News U Wish to Read – 3rd October 2015
Note: News U Wish to Read is a press review compilation and only covers articles published in the press, in the UAE and India. Its purpose is to keep us informed of important news items which we all wish to not miss. Enjoy reading the below news items and links. More sections will come as it takes shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.
Many reasons for cautious process on Abu Dhabi’s onshore oil concessions
This time last year the air was thick with speculation about Abu Dhabi’s coveted onshore oil concessions, the award of which is worth billions to the international oil companies that secure them and is of prime importance to the people of the emirate. The 15 onshore oilfields – collectively know as the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations, or Adco – account for more than half of the country’s oil output, though that is projected to be overtaken by offshore production within a few years. Even a year ago, the question was why had it taken the Supreme Petroleum Council and its technical advisers so long to evaluate and decide upon the proposals it had received? The previous concession had run out at the end of the prior year and all of the interested parties – which included four of the previous concession-holders, excluding Exxon Mobil – had made multiple presentations, as had a number of prospective new partners. Anticipation was building that Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) would announce the decision at the big international oil gathering in the capital – Adipec – next month. But Adnoc did not announce the first major concession – granted to Total of France – until the following January, and then two others – to Japanese and South Korean interests – over the next five months. Now, a year later and with Adipec on the horizon again next month, and with still more than half of the 40 per cent of Adco’s foreign stake unallocated, oil industry executives again are starting to murmur – “What’s up with the Adco concessions?”. The delay should not be surprising given the two big challenges the Abu Dhabi oil decision-makers must face. One is that they must evaluate the partnerships for the next two generations in lieu of a changing global economy. Much of the talk since the concessions expired has been of the “shift to the east” – the growth of Asia’s developing economies, particularly China, which has meant more than 90 per cent of Abu Dhabi crude now is absorbed by Asia’s refiners. Adnoc’s loyal, long-term contractual buyers were recognised by the Adco parcels allocated to Japan’s Inpex (5 per cent) and South Korea’s GS Energy, backed by Korea National Oil Corp (3 per cent). Japan bought 30 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s crude oil output last year, with South Korea buying 12 per cent.
Published: 1st October 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/many-reasons-for-cautious-process-on-abu-dhabis-onshore-oil-concessions
Iran targets 2 million barrels-a-day lift
Iran plans to increase crude output by 2 million barrels a day from about 50 energy projects slated for investors at a conference in Tehran next month. That is according to Roknoddin Javadi, the managing director of National Iranian Oil Company. The package would also aim to boost natural gas production by 7 billion standard cubic feet, Mr Javadi said at a conference in Berlin. Oil production is now about 2.8 million barrels a day, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Iran has the world’s largest gas reserves and the fourth largest oil reserves, according to BP figures. The country would need US$30 billion of investment over five years to boost oil production, starting with about 350,000 barrels of new output next year, Goldman Sachs said in a report. The supplies could keep pressure on oil prices and delay the market’s return to balance, Henry Tarr, a Goldman analyst, said in the report. Mr Javadi told the conference that “the global oil market will stay bearish in the short to medium term”. The agreement in July by the United States, France, China, Russia, Britain and Germany to remove sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme pointed to an early start next year if all conditions were met, said Mr Tarr.
Published: 1st October 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/iran-targets-2-million-barrels-a-day-lift
The rise and fall of UAE fuel prices – graphic
The Fuel Price Committee has announced another drop in the price of petrol, while diesel is to rise slightly for October. Take a look at how the prices have changed since price-setting was liberalised in July.
