EconSource: Saudi Arabia to Discuss Broad Oil Cooperation Agreement with Russia

The oil ministers of Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to discuss a broad cooperation agreement today at an economic forum in St. Petersburg. One source said the agreement to be discussed between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi would not be about joint oil production or export strategy. Russia has stepped up contacts with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) after oil prices plunged last year, but it has dismissed any suggestion it might cut output to prop up prices. A spokeswoman for Russia’s energy ministry confirmed the meeting but declined to comment on the agenda. [Reuters, 6/18/2015]

Iraq’s oil exports hit record high so far in June
Iraq’s oil exports have averaged 3.20 million barrels per day (bpd) so far in June, setting shipments on course for a record high. Exports from Iraq’s southern terminals averaged 3.00 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first fifteen days of June, up from 2.69 million bpd in all of May. Shipments jumped after Iraq’s decision to split its crude oil stream into two grades to resolve quality issues. Some companies working at Iraqi oilfields have increased production following the move. Iraq is targeting a further increase in exports in 2015 to 3.3 million bpd, a level Iraqi officials say is within reach. [Reuters, 6/17/2015]

Is Egypt ready to take IMF pledges?
Egypt’s on-off talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may be back on again, as investors say IMF loans offer a stronger platform for reviving the economy than the Gulf money currently keeping it afloat. Even with signs of a recovery in tourism and investment, the gap between Egypt’s foreign currency receipts and needs may reach $15 billion a year by 2017, says Jason Tuvey, a London-based analyst at Capital Economics. While support from Gulf Arab countries is “keeping strains in its balance of payments contained,” it is “not a long-term solution,” he says. However, from the government’s point of view, there are drawbacks to IMF funding. [Bloomberg, 6/18/2015]

Tunisian campaign questions management of oil, resource wealth
A campaign with the slogan “Where is the oil?” has spread among Tunisian Facebook and Twitter users. The campaign claims that Tunisians are being cheated out of much of the wealth generated by the country’s oil and gas fields due to mismanagement and corruption. The campaign began building momentum on social networking sites last month. It is not clear who launched the campaign, but the rallying cry has tapped into a widespread sense of malaise. Many hard-pressed Tunisians are wondering why living standards still appear to be sliding, and fear that the cronyism and corruption that permeated the business world under former President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali is continuing. [The National, 6/18/2015]

Also of interest
Saudis said to discuss sweetening India oil deals with own ships | Bloomberg
Open Saudi market to have ‘huge impact’ on investor relations | Al Arabiya
Saudi Arabia’s unpaid debt (analysis) | Foreign Policy
Global aid hits record in 2014 aided by Gulf states but fails to meet needs | Reuters
Gulf markets narrowly mixed in thin Ramadan trade | Reuters
UAE’s Mubadala Petroleum starts output at oil field in Gulf of Thailand | Reuters
National Bank of Egypt approves $91 million finance for oil firm | Amwal Al Ghad
Egypt bought 5.3 million metric tons of local wheat by end of season | Reuters
Emaar Misr sets IPO price at 3.8 Egyptian pounds per share | Reuters
Egypt’s Suez Canal revenues fall for third consecutive month in May | Egypt Independent
Standard & Poor’s says political uncertainty could hurt Turkey’s growth | World Bulletin
Morocco’s trade balance improves 25.3 percent in second quarter of 2015 | Morocco World News