Month: January 2008

Gasco wins the Shaikh Khalifa Excellence Award for 2007

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Gasco wins the Shaikh Khalifa Excellence Award for 2007

Gasco was awarded the Shaikh Khalifa Excellence Award from H. H. General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in the presence of H.E. Yousef Omair Bin Yousef, Secretary General of the Supreme Petroleum Council and ADNOC’s Chief Executive Officer and H.E. Abdulla Al Suwaidi, Deputy CEO & Director, E&P. The award was recieved by Mohammed Sahoo AlSuwaidi, General Manager of Gasco.

‘Excellence’ is one of the values we actively promote across all areas of our organization- and hence this award conferred on us fills us with a profound sense of professional achievement.

The Award, instituted by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce under the patronage of Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is given each year to an organization that qualifies on the basis of a set of standards and stringent evaluation criteria. The Award Criteria, that form the basis for evaluation by an expert team of Assessors, covers our results in the areas of People Management, Business Performance, Customer Processes and Societal Contributions. Our approaches to producing these results are also evaluated.

This is the first year of our entry into the Award cycle, and to be rated high in an excellence scale is testimony to the high levels of efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism all of us are able to bring on to our work

Opec to pump more oil if necessary, says Al Hamili

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Opec to pump more oil if necessary, says Al Hamili
(Wam)31 January 2008

ABU DHABI – In a bid to strike a balance in the world oil market, Opec will take every measure deemed necessary to keep market stability, including pumping more oil, UAE Minister of Energy Mohammed bin Dha’en Al Hamili said.

Speaking to the news agency shortly before travelling to Vienna for the extraordinary Opec meeting which will open tomorrow, Al Hamili expressed concerns that world oil prices might remain volatile due to the current state of global economy which, he said, is exacerbated by the mortgage crisis in the US. The UAE official, however, observed that demands for crude oil “usually recedes during the second quarter of the year due to seasonal factors”.

Al Hamili remained non-committal on whether or not Opec would increase output in view of the of the current market volatility.

“Any decision to maintain or increase the current production ceiling will be based on informed opinions, studies and analyses that will be presented to the ministers,” he said.

Al Hamili further said that market and economic conditions indicate that world economy is heading towards recession. “Nevertheless, it is predicted that global economy will continue to grow by 4.8 per cent during 2008, a growth rate that is closer to last year’s level.”

While underling Opec commitment to strike a balance between supply and demand, Al Hamili cited weakening US dollar, speculators, US housing sector crisis, among others, as the main factors responsible for oil prices volatility.

Opec oil accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s needs.

Get ready for the big chill in UAE

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Get ready for the big chill in UAE
By Adel Arafah (Our staff reporter)KHALEEJ TIMES 31 January 2008

ABU DHABI — A polar cold air mass passing by the Arabian Gulf is going to stream over the country today afternoon, the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology predicted yesterday. The air mass would come with a moderate northwest wind.

The cold air mass would affect the Western region in the afternoon and would gradually extend to the other regions in the night.

The temperature would plummet during the night. A sharp fall in temperature would be felt tomorrow (on Friday) as well, especially in the coastal and mountainous areas.

The northwest wind would continue lashing the country tomorrow, and the sky would be hazy in the Northern and Eastern regions accompanied by rain.

The National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology advised the people to be extra careful when venturing into the sea for the next three days from today (Thursday). Waves are likely to be 3-5 feet high near the coast and 8-10 feet high in the high seas. Besides, the centre advised the people to wear warm clothes.

An expert at the centre said the country was affected yesterday by a depression forming in the south and centre of Saudi Arabia which caused the dusty winds, especially in the western region.

Winter storms and snow caused schools and shops to shut across the Middle East yesterday.

Meanwhile, many Israelis and Palestinians stayed home from work as snow piled up in Jerusalem and highland areas of the West Bank. Cars crawled through sleety streets and children, excused from school, flocked to parks to have snowball fights.

The storms also closed government ministries and universities in Jordan’s capital Amman, as many residents took the day off rather than try to negotiate the clogged roads.

