Jan 16
Regional & International Economy
Saudi Aramco discovers new oil, gas fields PDF Print E-mail

Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco discovered new oil and gas fields last year and the kingdom is committed to continue investing in its energy sector to meet future demand, its new energy minister said, reports Reuters.

Khalid al-Falih, who was appointed energy, industry and mineral resources minister on May 7 and is also Aramco's chairman, said that despite low oil prices, the company has reached record levels of oil production and gas processing.

"Declining investments by energy producers raise concerns about another cycle of supply constraints and therefore more market volatility," Falih said in Aramco's 2015 annual report.

His comments are a further sign that Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, does not intend to restrict supply as it battles for market share with other top producers.

Aramco, the world's largest oil company, which is preparing a stock market listing to sell a small portion of its shares, has discovered three new oil fields, it said in the report. They are Faskar, offshore in the Arabian Gulf near the Berri field; Janab, east of the Ghawar field; and Maqam, in the eastern Rub'al-Khali.

It has also found two new non-associated gas fields - Edmee, located west of Haradh, and Murooj in the Empty Quarter.

The company pumped an average of 10.2 million barrels per day in 2015, a new all-time record. Its exports averaged 7.1 million bpd, up from around 6.8 million bpd in 2014.

Saudi Aramco remained the No. 1 one crude supplier to six major Asian countries - China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and India - it said in the annual report. Asia accounted for 65 per cent of its total oil exports; an increase from 62.3 per cent a year earlier.

"Despite competition from shale oil, the company's exports to US markets maintained their level of one million barrels per day," Aramco said.

Aramco's CEO told Reuters in an interview on Thursday that the company is gaining market share and pushing for greater efficiency.

As part of efforts to maximise revenues and expand market share Aramco is building new refineries to secure long-term agreements to sell its crude.

It said its crude oil and condensate throughput to its domestic wholly owned and joint venture refineries rose nine per cent in 2015, mainly due to the commissioning of its new Jubail refinery, known as Satorp, and the full operation of its Yanbu Sinopec refinery, Yasref. Its exports of refined products rose 38 per cent last year.

Aramco said it was moving ahead with its programme to explore for gas in the shallow waters of the Red Sea as well as unconventional gas.

Aid Inflow Almost $800m Short Of Commitment PDF Print E-mail

Aid Inflow Almost $800m Short Of Commitment

Foreign aid flow to Bangladesh during the first three quarters of the current fiscal (FY14, 2013-14), at $ 2171.41 million, has been somewhat higher than the corresponding figure for the last fiscal (FY13, 2012-13) when it was $ 1908.61 million. Of the amount disbursed during the nine-month period covering July to March during FY14, loans amounted to $ 1,614.45 million, while grants clock in at $ 556.96 million, said an official at the Economic Relations Division (ERD).

The official said that the total disbursement of foreign aid of $ 1,908.61 million for July-March of the last fiscal comprises $ 509.41 million in grants and $ 1,399.21 million in loans.

The official said that the overall commitment of foreign aid for the first three quarters of FY14 was, however, lower than in FY13 - $ 2,903.89 million ( $ 2459.70 million as loans, $ 444.19 million in grants), down from $ 5433.67 million (Loans- $ 4865.94 million, Grants $ 567.73 million) During this nine-month period, the repayment stood at $ 862.51million including $ 701.20 million against principal amount and $161.32 million as interest. However, the repayment for the same period of the last fiscal (FY13) was $ 880.32 million including $ 720.79 million against principal amount and $ 159.53 million as interest. Of the major multilateral and bilateral donors for July-March in FY14, the World Bank provided the highest amount of $ 679.91 million followed by ADB $ 382.51 million, Japan $ 344.78 million, UN system $ 114.57 million, China $ 223.40 million and India $ 87.93 million.

