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Regional News

UAE NAMED TOP OIL EXPORTER TO JAPAN IN OCTOBER

The UAE exported 32.24 million barrels of crude oil to Japan in October this year, according to data issued by Tokyo’s Agency of Energy and Natural Resource, official news agency WAM reported.

The import figure accounted for 37.6 per cent of Japan total oil imports, which constituted the highest amount from one country in October, a statement said.

Meanwhile, Arab oil accounted for 92.4 per cent of Japan’s petroleum requirements in October.

Last year, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company’s (ADNOC) logistics unit signed a deal with Japan’s Inpex Corporation for a LNG bunkering partnership in the UAE.

KUWAIT TO INVEST AS MUCH AS $1BN IN SAUDI ARAMCO IPO

Kuwait’s government will invest as much as $1bn in the initial public offering of Saudi Aramco as the kingdom asks regional allies to bolster the record share sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Kuwait Investment Authority had been reluctant to commit significant funds to the IPO, but was told by the government that a stake was in the country’s strategic interest, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a confidential matter.

Kuwait communicated its decision to Aramco on Monday.

Kuwait’s decision follows Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich member of the United Emirates, which has decided to invest $1.5bn in Aramco, people familiar with the matter said last week.

IRAQ: THE NEXT GREAT THREAT TO GLOBAL OIL MARKETS

The next thing that will happen in Iraq if protesters’ demands aren’t met is this: They will target oil facilities--the only thing that will force any major change, and indeed, the root cause of protests that have gone beyond anything Iraq has ever seen.

It is a possible scenario that should be on every oil trader’s radar, and has the potential to move oil prices more than President Trump, and more than OPEC—if markets interpret it correctly.

Last Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi resigned. The Iranians had attempted to keep this from happening--even though Mahdi wasn’t pro-Iranian--because the fragility of the Iraqi government threatens Tehran’s indirect hold on power.

The move will embolden protesters even further; Mahdi’s resignation was not enough. After all, some 400 protesters have been killed since October 25th. It will take more than Mahdi’s resignation to end this.

This is a countrywide grievance that transcends sectarian differences, even if the majority of the protests are in Shi’ite-dominated provinces, while Sunnis provinces are still shell-shocked from the conflict with ISIS.

On the surface, it’s about a lack of basic services in an oil-rich country that can’t provide regular electricity or drinking water to its people. Below the surface, it’s about massive corruption and a broken system that has led to mass unemployment among the youth and a shattered education and healthcare system.

Iranian influence had kept things from leading to Mahdi’s resignation up until Friday, when the voice of Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani finally emerged on the side of the protesters after being criticized by Shi’ites for failing to speak up. One word from Sistani brought Mahdi down, and one word from Sistani prompted the Supreme Judicial Council of Iraq to label the repression of protesters as a “crime”.

BAHRI CHEMICALS JOINS CARGILL MAERSK TANKERS POOL

Bahri Chemicals has joined with Cargill and Maersk Tankers, and from January 2020 will enter its four vessels into the Cargill Maersk Tankers joint MR pool.

The Bahri Rose, Bahri Tulip, Bahri Jasmine and Bahri Iris will be added to the pool, created in September, to increase it to 65 vessels in total.

“The positive and trusting relationship we have had with Maersk Tankers over the past years, as well as the possibility of benefiting from the pool’s digital ambitions to increase earnings, were among the drivers that led to our decision to entrust the pool with the future commercial deployment of these 4 of our tankers,” said Claus Breitenbauch, president at Bahri Chemicals.

DUBAI FIRM TO SET UP US$40MN CHEMICAL TERMINAL AT JEBEL ALI PORT

AquaChemie Middle East, a regional chemical distributor with a supply chain network and manufacturing base across the GCC region, has announced plans to build a US$40mn chemical terminal facility at Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, UAE

Proposed Chemical Storage facilityAquaChemie said the facility will serve as a strategic gateway hub to enable vital petrochemical trade across the GCC region.

AquaChemie Middle East has signed an agreement with consultancy company Mott MacDonald for the design, engineering and project management of the chemical terminal to be commissioned by mid-2021.

The new chemical terminal will leverage its prime location at Jebel Ali Port operated by DP World, including multiple jet pipelines, along with other critical existing utility and building support infrastructure.

According to the company, the new chemical terminal will have a bulk storage tank for liquid hydrocarbons with a total capacity of approximately 30,000 cubic metres along with day tanks, chemical processing units and automated drum lines.

