EconSource: ISIS Again Pushing to Capture Iraq Refinery at Baiji

Islamic State militants (ISIS or ISIL) took control of half Iraq’s largest oil refinery over the weekend and cut supply lines to the 150 or so government troops who were holding out inside the facility. The Baiji refinery remains one of the most important economic assets in Iraq, even though it has been shut down since last summer, when ISIS fighters first began trying to capture it. In addition to lost revenue, the government’s inability to operate it has forced it to import hundreds of millions of dollars of fuel. The loss of the facility would be a crippling blow to the government and a huge strategic success for ISIS. The facility would require billions of dollars and years to replace. [McClatchy, 4/2/2015]

Egypt issues tender for second LNG import terminal
Egypt has issued a five-year tender to lease a second liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal, as the country seeks to tackle an energy crisis. Egypt was once an energy exporter but declining oil and gas production and increasing consumption has forced the government to divert energy supplies to the domestic market, turning the country into a net energy importer. The floating regasification and import terminal, which converts supercooled LNG into gas, would be Egypt’s second. An import terminal from Norway’s Hoegh LNG arrived in April. [Reuters, 5/4/215]

Libyan gas field resumes work after protesters end blockade
Protesters at Libya’s eastern port of Brega agreed to a deal on Sunday to end their strike, Libya’s state-run Sirte Oil Company said, clearing the way for the Irda natural gas field to resume production. Protesters had demanded jobs at the oil company and had prevented staff from working at the company’s headquarters.The National Oil Corporation (NOC) confirmed that the Irda field has resumed work.  Meanwhile, an operator from Libya’s Hariga oil port said the port plans to export 7 million barrels of crude oil in May. Libya’s western El Feel oilfield remains closed due to a protest by security guards. [Reuters, 5/3/2015]

Foreign direct investment rises in Tunisia rises in first quarter
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Tunisia rose 24 percent in the first quarter of 2015, government figures showed on Monday. The figure for that period, from January to March, was 396 million Tunisian dinars ($206 million). The manufacturing industry drew most of the investment flow, followed by the services sector. Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that conflicts in the region will have a direct impact on Arab economies. It pledged to support economic and fiscal reforms in Tunisia. [Reuters, 5/4/2015]

Also of interest
Gulf markets edge up after oil hits new high| Reuters
Gulf countries set to create more jobs in 2015, despite oil price fall | Zawya
Foreign flows likely to fall short of expectations in Saudi | Gulf News
Saudi slips on Yemen concerns; Dubai retreats from technical barrier | Reuters
Saudi Prince sees power grow in oil restructuring | The Daily Star
UAE loan demand growth moderating, credit standards tightening | Reuters
Egypt in talks with World Bank over new loan | Amwal Al Ghad
In Algeria, entrepreneurs hope falling oil prices will spur innovation | NYT
In Iraq’s malls, Syrian women take jobs spurned by locals | NYT