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Thursday, 8 May 2014

EconoMonitor » Russia Claims Ukraine’s Black Sea Oil And Gas Bounty

EconoMonitor : EconoMonitor » Russia Claims Ukraine’s Black Sea Oil And Gas Bounty:



"Russia’s annexation of Crimea has totally upended Kiev’s plans for Black Sea and Sea of Azov offshore oil and natural gas production.



Before the peninsula’s March 16 independence referendum, followed two days later by Russian annexation, Ukraine’s state-owned Chornomornaftogaz (“Chernomorneftegaz” in Russian) owned 17 hydrocarbon fields, including 11 natural gas fields, four gas condensate fields, and two oil fields, along with 13 offshore platforms in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.



Among foreign companies interested in Crimea’s offshore hydrocarbon assets were ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Petrom.



Pre-annexation, Chornomornaftohaz also held a 100 percent interest in five offshore license blocs – Vostochno-Kazantipskoe in the Sea of Azov and Odesskoe, Bezymiannoe, Subbotina and Palasa in the Black Sea. Crimea was third in Ukrainian natural gas production after the Kharkov and Poltava regions."



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Qatar energy company acquires stake in Canadian gas sector - UPI.com

Qatar energy company acquires stake in Canadian gas sector - UPI.com:



"British energy company Centrica said Thursday it sold 40 percent of its natural gas business in Canada to a subsidiary of Qatar Petroleum for $183 million.



Qatar Petroleum International, the subsidiary, acquired the interest in Centrica's operations in western Canada. The British company said the partnership will have 1.6 trillion cubic feet of proven and probable reserves with a production rate of 390 million cubic feet of gas equivalent per day.



The assets will be placed into an existing joint venture between Centrica and Qatar Petroleum International, CQ Energy Canada Partnership,

Nasser al-Jaidah, QPI's chief executive, said the acquisition gives his company a solid footing in the North American market."



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Serco enters Middle East defence market with Qatar deal | Reuters

Serco enters Middle East defence market with Qatar deal | Reuters:



"Struggling British outsourcing firm Serco said it had signed its first defence contract in the Middle East - a 26 million pound ($44 million) deal to deliver education courses to officers of the Qatar Armed Forces.



Under the three-year contract with Qatar's Ministry of Defence, Serco will provide postgraduate-level military education courses for majors and lieutenant colonels in the navy, army and air force, in partnership with Britain's Ministry of Defence and King's College London, the firm said on Thursday.



Serco, which operates services around the world from prisons to air traffic control, already does business with armed forces in the United States, Australia and Britain, where it also provides military education courses."



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The 'flash boys' debate - YouTube

The 'flash boys' debate - YouTube: ""



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Russian Stocks Rise After Putin Cools Ukraine Fears | News | The Moscow Times

Russian Stocks Rise After Putin Cools Ukraine Fears | News | The Moscow Times:



"Russian stock indexes made further gains on Thursday, as investors remained hopeful that tensions in Ukraine will ease after President Vladimir Putin's call on pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to delay a planned referendum.



Two and a half hours into trading on Thursday morning the dollar-denominated RTS stock index was up 1.2 percent at 1,243 points, while the ruble-denominated MICEX index was up 0.8 percent at 1,375 points.



The RTS rose 4.7 percent and MICEX 3.4 percent on Wednesday, when Putin called on pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to delay a referendum planned for May 11. The rebels are due to make a decision about the vote on Thursday.

"



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Kuwait’s Investment Dar Makes Fresh Appeal in 5-Year-Old Debt Debacle - Middle East Real Time - WSJ

Kuwait’s Investment Dar Makes Fresh Appeal in 5-Year-Old Debt Debacle - Middle East Real Time - WSJ:



"The Investment Dar, a Kuwaiti investment firm that owns a large stake in British car-maker Aston Martin, is appealing to creditors this week to accept a new proposal to settle debts five years after it defaulted on a $100 million Islamic bond.



TID was one of a plethora of investment companies formed in Kuwait in the decades leading up to the crisis, many of which acted like private equity vehicles and borrowed to buy assets, hoping for big gains. When the financial crisis set in and banks suddenly became reluctant to refinance debt, these companies found themselves in a pickle: they didn’t have enough cash to repay debts, and they couldn’t sell assets in time to meet maturities.



This led to a string of defaults and debt restructurings in Kuwait, topped by TID and Global Investment House. Global had to seek new terms with lenders twice, but managed to hash out a final $1.7 billion deal last summer.

