King Salman Sends Message to Bouteflika

A soldier patrols in front of the OPEC headquarters in Vienna

Kuwait- Prime Minister of the Republic of Algeria Ahmed Ouyahia received a message sent by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. It was conveyed by Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih who was received in Algiers.

Falih reviewed with the Prime Minister areas of cooperation and joint work between the two countries, including cooperation in the efforts to rebalance the oil markets.

He and his accompanying delegation also met with Algerian Minister of Energy Mustapha Qaitouni. During the meeting, they discussed the latest developments in the world oil markets – the two countries stressed the need for adhering to oil production cuts.

They also discussed preparations related to the scheduled meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries in November in Vienna, as well as possible ways to make the meeting a success and emphasize trust in producers’ efforts.

Further, reliable sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Falih will visit three oil producing countries besides Algeria.

Last month, Falih visited Kazakhstan and discussed with his UAE and Kazakhstan counterparts the possibility of keeping the extension of oil output cut deal an option to be discussed in the upcoming meeting in November.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on Wednesday he was hopeful that the meeting will help re-balance the market in 2018. OPEC Secretariat will present a couple of suggestions to be evaluated under the framework of reaching balance in the market.

Saudi-Russian Scenario to Extend OPEC Agreement till End of 2018

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih attends a meeting of the 4th OPEC-Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee in St. Petersburg, Russia July 24, 2017.

Kuwait- Russia and Saudi Arabia’s remarks Thursday have revived oil markets and hopes of another year of trying to rebalance the oil market after the Kingdom showed its support for the Russian proposal to extend the current global agreement between oil-producers until the end of 2018.

Oil rose above $56 a barrel on Thursday, supported by expectations Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Russia would extend the curbs, but prices are still half their mid-2014 levels.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih was speaking in a television interview a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said the supply reduction deal that is due to expire in March could run to the end of next year.

“In the kingdom, we have to keep all options open, President Putin agreed with us on this and expressed his readiness to extend until the end of 2018 if this is agreed, and if this is the best option,” Falih told Al Arabiya television.

Saudi Arabia and Russia helped secure a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and 10 rival suppliers to cut output until the end of March 2018 in an effort to reduce a glut.

Falih said he welcomed the “flexibility” shown by Russia on the issue and added the Saudi government aimed to “be flexible in leading the producing countries in and outside of OPEC to a consensus that takes the market to where we want it to be.”

Bloomberg quoted last month sources as saying that OPEC and non-OPEC producers and countries are studying the extension of the agreement for at least three months, and it is expected to extend for six months or until the end of the year.

Falih, who is also Aramco’s chairman, said on Thursday that the IPO would happen in the second half of 2018, adding that the listing would be used as a “catalyst” for opening up the Saudi economy.

“Work is ongoing to list Saudi Aramco in 2018,” Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser said at an energy forum in Moscow.

We will be looking at evaluating investors as we continue to make progress related to timing and location.”

Nasser said the Saudi government would decide on the listing venue and that there were no current talks with Russian companies on them taking part in the IPO.

The plan to float around 5 percent of Aramco in an initial public offering (IPO) is a centerpiece of Vision 2030, a wide-ranging reform plan to diversify the Saudi economy beyond oil which is being championed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Saudi Crown Prince said that the IPO, which could be the world’s biggest, will value Aramco at a minimum of $2 trillion and could raise as much as $100 billion.

When talking about Shale oil, Falih said inventories were still falling despite the fact that climbing US shale production has kept a lid on price gains.

“Shale coming in and happening again in 2018 doesn’t bother me at all. The market can absorb it,” Falih said, speaking alongside Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak on a panel at an energy forum in Moscow.

“We have seen a steady reduction in inventories. We see as we enter the fourth quarter that supply is less than demand and inventories are declining around the world,” Falih said.

Novak said he was satisfied with oil prices and Moscow would welcome other producers joining the deal to curb output.

Ma’aden Engages in Phosphate Global Industry

Riyadh- Ma’aden exported on Monday the first cargo of its phosphate factories’ products, a step that reflects Saudi Arabia seriousness to place itself on the world’s phosphate industry map.

The phosphate factories are located in Wa’ad Al Shamal that is on its way to become one of the major global capitals for producing phosphate.

In this regard, Ma’aden announced exporting its first cargo from Ma’aden Wa’ad Al-Shamal Phosphate Company (MWSPC).