Published: 28th September 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/the-rise-and-fall-of-uae-fuel-prices–graphic
Total plans deeper cuts in global project spending
In a scheduled “strategy and outlook” presentation to investors in Paris, Total executives said the company plans to cut both capital and operating expenditures substantially through 2017, including reducing headcount and freezing recruitment. Total was the first of the large international oil companies to begin cost-cutting several years ago, before oil prices began their latest slide. Capital spending had already been cut from a peak two years ago of US$28 billion to about $23.5bn this year and the company said it would be cut a further 15 per cent next year and 12 per cent the year after “to a sustainable $17bn-19bn from 2017 onwards”. The Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanné and other top executives laid out a strategy that forecasts production to grow at an average of 5 per cent a year from 2014 through 2019. That is a slowing rate of growth from the 11 per cent the company registered in the first half of this year and the 7 per cent it expects through 2017. It effectively cut its forecast rate of production to 2.6 million barrels per day in 2017 from 2.8 million bpd. In January, Total was the first company to be granted a new concession in Abu Dhabi’s major onshore oilfields concession, known as Adco. The French company had been one of the legacy Adco concession operators and won a renewal for 40 years with a bid that analysts estimate was $2.2bn for a 10 per cent stake, giving it claim over about 2.2 billion barrels over the life of the contract. Regaining Adco this year has been a big factor behind the 11 per cent production increase posted in the first half. The 15 fields are on track to boost production from about 1.6 million bpd last year to 1.8 million bpd by the end of 2017. But neither the UAE nor the Middle East region in general featured in the plans laid out by Total for the next few years. Total has already said it plans to cut 2,000 headcount this year as part of efforts to trim $1.2bn from operating costs. The company said it is now aiming for even sharper cuts, with a target of between $2bn and $3bn of additional opex reductions by 2017. In the part of the strategy presented by Arnaud Breuillac, Total’s head of exploration and production, he said the company would be looking to cut the numbers and rates of contractors as well as freezing recruitment worldwide as part of efforts to reduce global headcount. The main focus of cuts would be older provinces, he said, highlighting the UK North Sea, which is targeted for a 20 per cent further reduction in personnel by 2017. “We are preparing the group to face low oil prices for a long time,” Patrick de la Chevardiere, Total’s head of finance, told a press conference after the presentation. The focus of future growth will be projects such as offshore Angola as well as liquefied natural gas in Papua New Guinea. As with other large international oil companies, Total executives said they are concerned to maintain their dividend payments for investors even with much lower oil prices.
Published: 23rd September 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/total-plans-deeper-cuts-in-global-project-spending
Why Shell quit drilling in the Arctic
Royal Dutch Shell’s abrupt announcement earlier this week that it would cease all offshore drilling in the Arctic is surprising for several reasons. One is the unusual degree of confidence the company expressed as recently as mid-August that it had identified 15 billion barrels of oil beneath the well known as Burger J it’s now abandoning. What happened? Mistaken geology: After spending $7 billion over several years to explore a single well this summer, Shell said in a statement that it “found indications of oil and gas … but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration.” This contrasts sharply with Shell officials’ statements as recently as July and August that based on 3- and 4-D seismic analysis of core samples its petroleum geologists were “very confident” drillers would find plentiful oil. The geologists’ expectations were the main reason Shell spent all of that money on a project that entailed much-higher- than-average operational risks and international environmental condemnation. Giving up has got to hurt at a company that prides itself on scientific and technical prowess. Shell said it would take an unspecified financial charge related to the folding of its Arctic operation, which carries a value of $3 billion (Dh11 billion) on the company’s balance sheet.
Published: 30th September 2015
Mubadala and General Electric agree to sell joint venture to US private equity firm
Mubadala and GE Capital have agreed on a deal to sell their commercial finance joint venture to a unit of Apollo Global Management, a US private equity firm. Mubadala GE Capital (MGEC) in Abu Dhabi has signed a deal to sell “substantially all of the assets” of the company and its subsidiary firms to MidCap Financial. A price for the sale, which will be paid in cash, has yet to be agreed and “is subject to customary adjustment”, MGEC said.It also said the deal was subject to conditions and “may be terminated under certain circumstances”. It is expected to close in the last quarter of the year.
Published: 1st October 2015
Air India shifts domestic operations to T2 Mumbai
Times of India
From T2, Air India will operate 63 flights out of Mumbai of which 52 are to domestic destinations. Starting October 1, 2015, Air India has relocated its domestic operations from the Santa Cruz airport to Terminal 2 (T2), of the Mumbai airport to integrate its international operation with domestic flights. The move will also help members of Star Alliance to easily transfer passengers. With this, Air India said it would make Mumbai its second hub after Delhi. Interestingly, Mumbai was Air India’s home base since its inception and most international flights were operated from here till the UPA government shifted Air India’s headquarters to Delhi and the Delhi airport was made its base and main hub.
Published: 2nd October 2015
Politics & Economy
Economy minister: GDP to grow 3.5% to Dh1.6tr
The share of the industrial sector in the GDP is growing and now stands between 10-14%. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the UAE is predicted to grow more than 3.5 per cent to more than Dh1.6 trillion this year, compared with Dh1.5 trillion in 2014. In a statement to WAM, the minister said the UAE’s ability to maintain high grow rates in the past years despite global economic volatility shows its economic efficiency and proves that its diversification policy is successful as it relies more on non-oil sectors to weather global challenges. The share of the industrial sector in the GDP is growing and now stands between 10-14 per cent. He expects the size of industrial investments in the UAE to double in five years. Al Mansouri stressed that his ministry seeks to bolster the competitiveness of the national economy, the flow of foreign direct investments as well as the country’s economic relations with foreign countries. He pointed out that the Second UAE Economic Planning Forum, a two-day event scheduled on October 7 in Ras Al Khaimah, will enhance coordination between local and federal government departments to boost economic competitiveness, help the SME sector (small and medium size enterprises) and carry out national economic plans. The minister of economy added that innovation and supporting national industries top the agenda of the forthcoming forum.
