EconSource: Iraq’s Baiji Refinery Still Under Threat From ISIS Militants

Pentagon officials said they are worried that Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery could fall to the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in the coming days. For weeks, US military officials have said that control of the refinery has been bitterly contested between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants. But ISIS fighters have made inroads in recent days, reinforcing their positions around the refinery. Still, Pentagon officials said even if ISIS takes control of the refinery, the group will not be able to operate it. It has been badly damaged, and repairs will take up to a year. [Reuters, WSJ, AFP, 5/7/2015]

Libyan Nafoura oilfield shuts due to pipeline blockage
Libya’s Nafoura oilfield has shut down due to a blockage in the pipeline linking it to the eastern port of Zueitina. Renewed protests have closed several Libyan oilfields and ports in the past two weeks as violence and a breakdown in state authority continues. The field’s output was between 30,000 and 35,000 barrels per day. Protesters demanding jobs this week stopped all crude flows to Zueitina. Meanwhile, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said a foreign shipper will send a tanker to the eastern port of Derna for the first time since a warplane belonging to the eastern Tobruk government bombed a Greek-operated tanker there in January. [Reuters, 5/7/2015]

Saudi Arabia likely to be classified as an emerging market
Saudi Arabia, the Middle East’s biggest economy, is likely to be classified as an emerging market following the opening of its $590 billion stock market to foreign investors in June, according to the global index compiler MSCI Inc. Investors globally have shown strong interest in investing in the kingdom’s listed entities, pushing compilers such as MSCI to include Saudi Arabia in their indices, which are tracked by funds managing billions of dollars. There were some uncertainty in the market about Saudi Arabia’s classification as a frontier or emerging market. The earliest that Saudi Arabia could enter the emerging-market classification is mid-2017. [WSJ, 5/7/2015]

EU delivers loan installment to Tunisia, Belgium considers converting debt to investment
The European Union (EU) has delivered a EUR 100 million loan to Tunisia, the first of three installments of a macroeconomic assistance package. The assistance package of EUR 300 million was approved by the EU in 2014. EU Economic and Finance Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the installment reflects support for Tunisia’s political transition and seeks to contribute to sustainable economic growth in the country. Belgian Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Didier Reynders expressed willingness to boost cooperation with Tunisia by promoting investments and possibly converting Tunisian debt into investments. [ANSAmed, TAP/All Africa, 5/7/2015]

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