According to ERD, although the foreign aid flow to Bangladesh in FY13 was around $ 3,140 million lower than committed, aid disbursement had grown, to $ 2,786.13 million, from $ 2,126.47 million in the previous fiscal (2011-12). The commitment for FY13 was much higher at $ 5,926.05 million compared to $ 4,764.52 million during the same period of the previous

fiscal (FY12). Of the disbursed amount of $ 2,786.13 million for FY13, Bangladesh received $ 2134.3 million in loans and $ 651.7 million as grants. Of the disbursed amount for FY13, the IDA of the World Bank provided the highest amount of $ 901.9 million. This was followed by Asian Development Bank (ADB) $ 670.4 million, JICA $ 630.4 million, the UN system’s $ 203.9 million, IDB $ 10.2 million, and the EU $ 68.0 million.

Remittance falls in April

Inward remittance witnessed a slight fall in April as the country received a total of US$1232.41 million, down by US$56.21 million from US$1288.62 million of March. But the amount is US$38.01 million higher from the same month of the last year's US$1194.40 million. According to Bangladesh Bank (BB), of US$1232.41million, the country received $397.49 million through State-Owned Commercial Banks (SCBs), $16.51 million through specialized banks, $804.07

million through private commercial banks and $14.34 million through foreign commercial banks.

The country received a total of $11,727.14 million as remittance during July- April period of the current fiscal year.

Forex reserves hit record high

Foreign exchange reserves of the country reached a record high $20.37 billion at the end of April, more than 37 percent higher than a year earlier, the central bank said on Sunday. The higher reserves, which stem from a widening current-account surplus, can to cover more than six months of imports. At the end of April 2013, reserves were $14.83 billion. The total last month was $1.06 billion above the March 2014 level. Rising exports and slow imports have helped build reserves despite a drop in remittances due to fewer Bangladeshis going abroad to work. In the first three quarters of the fiscal year that began July 1, exports were $22.24 billion, up 13 percent from a year earlier, largely due to stronger garment sales. However, Bangladesh's garment industry has been hit by a string of fatal factory disasters, including the April 2013 collapse of a building housing factories 2013 that killed more than 1,130 people. In the first 10 months of the fiscal year, the central bank purchased nearly $4.2 billion from local commercial banks to stem the rise of the domestic currency. Economic growth is expected to slow below 6 percent in the l year ending in June, after the country was gripped by political turmoil leading up to an election in January. In 2012/13, the economy grew 6 per cent.

GDP growth to remain close to 6pc: BB

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to remain close to 6 percent at the end of the current fiscal year though the country witnessed 6.33 percent growth in the last four fiscal years (2010-2013) on average, says a Bangladesh Bank analysis. It says, “There’s a doubt a bit whether the average growth rate, maintained in the last four fiscal years, would be achieved or not.” The analysis titled ‘Five Years of Changes and Transformations:

Bangladesh Bank’ sees losses, the economy suffered in the last quarter of 2013 due to election-centric political instability, as the reasons behind the slower growth. The government has revised down fiscal 2013-14’s GDP growth target to 6.5 percent from 7.2 percent. Earlier, former finance adviser to a caretaker government Dr AB Mirza Azizul Islam said the country’s GDP growth will be around 5.6 percent in the current fiscal year. The central bank analysis observed that the country’s overall economy remained comfortable in the last five years.

Exports : The country’s export earnings in the first nine months of the current fiscal year stood US$ 22.24 billions which is 12.88 percent higher than that of the same period of the last fiscal year. Bangladesh had earned US$ 15.65 billions in 2008-2009 fiscal year while the export earnings stood US$ 27.03 billions in the last fiscal year. The country recorded on average export earnings of US$ 22.61 billions in the last four fiscal years.

Imports: The overall import witnessed growth following positive import trend of industrial raw materials and machineries. The import expenditure in the first eight months of the current

fiscal year stood US$ 26.11 billions which is 16.42 percent higher than that of the same period of the last fiscal year. Average import expenditure in the last four years was US$ 30.98 billions while the amount stood US$ 33.97 billions in the last fiscal year. The import expenditure stood at US$ 22.51 billions in fiscal 2008-2009.


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