Saudi Arabia is possibly able to stabilize int’l energy market – expert

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 16, 2019   •   186

Smoke rising from an oil facility in Saudi Arabia after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility for an attack on two Saudi Aramco plants. (REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia is possibly able to stabilize the international energy market, said a Saudi analyst on Sunday in Riyadh, capital city of the country.

Saudi Arabian oil facilities were attacked on Saturday, causing half of the kingdom’s oil production capacity disrupted.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying 10 drones targeted state-owned Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.

During an interview with China Central Television (CCTV), Abdul-Rahman Al-Murshed, the analyst, said the attack will not only have an impact on the international crude oil market but also complicate the already tense situation in the Gulf.

Murshed pointed out that this attack will not only have an impact on the Saudi national economy but also bring instability to the world economy.

However, thanks to production cuts to prop up prices in recent years, Saudi Arabia now has some spare oil capacity, and with nearly 200 million barrels of oil in reserve, Aramco has the ability to minimize the impact of the attack on the international energy market.

“As the world’s leading exporter of crude oil, Saudi Arabia has the strength and ability to stabilize the market. When the production of some oil-producing countries such as Iraq and Iran declined before due to different reasons, Saudi Arabia has taken measures to make up for the shortage of supply within a short period of time, mainly thanks to the Saudi spare capacity and huge oil reserve,” he said.

The U.S. put forward a plan to establish a Middle East Security Alliance in September 2018 to members of the Gulf Cooperation Council as a measure against Iran, thus aggravating the regional situation, said Murshed.

The attack is likely to prompt Saudi Arabia to join the alliance, and in turn, the various forces in the region would show more intense confrontation, he said.

“Saudi Arabia stands with any initiative that will preserve the security and integrity of the region and banish the specter of war and confrontation with Iran. Saudi Arabia, therefore, supports any initiative that promotes peace in the region in any way. So I’m sure there will be many understandings and many alliances that will enhance security and peace in this region,” he said. (REUTERS)

Yemen’s Houthis to release 350 prisoners, including three Saudis

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2019

An image grab from a handout video made available by the Houthi Military Media allegedly shows a Saudi trooper wearing a ‘Saudi National Guard’ patch, detained by the Houthis in an August offensive near the southern Saudi region of Najran, Issued 29 September 2019. EPA-EFE/HOUTHI MILITARY MEDIA HANDOUT

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said they will on Monday (September 30) release 350 prisoners, including three Saudi Arabians, under the supervision of the United Nations as part of a peace initiative.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group said they will on Monday (September 30) release 350 prisoners, including three Saudi Arabians, under the supervision of the United Nations as part of a peace initiative.

A prisoner swap between the Houthis and the internationally recognised, Saudi-backed government of Yemen was one of three pillars of a breakthrough deal reached in December in Sweden.

The U.N.-brokered prisoner swap deal involving some 7,000 detainees on each side stalled as the two sides struggled to agree at talks on its implementation.

A Saudi-led Sunni Muslim coalition, which receives arms and intelligence from Western countries, intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the Yemeni government from power in the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The Houthis, who control most major urban areas, said on Sept. 20 they would halt missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia if the alliance stopped its operations.

The coalition has not yet responded to the proposal. (Reuters)

(Production: Dina Selim)

Gatchalian calls for DOTr update on fuel subsidy status amid oil price adjustments

Robie de Guzman   •   October 1, 2019

A Filipino gas attendant pumps fuel into a motorcycle at a gasoline station in Manila, Philippines. EPA/ALANAH M. TORRALBA

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to ensure that public jeepney drivers and operators will get complete fuel subsidies this year under government’s Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) amid adjustments in oil prices.

“We want to urge the DOTr to ensure that all legitimate franchise holders would be able to get their vouchers on time,” Gatchalian said in a press statement.

“Give us an update on that kasi may mga price adjustments later on and we want to know if the Pantawid has been fully implemented as of this point,” he added.

The senator raised the issue during the recent Senate inquiry on the security plan of the Department of Energy following drone attacks that damaged key facilities of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (ARAMCO) earlier this month.

The attacks contributed to the recent spike in local fuel prices. Last week, gasoline prices increased by P2.35 per liter, diesel by P1.80 and kerosene by ₱1.75 a liter.

This week, local oil companies have announced a price rollback on their petroleum products.

The PPP was launched in July 2018 in an aim to mitigate the impact of fuel price increases due to the imposition of excise taxes under the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

From the initial P5,000 in 2018, the amount of the subsidy rose to P20,514 in 2019.

However, Gatchalian noted that only 87,000 of the intended 173,000 beneficiaries nationwide have received their fuel cards last year during a time when oil prices and inflation were rapidly peaking.

The lawmaker said that the poor distribution of the PPP last year meant a lot of public utility drivers were not able to avail of the fuel subsidies that they were entitled to.

Gatchalian has asked the DOTr to submit its latest data on the fuel subsidies to determine whether it is on-track in achieving the 100 percent distribution of the fuel cards.

Oil price rollback looms this week

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 30, 2019

Oil companies are set to have an oil price rollback this week.

Phoenix Petroleum already implemented an oil price rollback on Sunday (September 29). Their gasoline price went down by P1.55 per liter while diesel was down by P0.50 per liter.

SEAOIL Philippines has also reduced their gasoline price by P1.45/liter, diesel by P0.60/liter, and kerosene by P1.00/liter.

Meanwhile, Petro Gazz and Pilipinas Shell will implement the price rollback on Tuesday (October 1).

Petro Gazz cut prices of gasoline by P1.55/liter and diesel by P 0.50/liter while Pilipinas Shell will cut prices of gasoline by P1.45/liter, diesel by P0.60/liter and kerosene by P1.00/liter.—AAC

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