EconSource: Russia Plans Fuel Shipments to Syria from Crimea

Russia plans to supply Syria with 200,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) per year via the Crimean port of Kerch, two trading sources told Reuters. “There are talks about LPG to first be shipped to Kerch and then to Syria, about 200,000 tonnes per year,” one trader said. It was not immediately clear when fuel shipments would start. Sources said the LPG would initially be bought from Russia’s top petrochemical firm Sibur by state-connected traders, who would then ship it to Syria themselves. A spokesman for Sibur said the company had not and would not supply LPG to Syria and that it had not been in talks about LPG shipments to the country. [Reuters, 7/16/2015]

Iraq closes border to Jordan to deny ISIS access to funds
Iraq closed its border with Jordan until further notice, in part to deprive Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) militants of taxes they impose on cargo trucks driving through their territory, a senior Iraqi military official said Thursday. The closure dealt a new blow to Jordan’s fragile economy, which has suffered from the spillover of ISIS and grabs in neighboring Iraq and Syria. In the spring, Jordan closed its only trade crossing with Syria after Islamic militants seized the area from Syrian government forces. A spokesman for Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said on Thursday that authorities have closed the Trebil crossing until further notice, noting that ISIS has been imposing taxes on the goods crossing areas under its control. [New York Times, 7/17/2015]

UAE credit scoring service grows, lending impact still uncertain
Almost all Emirati banks are now using data from the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) credit bureau that was launched in 2014, its CEO said, a development that analysts believe should boost confidence in the banking system. It also helps to put the UAE on a par with most developed markets, which have long had fully-functioning credit bureaus. Some banks have accused others of dragging their heels in providing data to the bureau while others have complained about the bureau’s refusal to accept liability for the information it provides. In a country with an estimated average debt load of $95,000 per household and recent debt woes at several large companies, the government sees the bureau as a safeguard against a credit crisis. [Reuters, 7/16/2015]

Egypt says petroleum agreements worth $2.2 billion to be finalized soon
Nine petroleum agreements worth about $2.2 billion will be finalized soon, the Ministry of Petroleum said on Thursday. Minister of Petroleum Sherif Ismail said the agreements have been approved by the cabinet, in addition to new grants for oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean Sea, Suez, Delta and western desert areas. The nine agreements include an agreement with the Tunisian HBS international oil company for $9 million of investments in Egypt’s western desert and two agreements with the US Apache Corporation worth $70 million for exploration programs in the western desert and improvement of pipelines. Four agreements were also reached with the Italian oil company Eni. [Cairo Post, 7/17/2015]

Also of interest
Russia says to discuss oil markets, Iran with OPEC on July 30 | Reuters
First Iranian ship storing oil sails for Asia after nuclear deal | Reuters
Egypt’s market extends gains ahead of Eid holiday| Ahram Online
Egypt completes dredging for new waterway in Suez Canal | Ahram Online
Private Iraqi banks face liquidity crisis | Al Monitor