EconSource: Saudi Arabia, France Sign Billions in Ship, Plane Deals

Saudi Arabia and France agreed Wednesday to sign $12 billion of deals, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair said during a landmark visit by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to Paris. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the ten contracts include twenty-three Airbus H145 helicopters worth $500 million. Another $8 billion deal to supply the Kingdom with fifty Airbus passenger jets has also been confirmed. Fabius also reporters that France would begin a feasibility study to assess building two nuclear reactors in the Kingdom. The Saudi Defense Ministry also discussed the price of a contract for French naval patrol boats to enhance the capabilities of the Saudi coast guard. “Our ties [with France] are excellent, historic, and strategic,” al-Jubair said. “We are trying to take them even higher.” [AP, Reuters, Al Arabiya, Asharq al-Awsat, 6/24/2015]

Egypt’s EGAS to conduct Mediterranean’s largest seismic exploration project
Egypt’s state-owned gas company EGAS announced that it will carry out the largest seismic oil and gas exploration project in the Mediterranean, as it seeks data that could attract global exploration companies. EGAS said it has signed a deal with Norwegian seismic surveyor PGS to conduct two and three-dimensional scans in the western zone of Egypt’s territorial Mediterranean waters. It did not mention the value of the deal. According to EGAS, the deal is part of a plan to increase Egypt’s domestic production of natural gas by intensifying search and exploration operations and conducting international auctions in areas that have not previously been explored. [Reuters, 6/25/2015]

Oil exports from Iraqi Kurdistan slump again, BP cancels cargo shipments
British petroleum (BP) and Spain’s Cepsa have had to cancel loadings of Iraqi oil from the Turkish port of Ceyhan in yet another sign of problems affecting shipments as Kurdish and Iraqi arguments continue over exports and budget payments. Data showed on Wednesday that Kurdish and Iraqi crude was not flowing into Iraq’s state oil firm SOMO’s tanks for a tenth day running. Trading sources said that insufficient oil in SOMO’s tanks had led BP to cancel two cargo shipments and Cepsa to cancel one cargo shipment the companies had scheduled to receive at the end of this month. [Reuters, 6/24/2015]

Tripoli oil minister says key pipeline to reopen
Oil Minister in Libya’s Tripoli-based government Mashallah al-Zwai said an agreement was reached with local residents to reopen a blocked pipeline in western Libya that could help boost exports to 750,000 barrels per day (bpd). According to the Tripoli-based Libyan news agency LANA, the agreement aims to tackle fuel smuggling across Libya’s western borders by monitoring border crossings and petrol stations. Zwai said the agreement includes the reopening of a pipeline at Rayyaniya, a small town near Zintan in the Nafusa Mountains region. The reopening of the pipeline, which extends southwards to the Sharara and El Feel fields, could help increase crude production by 300,000 bpd, al-Zwai said. [Libya Monitor (subscription), 6/25/2015]

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