The first shipment was transported via Al-Shamal railway to Ras Al Khair port, specialized to mining exports.

Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), affirmed that this achievement came as a result of the support granted to the Saudi mining sector from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown Prince.

“This support permitted such a historic achievement and therefore reaching this development in mining industry and phosphate manufacturing,” said Falih.

He added that this event is the outcome of constructive operation and comprehensive work of several governmental and private bodies during the past phase that has witnessed establishing the project, providing success requirements and facing challenges, under the directives of the Saudi government.

This project is an added value to all related parties including Ma’aden shareholders since this is a unique phase in the company’s history and a proof of its success in continuous growth and expansionary affairs.

Falih pointed out that Wa’ad Al-Shamal project aims at reinforcing sustainable economic growth in the northern border region – this has actually started to appear through creating job opportunities, training the youths, developing SMEs and boosting economy in the region.

The company seeks to become among the top three phosphate exporting countries worldwide.

$20 Billion Sino-Saudi Agreements, 11 Investment Licenses


Jeddah- Saudi Arabia and China sealed 11 new deals worth around $20 billion to reinforce strategic partnership between the two countries. The kingdom also granted 11 investment licenses to four firms.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih announced on Thursday in Jeddah signing a MoU between the Sino-Saudi governments to establish a joint investment fund, expressing hope that Saudi Arabia would get the lion’s stake.

He added during the inauguration of the Sino-Saudi Investment Forum that 11 business agreements worth about $20 billion were signed, following 60 MoUs already signed between the two sides worth $70 billion.

Falih called on companies to urge their private sectors to seek opportunities in Saudi Arabia and to consider the kingdom as a platform for them to grow and access promising and developing markets.

He noted that the kingdom welcomes Chinese firms’ investments and contributions within its pursuit towards economy diversification through promising sectors such as infrastructure, transport projects and various industries.

Minister of Commerce and Investment Majed al-Qasabi stated that the kingdom had launched Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program along with 12 development programs to form a global investment power.

“We hope that Saudi Arabia becomes the first investment partner of China in the region,” he added.

Qasabi told Asharq Al-Awsat that granting licenses for Chinese firms was subsequent to these meetings, since forums reinforce ties and unveil investment opportunities.

Deputy Minister of Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the investment fund would be a large stride.

He added that there is a wish to get funding from various banks, in a step to diversify financial strategies, noting that there is a future meeting to be held to coordinate with Sino firms as well as weekly meetings in the kingdom to enhance efficiency and practicability.

Falih: National Program for Atomic Energy to Achieve Goals of ‘Saudi Vision 2030’


Riyadh – Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih expressed gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and to Vice Custodian Mohammed bin Salman for adopting the National Program for Atomic Energy, affirming that it will stimulate the implementation of the Saudi Vision 2030.

Falih stated that the aim is to diversify and reinforce electrical energy sources and to desalinate the seawater.

He also stressed that Saudi Arabia is fully committed to international agreements and directives and to guidelines related to these projects and programs.

Over the past seven years, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy has carried out extensive and comprehensive research to ensure plans are a success, he added.

The move will also support the development of national competencies able to explore, extract and treat uranium and to operate, maintain and develop atomic energy facilities, which are vital to this field, said the minister.

Falih concluded that King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy was addressed to commence an immediate implementation of the project, according to the detailed and agreed upon executive plans.

Falih Statements Move Oil Prices Higher


London- Statements made by Energy Minister Eng. Khalid al-Falih pushed up oil prices on Monday after being under pressure for four weeks due to the rise of US outcome and the recovery of Libya and Nigeria production – exempted from oil outcome cut.

“In my opinion, market fundamentals are going in the right direction, but in light of the large surplus in stockpiles over the past years, the cut needs time to take effect,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Traders in the oil markets interacted with Falih statements during the beginning of Monday’s session – his statements have shown that forecasts of a rise in prices in the fourth quarter of this year took into consideration the increase in shale oil production.

Shale oil outcome in US is expected to rise for the seventh month in a row in July, according to forecasts of US Energy Information Administration (EIA) this week.

Drillers added six oil rigs in the week to June 16, bringing the total count up to 747, the most since April 2015, energy services firm Baker Hughes Inc said on Friday. That compares with 337 rigs in the same week a year ago.