In Lebanon, heavy snow disrupted traffic on the main highway to the Syrian capital, Damascus, and left villages above 600 metres (2,000 feet) largely cut off. (With agency inputs)

Qatar says Opec could cut supply as inventories grow

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Qatar says Opec could cut supply as inventories grow Bloomberg Published: January 31, 2008, 01:28

Doha: The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) won’t raise output quotas at a meeting this week and will consider a supply reduction in the future because world econ-omic growth is slowing and oil inventories are ample, Qatar’s energy minister said.

“The world has sufficient supply, even oversupplied in some places,” Qatar’s Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah said yesterday. “So to increase, I don’t think this is on the agenda.”

He said the 13-member producer group, the supplier of more than 40 per cent of the world’s oil, would consider a production cutback “if the world economy moves toward a recession.” Weaker economies may lead to reduced demand for energy, he said.

The Opec is expected to keep its output target unchanged at 29.67 million barrels a day when it meets in Vienna on February 1, according to 29 of 32 analysts surveyed by Bloom-berg News.

UAE Energy Minister Mohammad Bin Dha’en Al Hamili said yesterday he was concerned about the possible knock-on effects of the US mortgage crisis on the world economy and oil markets.

Al Hamili said Opec was monitoring the impact on crude oil demand of a possible slowdown in the global economy and would discuss the matter.

A senior Iranian oil official also made clear yesterday he did not expect Opec to decide to change output levels at the meeting. “Because no special conditions have been created in oil markets, it is unlikely that Opec will make a special decision in its meeting on Friday,” Javad Yarjani, head of Opec affairs at Iran’s oil ministry, said. “Market conditions do not need a new Opec decision.”

Oil prices have tumbled from a record $100.09 a barrel set on January 3 amid signs of an economic slowdown in the US, the world’s biggest energy consumer.

Crude oil for March delivery was up 45 cents at $92.09 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange ay 9.28am London time.

Customers lose up to 4% when wiring money abroad

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Customers lose up to 4% when wiring money abroad
By Suzanne Fenton, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: January 31, 2008, 01:28

Dubai: Expatriates in Dubai lose up to four per cent per transaction when they send or receive money from other countries, according to a recent market entrant.

As an expat magnet, the UAE sees millions of dirhams being wired to and from the country every day. And banks charge a wide variety of exchange rates and commissions, which fluctuate daily.

But, according to Lisa O’Brien, director of First Rate FX, a London-based currency specialist firm with offices in Dubai, by doing some basic research, expats can save a lot of cash when transferring money.

“Often people want to transfer money quickly, and so they get in the habit of calling their own bank,” she says.

“But we’re currency specialists. We buy large volumes of all major currencies every day. And because of this we can make a huge saving and pass this benefit on to the client.”

O’Brien says this is with no commission or any other additional charges.

Lucrative business

Mohammad Ishaq, Head of Treasury at Sharjah Islamic Bank, says: “They benefit from the customer in two ways: When a customer deposits the money, it takes a few days to arrive at the destination. In this time the money is lying in transit and the company makes the interest on that.

“Also, the company buys big amounts of money at wholesale rates, but offers it to the customer at the retail rate – about half a per cent or one per cent, depending on the transaction. This half or one per cent makes a big difference. It’s very lucrative for them.”

To highlight O’Brien’s point, using a High Street bank such as HSBC to transfer £1,000 from the UK to Dubai would convert to Dh7,175 with no extra charges or fees at an exchange rate of 7.17.

Naturally, this is only “an indication for today as prices vary from day to day”, according to a bank employee. To send £1,000 from Dubai to the UK, however, would cost Dh7,408 at an exchange rate of 7.41 with an additional charge of Dh80 for sending, amounting to a total of Dh7,488.

Sending £1,000 from the UK to Dubai with a money transfer agency like Western Union would amount to Dh7,220, with the sender paying an additional charge of Dh331 (£47). Sending £1,000 from Dubai to the UK however, would cost Dh7,510, with an additional charge of Dh400, amounting to a total of Dh7,910. Western Union also has a maximum amount of $7,500, with a $310 fee.