Published: 3rd October 2015
UAE and Saudi Arabia non-oil bilateral trade set to exceed Dh80 billion
Non-oil trade between the UAE and Saudi Arabia is forecast to surge as the Emirates consolidates its status as an international trade centre, boosts investments in the kingdom and enacts unified regulations for Arabian Gulf products. Saudi Arabia is the biggest exporter of goods (mainly petrochemical products) to the UAE in the Gulf. In the UAE, Gulf products overall enjoy exemption of customs duties, in accordance with the country’s economic agreements with Gulf states, which contribute to the big volume of trade with Saudi Arabia. In 2013, the latest year for which figures are available, the bilateral trade was valued at Dh80 billion. The expected rise in trade comes amid increased political cooperation between the two countries, most notably in the military campaign to restore the internationally recognised government of Yemen. Still, challenges remain to the flow of UAE-Saudi Arabian trade, with logistics at the border at the forefront. According to the UAE’s Ministry of Economy, the country’s main export to Saudi Arabia is gold and the main re-export products are jewellery and gold.
Published: 3rd October 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/uae-and-saudi-arabia-non-oil-bilateral-trade-set-to-exceed-dh80-billion
RBI surprises with more-than-expected rate cut
In a surprise move, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan on Tuesday cut the key repo rate by 50 basis points to 6.75 per cent, the lowest in nearly five years, yielding to pressures from government and industry, clamouring for such a sharp rate cut. Unveiling the fourth bi-monthly monetary policy statement for fiscal year 2014-15, Rajan said since the previous review the bulk of the conditions for easing the policy had been met. Inflation has dropped to a nine-month low and despite the monsoon deficiency and its uneven spatial and temporal distribution, food inflation pressures have been contained by resolute actions by the government, he added. While reducing the policy repo rate – the rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks – under the liquidity adjustment facility, he kept the cash reserve ratio unchanged at four per cent. The reverse repo rate has been adjusted to 5.75 per cent.
Published: 30th September 2015
Read more: http://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/economy/rbi-surprises-with-more-than-expected-rate-cut
Community, Environment & Society
Abu Dhabi road safety campaigns start to prove their worth
Traffic campaigns along with strict law enforcement by police were the key reasons why accidents on the emirate’s roads had fallen by a quarter over the first eight months of the year, Abu Dhabi Police said on Thursday. Latest figures released by Abu Dhabi Police reveal that since the start of the year there were 30 deaths compared with 40 over the same period last year. Brig Gen Khalifa Al Khaili, head of traffic and road safety at Abu Dhabi Police, attributed the decrease to the efforts of the authorities to make roads safer. He said that awareness programmes had been increased to ensure respect of traffic rules. Col Jamal Al Ameri, head of public relations at the directorate, said traffic awareness sessions had taken place at transport companies, schools and universities. And he added that the traffic safety improvements were down to these campaigns – in addition to the widespread use of radars and other traffic monitoring systems. “The drop in fatalities is mainly due to the strict enforcement of laws and the safety awareness programmes,” he said.
Published: 1st October 2015.
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/transport/abu-dhabi-road-safety-campaigns-start-to-prove-their-worth
UAE in talks over mobilisation of COP 21 climate agreement
The UAE attended a meeting on Wednesday about how to enact agreements made in the COP 21 climate pact, which is due to be formalised in Paris in December. The UAE delegation to the two-day Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, held on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York, was led by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the National Media Council board. “In common with the MEF, we have identified an urgent need for the deployment of clean energy technologies at the lowest possible cost, to drive transformational progress,” he said. The minister added that moving to a clean energy economy provides an opportunity to promote continued economic growth and sustainable development as part of a response to the challenges posed by climate change. “The UAE’s participation, alongside 17 of the world’s leading economies, is a testament to the country’s commitment to sustainable development, and its leadership in the deployment of the clean energy technologies necessary to mitigate climate change.” Discussions at the forum focused on a number of important issues that, it is hoped, will be resolved ahead of the COP 21 meeting in December.
Published: 30th September 2015.