In a related matter, Libya’s oil output has risen by more than 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 885,000 bpd after the National Oil Corp (NOC) agreed to reach a settlement to the dispute with Germany’s Wintershall, a Libyan oil source told Reuters on Monday.

In his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Falih said that it is not suggested to put pressure on Libya to join the oil output cut agreement although its production has recovered. He also hoped that Libyans retain a healthy level for natural production which they are entitled to.

OPEC members Nigeria and Libya were exempted from the oil output cut agreement due to troubles that limited the production.

Falih: Saudi Participation in Expo 2017 Reflects Kingdom’s Energy Drive

Astana- Saudi participation in Expo 2017 in Astana reflects the Kingdom’s drive to develop and use sustainable energy in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, said Minister of Energy, Industry and Natural Resources Khalid al-Falih.

The Kingdom is participating in the expo in the Kazakh capital with a wing supervised by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE), in cooperation with public and private energy companies.

Falih expressed delight for the participation of 115 countries and 18 global organizations in the three-month event titled “Future Energy”, stressing that the Saudi role aims to exchange expertise and strengthen relations in the energy sector within an international framework.

He also declared that the Saudi participation in the exhibition aims to reveal the ambitious development projects and plans that were launched by the kingdom in the energy field, for the sake of diversifying economic resources and achieving sustainability.

The wing was inaugurated by Falih in the presence of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and others.

The Kingdom is in a quest to diversify energy resources in a manner that bolsters its leading position on the global energy map, based on competitive advantages that will attract more local and global investors.

Saudi Arabia plans to produce 3.5 gigawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020, reaching 9.5 gigawatts by 2023 in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program.

Saudi Energy Minister: Aramco to Internationally Invest in Gas, LNG Production


St. Petersburg – Saudi Aramco will globally invest in the production of gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG), according to Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid al-Falih.

Speaking at the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) on Friday during a session entitled “Mechanisms of Global Economy — Hydrocarbon Energy: Will it become a Legacy of the Past or Basics of Development?”, the minister discussed the important role of new technologies in speeding up the diversification of energy sources and minimizing the current risks on climate.

Over 12,000 participants attended SPIEF that was held in the Russian city of St. Petersburg between June 1 and 3, 2017.

Falih called for further investing in the research and development of petrochemicals and renewable energy to benefit from natural sources.

The Saudi minister said OPEC and non-OPEC members in the reduction agreement will study the possibility of increasing the reduction rates in their meeting in November 2017.

He pointed out however that the global oil demand is not expected to peak before the 2050s.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Secretary General of OPEC, Mohammed Barkindo, CEO of Russian Direct Investment Fund Kirill Dmitriev, and other energy officials attended the session.

The attendees reiterated the importance of OPEC members committing to the latest oil output cut deal for nine more months. They also discussed means to achieve balance in the market through cooperation between oil producers and importers.

The forum speakers also stressed that oil, as a hydrocarbon, will remain a key energy source in the long term and that it should not be looked at as the sole source of pollution. They also emphasized the need to adopt a comprehensive plan to deal with climate change, adding that several new technologies can be used to transfer hydrocarbons into economically and environmentally useful materials.

TASS News Agency reported Falih expressing the possibility for further reducing oil prices in the future, but he added that OPEC members and other oil producers will evaluate market situation in July.

Last week, OPEC and other countries led by Russia agreed to extend the oil output cut deal for nine more months until March 2018.

Falih said that the committee set to monitor the cuts will be able in July to determine whether the reductions were effective in supporting oil prices or not.

“I think we have to wait. We have to see the market and I think by the end of June, in July we will see that the action we have taken has a big impact,” Falih said as TASS reported.

He admitted that if for some reason more was needed, the members will consider doing so, including extending bigger cuts.

“So let’s just wait and monitor how close we are to the goal and what the trajectory is and on this basis we will decide. Nothing is off the table but today nothing is on the table either. We made a deal,” he noted.

Recently, Russia and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement to reduce production.

Speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Novak in Moscow last week, Falih said he expects this new cooperation to continue even after the current output agreement expires.

OPEC Agrees to Extend Oil Production Cuts for Nine Months

Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister al-Falih and OPEC Secretary General Barkindo talk to journalists before an OPEC meeting in Vienna

OPEC agreed on Thursday to extend cuts in oil output by nine months to March 2018, OPEC delegates told Reuters.

This comes as the producer group battles a global glut of crude after seeing prices halve and revenues drop sharply in the past three years.