It will also include tanker loading-unloading gantry with top loading arms, covered warehousing for storage of NFPA class 1B and C chemicals, separate dry goods storage area, pump house and main hose exchange station, separate road tanker entrance with weighbridge, loading and unloading ramp for forklift operation, office block with control room, dedicated road tankers and large trailer truck fleet, and a fully-equipped firefighting unit.

V. Anandkumar, co-founder and director of AquaChemie Middle East, said, “The project will catalyse to boost petrochemical trade between manufacturers in the region and end-users anywhere in the globe. In addition to serving as a sales channel, the project will also allow regional petrochemical majors to market their various product lines in drums or intermediate bulk containers for distribution to the tertiary chemical industry.”

“The project will also serve as a regional hub for other global trading partners to ship economically, in bulk and distribute in smaller packaging.

KUWAIT FOLLOWS INDIA’S LEAD IN BANNING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC ONBOARD

Kuwait has joined India in banking single-use plastic onboard ships.

Enforcement of India’s requirement for ships to keep single-use plastic items locked in a store whilst in Indian territorial waters has been delayed until further notice, however, an identical prohibition will now be enforced in Kuwait, according to the P&I Club, Gard.

On November 28, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Communications announced its policy to prohibit the use of certain single-use plastic items onboard Kuwaiti and foreign ships while in port in Kuwait or in Kuwaiti waters. The items banned have been divided into two categories; items which are banned with immediate effect, and items which will be prohibited as of 1 January 1 2020.

Items prohibited with immediate effect: cutlery, plates and cups; bottles up to 10 litres for water and other drinks garbage and shopping bags; dispensing containers for cleaning fluids that are less than 10 litres in volume.

Items prohibited from January 1 include: bags, trays, containers, food packaging film; milk bottles, freezer bags, shampoo bottles, ice cream containers; bottles for water and other drinks, dispensing containers for cleaning fluids, biscuit trays; hot drink cups, insulated food packaging, protective packaging for fragile items; and microwave dishes, ice cream tubs, potato ship bags, bottle caps.

The new rule prohibits the carriage of any of the above items onboard Kuwaiti flagged ships. Foreign flagged ships are only prohibited from using any such item while operating in Kuwaiti waters and must keep all their single-use plastic items locked in a store during their stay in Kuwaiti ports and during their passage through the territorial waters of Kuwait.

“Even if the marine industry is not a major source of single-use plastic waste, it must still align its efforts with those of other industries to ensure its relative share of waste from marine-based activities and ports does not grow,” Gard stated in a note to clients.

ARAMCO LOOKS TO BUILD AN LNG FLEET

Aramco’s shipping division has issued an expression of interest in the chartering of up to a dozen LNG carriers beginning in 2025, Reuters reports, citing industry sources.

Liquefied natural gas is a big part of Aramco’s diversification efforts seeking to reduce its almost exclusive dependence on crude oil exports through a bigger focus on natural gas and petrochemicals.

The company’s expansion into natural gas will be an international endeavor, Aramco said earlier this year during its first-ever investor conference call. A few months earlier, the Saudi company sealed a deal with Sempra Energy to buy 5 million tons of LNG annually from Sempra’s Port Arthur plant.

The Port Arthur facility has yet to be built and Aramco has also negotiated a 25-percent stake purchase in its first phase of development. The project includes the construction of two liquefaction trains along with up to three storage tanks and the relevant infrastructure.

Later this year, in November, Aramco also inked a contract with the Bangladesh Power Development Board for the supply of LNG to the energy-hungry country, to be used for power generation.

Asia is an obvious destination for Saudi Arabia’s future LNG exports, and Aramco is looking at investment opportunities to source this LNG from across the world, from Australia to Russia, and also in Africa: the three hot spots in LNG today.

The company also has plans to step up its domestic natural gas production and replace some of the oil it uses for power generation with gas, so it can sell more oil abroad.

For now, the Sempra Energy Port Arthur deal is the only one finalized, however, when it comes to supply. There are no details about Aramco’s LNG interests in Australia and Africa, and its plans to take a stake in Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project have yet to come to fruition.

BAHRI READIES LNG TANKER ENTRY

Reuters is reporting that Bahri, the shipping subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, is about to enter the LNG trades, issuing an expression of interest (EOI) to charter up to 12 LNG carriers from 2025.

Bahri’s diverse fleet today of 90 vessels includes crude, chemical and product tankers as well as some dry bulk carriers.Saudi Aramco is keen to develop its own gas resources as well as buying overseas assets.

In May, it signed a 20-year agreement to buy LNG from a forthcoming export terminal in Port Arthur, Texas.

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