EconSource: Tunisia Prepares to Issue Islamic Bonds; Government Drafts Five Year Development Plan

Tunisian firms are preparing to issue Islamic bonds as the government finalizes rules covering the sector. The bonds will create a new funding option for companies in an economy buffeted by labor unrest and militant attacks. Islamic finance accounts for only 2.5 percent of Tunisia’s financial sector. Tunisia’s government has been seeking ways to develop the industry, partly as a way to gain access to sharia-compliant capital in the Gulf. Tunisia’s first Islamic lender, Banque Zitouna, plans to open one hundred branches over the next five years. Tunisia’s Secretary of State in charge of international cooperation Amel Azzouz added that the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank Group is assisting in the establishment of an Islamic microfinance institution in Tunisia. Tunisia’s Minister of Development, Investment, and International Cooperation Yassine Brahim said the government has begun drafting a five year economic development plan for 2016-2020. [Reuters, 8/3/2015]

BW Gas to provide Egypt with floating LNG terminal
Norwegian gas shipping company BW Gas will provide Egypt with a liquefied natural gas (LNG) floating import terminal under a five year contract. The deal is worth about $60 million per year, according to Oil Minister Sherif Ismail. Egypt’s first floating terminal, which was provided by Norway’s Hoegh LNG, arrived in Egypt in April, allowing the country to begin LNG imports. The new terminal will have a capacity of 750 million cubic feet per day and will start pumping gas into the national grid in mid-October. The Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) is also in talks over importing additional LNG cargoes with Russia’s Gazprom and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach. Egypt’s planning ministry said the country expects to import 28.6 million tonnes of crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and other oil products worth a total of almost $16 billion in 2015-16. [Reuters, 8/3/2015]

Iraqi Kurdistan says to share crude sale revenue with producers
Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said on Monday it plans to allocate a portion of its revenue from direct crude oil sales to producing international oil companies starting in September. The region’s natural resources ministry said in a statement that it remained determined to build on a 2015 budget deal with Baghdad and would continue to facilitate oil exports from state-operated fields in Kirkuk via a pipeline network to Turkey. Iraq’s southern oil exports rose in July to a record average of 3.064 million barrels per day (bpd) from 3.02 million in June, officials said. [Reuters, 8/3/2015]

Algeria boosts oil output by 32,000 bpd with two new fields
Algeria has increased crude oil output by 32,000 barrels per day (bpd) after starting production at two fields, according to an energy ministry official. Production increased on Saturday when the Bir Sebaa field started producing 20,000 bpd in addition to 12,000 bpd from the Bir Msana field. Algeria produced an average 1.1 million bpd in July. State energy firm Sonatrach has said it would stick to a plan to invest $90 billion over the next five years despite a crude oil price slump on global markets. [Reuters, 8/2/2015]

Iran to stop cash handouts to wealthy
Iran has said it will stop giving cash handouts to 1 million of its wealthiest citizens in order to ease a budget crisis caused in part by plunging oil prices and sanctions. State TV quoted Ali Rabiei, Labor and Social Welfare Minister, as saying that the new cuts will be implemented by August 22. A million people have already been removed from the rolls. The cuts are expected to save the government an estimated $30 million a month. In addition, Iran expects to raise oil output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) as soon as sanctions are lifted, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said. [AP, 8/3/2015]

Also of interest
Saudi stocks fall as oil prices hit six month lows | Reuters
Gulf stocks may remain under pressure as oil hits fresh lows | Reuters
ENOC secures support for Dragon Oil takeover with improved offer | Reuters
Yemen currency plunges after decision to shut down port | Al Arabiya
Bahrain targets 35 percent SME contribution to GDP by 2018 | Zawya
Oman boosts oil production to record high in June | Reuters
Libya’s eastern power grid on edge of collapse | Libya Herald
Egypt says over 50 percent of conference promises turned into projects | Reuters
Egypt says Suez revenues to rise by 9 percent in current fiscal year | Ahram Online
Egypt economy grew 4.7 percent in first nine months of FY 2014/2015 | DNE
IMF completes review of economic program in Jordan | The National
EBRD sees record Turkey equity investment this year | Bloomberg
Slowing Turkey inflation may be temporary as food set to surge | Bloomberg
Sabotaged Iraq-Turkey pipeline to resume on Tuesday | Reuters