The cuts are likely to be shared again by a dozen non-members led by top oil producer Russia, which reduced output in tandem with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries from January.

OPEC’s cuts have helped to push oil back above $50 a barrel this year, giving a fiscal boost to producers, many of which rely heavily on energy revenues.

Energy minister of OPEC member AlgeriaNoureddine Boutarfa said ahead of the meeting he expected extending the cuts to nine months as this would help reduce the global supply by the end of 2017 and increase prices of the crude to more than USD55 per barrel.

Boutarfa added that states showed no objection to the nine months extension. “We can’t say six months then add three others. This sends a wrong message to the market,” he stated.

Algerian energy minister attributed this extension to the normal weak demand in the beginning of every year.

Kuwait also announced on Wednesday that OPEC and independent producers might extend oil output for a year or increase it during the meeting in Vienna.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail bin Mohammed al-Mazroui said on Wednesday ahead of the Vienna meeting that his country was ready to support either a six or a nine-month extension to an oil output cut agreement provided that it is supported by a majority.

Speaking in an interview on the Abu Dhabi-based Sky News Arabia, Mazroui also said the UAE expected full compliance with any deal reached at an oil producers meeting in Vienna.”We believe that conditions are suitable for an understanding about the reduction because the cut in the previous period had had a positive impact on the market,” Mazroui said.

A source in OPEC said that the ministerial committee recommended that the oil outcome cut remains at its current levels.

Saudi-US CEO Forum Addresses Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in Social, Economic Fields


The Saudi-US Chief Executive Officers (CEO) Forum kicked off in Riyadh on Saturday, under the slogan of “Partnership for Generations,” at the Four Seasons Hotel, reported the Saudi News Agency (SPA).

The forum brings together a number of ministers and officials, more than 50 US companies, over 40 Saudi companies and nine companies from key international markets.

In his speech, Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Engineer Khalid Al-Falih highlighted the friendship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the US, which dates back eight decades, said SPA.

The friendship between the two countries contributes to achieving prosperity for the international community in general, and the two countries in particular.

Al-Falih disclosed that the relationship in the fields of trade and investment between the Kingdom and the US is part of the close friendship between the two countries, pointing out that there are many great opportunities to move this relationship to higher levels.

“Our slogan in this forum is ‘Partnerships for Future Generations’. This not only includes the historical relationship between the two countries, but also marks a transition phase and a major impact on generations in both countries,” added the minister.

He said that the forum will conclude with many investment opportunities and initiatives that will contribute to strengthening partnerships between the Kingdom and the US.

The forum’s sessions were followed by a panel discussion on prospects for partnership between the two countries, moderated by Bloomberg TV presenter Francine Lacois, reported SPA.

Lubna Olayan, CEO and deputy chairman of Olayan Financing Company, highlighted historic relations binding the Kingdom and the US.

She underlined the successful partnership between the two countries that is based on trust, respect and open dialogue, stressing that the forum aims to enhance relations between them.

Olayan added that the forum will discuss the National Transformation Program 2020 and priorities of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

A discussion panel, entitled “Partnership in 21st Century,” then followed with the participation of Dr. Majed Al-Qasabi, minister of commerce and investment, Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, minister of finance, and Yasser Al-Rumaian, general supervisor of the Public Investment Fund.

Al-Qasabi stressed that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 represents a qualitative shift in the history of Saudi Arabia, adding: “We seek to facilitate all measures and revise relevant legislations regarding motivating environment for investment.”

He stressed that the great challenge facing the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 is human resources.

Al-Falih focused on energy and industries, pointing out that the Kingdom made important steps regarding generating power and oil and that Saudi Arabia has many natural resources.

For his part, Al-Jadaan said that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 came in response to a number of challenges.

“The private sector is one of the important factors in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to contribute to the domestic product,” he added.

The minister stressed that the Kingdom seeks to remove obstacles facing the private sector, review conditions of granting loans, transfer technical expertise and provide technical support through several initiatives.

Another discussion panel, entitled “Youth in the Field of Commercial Works,” was held to discuss the importance of employment and development of the Saudi youth.

At conclusion of the Saudi-US CEO Forum, Al-Qasabi highlighted the historic relations between Washington and Riyadh and their importance in all fields.

“The United States has been on our side since the birth of the nation. To us, the US is a global standard setter. We look forward that the forum is to continue as institutional work between the two countries,” he said.