Using a specialist company like First Rate FX to transfer £1,000 from the UK to Dubai at a rate of 7.23 would amount to Dh7,230. To send 1,000 GBP to the UK from Dubai would be Dh7,307, at a rate of 7.31.

As foreign exchange is volume-driven, larger amounts would achieve better rates. For example, sending £25,000 from the UK to Dubai with First rate FX would amount to Dh180,957.5 at today’s exchange rate of 7.24 with no commission or extra costs. It would take Dh182,272.5 at a rate of 7.29 to get £25,000 from Dubai to the UK.

According to O’Brien, it’s a case of taking the time to research the market. “In the UK press, there’s been a lot of talk about banks charging too much. So people are becoming more educated to go to specialists instead.”

Damaged sea cable hits internet services

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Damaged sea cable hits internet services
By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter GULF NEWS Published: January 30, 2008, 18:17

Dubai: Both the UAE’s telecom providers suffered yesterday from a break down of internet connections and international calls after a cable was cut in the Mediterranean Sea.

Officials from both network providers were unable to disclose when the issue will be resolved as the submarine cable system operators (FLAG Telecom and SEA-ME-WE 4) were responsible for repairing the damage.

In its statement, etisalat said it was able to re-route the traffic through its network partners in Asia, Europe and UAE to ensure that services remained operational in the UAE.



etisalat said it was working closely with the administration, partners, and concerned operators, for urgent repair work to ensure that the links with major global internet hubs are restored at the earliest. The links deployed by etisalat has meant that normal internet browsing and essential traffic will continue to work at reasonable speeds for the company’s customers.

According to a source at du, the cable is located in Egypt, 12km from the shore. The fault occurred yesterday morning and affected telecom operators globally. du confirmed that its customers were also affected by the broken cable and were likely to experience interruption in internet services and international voice calls.

Emergency: Who’s doing what

– du has transferred internet and international voice traffic through other cable systems that were not affected, although congestion is expected to occur at peak times.

– etisalat is working to ensure that links with major global internet hubs are restored at the earliest. Essential traffic continues to work at reasonable speed.

Photo Speaks – Might is right

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With the increase in number of vehicles and buildings, parking is difficult to find. However, there is a saying “Might is Right”. And these bus drivers knew it very well.

Photo Speaks – Balancing Act

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It’s a tough world to live these days. Especially with the cost of living increasing by day. We know very well how difficult is it to do the balancing act even when we are fairly compensated. And we know how difficult and costly it can be for us with momentary lapse of concentrtion. Ever imagined how these poor workers manage thier needs under these growing economic situation?

Dubai to build world’s longest arched bridge

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Dubai to build world’s longest arched bridge
By Joy Sengupta (Our staff reporter)KHALEEJ TIMES 30 January 2008

DUBAI — Construction of the world’s longest arched bridge in Dubai will begin in March and the project would be completed in four years, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced yesterday.

The project, the sixth crossing over the Dubai Creek, is estimated to cost Dh3 billion.

The bridge, 1600 metres long and 64 metres wide, will comprise 12 lanes, 6 in each direction. In addition, the Green Line of Dubai Metro will run through the centre of the bridge (the dividing area between the two bridges). The giant arch will be 205 metres high and 667 metres long.

The bridge will link Al Jaddaf in Bur Dubai with the road separating The Lagoons and Dubai Festival City. The crossing would also provide entry and exit points for the Creek Island, on which Opera Building, a project of Sama Dubai, will be constructed. The Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the RTA, Mattar Al Tayer, said the project, developed by a United States-based company, would be completed in six phases.

“The construction of the first phase would begin in March this year,” he pointed out.

The crossing would facilitate free traffic flow at all intersections and allow free navigation throughout the day as it would be15 metres above the water surface.

The 50-metre-wide navigation corridor would enable movement of large yachts.