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/uae-in-talks-over-mobilisation-of-cop-21-climate-agreement
mGovernment social media accounts caters to Hindi speaking UAE residents
The UAE has added Hindi as a language to communicate mGovernment initiatives on social media. One of India’s official languages, Hindi is now used by the official mGovernment Twitter account. The first Hindi tweet was posted on September 14, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said. “This initiative reflects the UAE government’s respect to its residents’ diverse cultures and civilisations,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, the TRA’s director-general. “It also emphasises the government’s keenness on interacting with the people and hearing their voices through different social-media platforms.”
Published: 28th September 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/mgovernment-social-media-accounts-caters-to-hindi-speaking-uae-residents
Emirates Foundation invites budding scientists to participate in Think Science competition
The Emirates Foundation is inviting budding young scientists to participate in next year’s Think Science competition. The contest is held under the patronage of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Emirates Foundation, and engages youth nationwide to develop scientific innovations that respond to social needs. It is also part of the foundation’s Think Science programme, which aims to encourage Emiratis aged 15 to 35 to follow their passions for science through interactive activities related to engineering, energy, aviation and other fields. The national competition will accept 220 projects in the categories of electrical engineering, environmental sciences, industrial and mechanical systems, energy, smart and safety systems, physics and chemistry, transportation, aerodynamics and aviation. To ensure wider participation, the Emirates Foundation this year opened the doors for those aged between 25 and 35 years who have completed their academic study to participate in the competition. “The competition will provide a unique opportunity for Emirati youth to showcase their talents in science and technology, develop knowledge and share expertise, and be part of the UAE’s growth today and in the future,” said Maytha Al Habsi, chief programmes officer at the Emirates Foundation.
Published: 30th September 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/science/emirates-foundation-invites-budding-scientists-to-participate-in-think-science-competition
Engineering yourself for a successful career
Tips to make your engineering degree count in the competitive world of campus placements. Engineering education requires a transformation to meet the needs of employers, the challenges facing the profession and the community as a consequence of the rapid development of technology, the demands of large and complex projects and the need for socially responsible multidisciplinary innovation. A bachelor’s degree in engineering opens the door to several professional careers and exciting higher study options. In today’s high-tech world, an engineering degree is a great foundation for careers in traditional engineering fields as well as careers in management, sales, government, medicine, research, law, teaching, and many more.
Published: 28th September 2015
Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/careers/engineering-yourself-for-a-successful-career/article7692762.ece
Sports – Campaign PASS
Campaign PASS (Promote All Sports Simultaneously) is an initiative started through my blog to promote all sports(other than cricket – which gets lot of attention) and sports personnel associated to give them more exposure.
National Sports Day to bring UAE together in friendly competition
Plans have been announced for a nationwide sports day in which men, women and children of various nationalities are brought together in the spirit of friendly competition. Organisers of the UAE National Sports Day believe that as well as promoting healthy living, sporting competition also helps create a harmonious society. Sports clubs, groups and schools will all be encouraged to take part in the event, which is due to take place on November 25. Its launch follows a directive of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. HE Mohamed Ebraheem Al Mahmood, vice president of the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare and Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Media, said: “This holds a lot of meaning in the country to promote athletics and a culture of sportsmanship for not only us and the over 200 nationalities in the country but also for our youth.” He urged as many people and organisations as possible to sign up. “The first national sports day carries an open invitation among all the citizens of the UAE, in age, gender and ability, it is meant for everyone,” said Mr Al Mahmood. “And that is the point – to bring people together.” Saeed Hareb, secretary general of Dubai Sports Council, also hoped the event would prove popular. “We want everyone to participate. I anticipate hundreds of events, and that is what we need.”
Published: 29th October 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/national-sports-day-to-bring-uae-together-in-friendly-competition
Indian Super League ready for even bigger kick-off
Team owners and sponsors of the Indian Super League (ISL) are hoping that the football tournament will be able to score huge success among fans over the coming weeks. The ISL kicked off its second season yesterday evening in Chennai after launching last year, bringing Bollywood glitz to football in an otherwise cricket-mad nation where other sports have more limited popular and commercial appeal. Actors, cricket stars and business tycoons are among those who have invested in the eight teams, which include a mix of international and Indian footballers on their rosters. The young league has ambitions to grow, but without doubt it is a high-risk venture. Another football tournament in India, the I-League, has failed to gain much traction. This has been blamed on lack of funding and limited television coverage. India is often referred to as football’s “sleeping giant” – it is 155th in the latest Fifa rankings – but with rising incomes and a vast young population, the potential to generate revenues from the sport could be enormous if its popularity continues to grow.
Published: 3rd October 2015
Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/indian-super-league-ready-for-even-bigger-kick-off
Hope you enjoyed reading the above news items and links. More sections will come as it take shape and interest. Your response to this initiative is highly appreciated.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
3rd October 2015