"



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Egypt’s Trade and Industry Minister: Debt now above 100 percent of GDP « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

Egypt’s Trade and Industry Minister: Debt now above 100 percent of GDP « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT:



"Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour is one the 20 ministers who survived Egypt’s cabinet reshuffle in March, which saw Hazem El-Beblawi replaced by Ibrahim Mahlab as premier. As Egypt’s Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment, he has a tough job on his hands as the country struggles to recover from the economic chaos which has accompanied the instability since the January 2011 revolution.



Since the departure of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has experienced a major security vacuum and a turbulent and unpredictable political atmosphere that predictably spooked many investors and prompted tourists—a major source of hard currency—to stay away. A major exodus of foreign money led to a number of negative consequences for the country’s finances, among them the dramatic shrinkage of hard currency reserves, which at one point were not enough to cover three months’ food imports."



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Dubai tightens up with unified realty contracts | GulfNews.com

Dubai tightens up with unified realty contracts | GulfNews.com:



"A level playing field is what has been achieved with Dubai Land Department’s requirement that all freehold property transactions in the emirate from May 1 should come with an unified set of contracts involving the buyer, seller and the agent. These will now form the basis for any property deal to be validated by the Dubai Land Department.



There are three models of contract: one which is between the seller and buyer, the second between seller and broker and the third which is between the buyer and broker. These are available on the Land Department’s EMART portal. 
"



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HSBC Middle East profit declines 4.2% in first quarter | The National

HSBC Middle East profit declines 4.2% in first quarter | The National:



"HSBC, Europe’s largest bank by market value, said its Middle East business did not fare as badly as the whole group in the first quarter of the year.



Still, HSBC Middle East reported a 4.2 per cent decline in profit in the first three months as lower interest rates compress margins for Arabian Gulf lenders.



HSBC’s regional business reported a pre-tax profit of US$502 million compared to $524m in the same period the previous year. Profit from its retail banking and wealth management activities softened to $82m from $90m, while commercial banking income declined to $181m from $192m."



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Arabtec net profit jumps 121% to Dh138 million | GulfNews.com

Arabtec net profit jumps 121% to Dh138 million | GulfNews.com:



"Arabtec Holding, the builder of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, yesterday reported a net profit of Dh138 million for the first quarter of 2014, a 121 per cent jump from a year ago.



The revenues of Dubai’s largest listed construction company went up by 39 per cent, from Dh1.545 billion to Dh2.152 billion on the back of Arabtec’s growing business in the Gulf. The first three months of the year also witnessed a 15 per cent growth in the gross profit margin and a 7 per cent increase in net profit margin.



Hasan Ismaik, managing director and CEO of Arabtec Holding, attributed the company’s positive performance to their expanding operations and stronger delivery of projects in the region."



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Gulf states inch closer to implementing customs union | GulfNews.com

Gulf states inch closer to implementing customs union | GulfNews.com:



"The energy-rich Gulf states agreed on Wednesday to resolve hurdles obstructing implementation of a long-delayed customs union, particularly revenue sharing, Kuwait’s finance minister said.



Leaders of the six-nation GCC have set January 1 to implement the customs union, first launched in 2003 and delayed on several occasions to resolve hurdles.



Anas Al Saleh said after a day-long meeting of finance ministers that there had been agreement on all points of the agenda, including on the mechanism for distributing customs revenues, which has been the biggest hurdle."



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Putin’s Detente Signals Stock Rout Ending as Skagen Buys - Bloomberg

Putin’s Detente Signals Stock Rout Ending as Skagen Buys - Bloomberg:



"The rout in Russian equities showed signs of ending yesterday as President Vladimir Putin’s push to ease the Ukraine conflict spurred the biggest gain since March while two of the largest emerging-market money managers said they’ve been buying cheap shares.



The Bloomberg index of the biggest Russian companies listed in the U.S. climbed 3.3 percent after the benchmark Micex gauge in Moscow jumped 3.4 percent as Putin said he was pulling troops away from the Ukrainian border. Yesterday’s gains trimmed losses in the two benchmarks since Russia's incursion in Ukraine began in early March to less than 6 percent.



Aberdeen Asset Managers Ltd. and Skagen AS said yesterday -- a day after Deutsche Bank AG strategist John-Paul Smith predicted a Russian stock market rebound -- that they’ve been buying equities recently because the selloff is overdone. Aberdeen’s Peter Taylor boosted his investment in OAO Magnit (MGNT) while Skagen bought shares of OAO Moscow Exchange and OAO Sberbank."



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