to embark on a serious study on

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