EconSource: OPEC Heads Towards Holding Output as Oil Slips Under $60

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is leaning toward holding crude output levels on the eve of its production meeting, as oil prices slid back under $60 a barrel, on concerns that the expected decision would further fuel oversupply . Ministers attending a two-day seminar before Friday’s meeting said they would be happier with prices between $75 and $80 a barrel to boost revenues and help balance their budgets. Any decline in OPEC output will be quickly filled by outside players including US shale oil producers, who have cut back as prices have fallen but are ready to ramp up their share should prices rise. Faced with that option, OPEC will likely opt to keep its target output at 30 million barrels per day (bpd). On Wednesday, Iraq’s Oil Minister said the country will increase oil exports this month, while his Iranian counterpart urged OPEC to make room for more output when global sanctions recede. [AFP, 6/4/2015]

Siemens signs 8 billion euro power deal with Egypt
German industrial company Siemens signed an 8 billion euro deal ($9 billion) with Egypt to supply gas and wind power plants to increase the country’s electricity generation by 50 percent. The deal, signed during an official visit of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Germany, is Siemens’ single biggest order and gives a needed boost to its struggling gas and power division. Siemens said the installations, when completed, would add 16.4 gigawatts (GW) to Egypt’s national grid. The order includes twenty-four Siemens’ H-Class gas turbines, adding to the forty-eight Siemens has sold so far. They will power three new gas plants, which Siemens said would be the largest in the world. Orascom Construction said it would construct two combined cycle plants in consortium with Siemens, with a total capacity of 9.6 GW. Orascom said its combined share of the contracts was 1.6 billion euros which would be financed by the Egyptian Electricity Holding Company. [Reuters, 6/3/2015]

Indian refiners in talks with Iraq on strategic reserves
India’s state-run Indian Oil Corp. and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. plan to buy crude from Iraq for strategic reserves and to use in times of crisis or oil supply disruptions. Hindustan Petroleum said it has been in touch with Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation (SOMO) to seek an allocation of two million barrels of crude oil in the coming month. The procurement comes after India’s oil ministry asked Hindustan Petroleum and Indian Oil to purchase four million barrels of Basra light crude oil on behalf of Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs). [Wall Street Journal, 6/4/2015]

World Bank preparing study on poverty in Tunisia
The World Bank is currently preparing a study on poverty in Tunisia that will be ready at the end of 2015, Resident Representative for Tunisia Eileen Murray said Wednesday. The study includes a diagnosis of the situation in Tunisia, including the country’s economic opportunities and challenges. It recommends maintaining macroeconomic balances, reviewing the stages of fuel subsidy reform, restructuring public banks, and developing public-private partnerships. Murray said the Bank is developing a strategy with Tunisia as the government prepares a five-year development plan for 2016-2020. [All Africa/TAP, 6/3/2015]

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