EconSource: Kurds Vow Steady Payments to Oil Companies as Exports Rise

Iraqi Kurdistan said on Thursday it expects to begin making regular payments to oil exporting companies in the first half of September. The Kurdish Ministry of Natural Resources said in a statement that $75-$100 million of revenue from its direct crude oil sales would be allocated as payment to the companies. Additional export revenue will be paid to the companies as Kurdish shipments rise in 2016. “Regular payments will allow the exporting companies to cover their ongoing expenses and plan for further investment in the oilfields, which will in turn boost production,” the statement read. The payment would be the first stable compensation to the companies that have been caught in a dispute over revenue sharing between Iraq’s federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Also on Thursday, Gulf Keystone Petroleum said it was owed $283 million for oil sales and other costs from the KRG. [Reuters, Bloomberg, 8/27/2015]

IMF makes $300 million available to Tunisia following review
A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has concluded its 2015 Article IV discussions in Tunisia and released its preliminary findings. IMF Mission Chief for Tunisia Amine Maty said about $300 million in loans will be made available to Tunisia upon completion of the mission’s review. “The mission welcomes the authorities’ continued commitment to implementing their national economic program following the successful conclusion of their political transition and looks forward to continuing the close cooperation to achieve the program objectives of macroeconomic stability and stronger and more inclusive growth,” Maty said. He also emphasized Tunisia’s need to enact structural reforms to boost job creations and move forward with banking reforms. The funds are part of the IMF’s $1.68 billion Stand By-Agreement with Tunisia signed in 2013. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde is scheduled to visit Tunisia in September. [IMF, 8/26/2015]

UAE to lower domestic gasoline, diesel prices in September
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will lower domestic prices for gasoline and diesel in September, the Energy Ministry said on Thursday. The price of a liter of octane 95 gasoline will fall 8.4 percent at the start of September, while domestic diesel prices will drop 9.3 percent. Last month, the UAE said it would raise domestic prices for gasoline and cut them for diesel in a politically sensitive reform designed to save money and encourage fuel efficiency. The Gulf Cooperation Council has discussed efforts to align fuel prices, though none of its other members has taken steps yet to allow fuel prices to follow the market. [Reuters, Bloomberg, 8/27/2015]

Egypt extends high-moisture wheat exemption for one year
Egypt will accept higher moisture levels in government tenders to buy wheat for one year after an initial exemption expires at the end of August, Supply Minister Khaled Hanafi said. Egypt’s state grain buyer, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), began accepting wheat with more moisture a year ago, having previously set a 13 percent limit. France, one of Egypt’s most important wheat supplier, had struggled to meet the moisture limits imposed by GASC. “The request for the exemption to be extended was made by the French side,” said Francois Gatel, director of export lobby France Export Cereales. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said his country will increase the quantity of wheat it supplies to Egypt. [Reuters, 8/27/2015]

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