EconSource: Yemen’s Aden Oil Refinery Resumes Operations

Yemen’s 150,000 barrel per day Aden refinery resumed operations on Tuesday after being shut down for more than five months, according to an industry source at the refinery. “The refinery is back online and is refining crude it had in storage from before,” the source said, adding that the refinery is now operating at half of its processing capacity. The plant, in the southern port city of Aden, was closed in April. That month, the Aden Refinery Company declared force majeure on its oil imports and exports. [Reuters, 9/29/2015]

Iraq’s southern oil exports to see modest rise in 2016
Iraq’s southern oil exports will rise modestly to around 3.25 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2016, the head of the state owned South Oil Company (SOC) said, as the country struggles to boost production in the face of slumping crude prices. Shipments at the southern port of Basra were at 3.021 million bpd in August. SOC head Hayan Abdulghani Abdulzahra said export growth in 2016 would rely on production increases in fields operated by foreign firms and state owned companies. “This increase will be in stages,” Abdulzahra said, without providing more details. International firms such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Eni, and Lukoil operate in the southern oilfields under service contracts. Abdulzahra said the SOC had not yet received the firms’ budgets for 2016 but that it expects to during the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, foreign oil companies have said they see little chance of a rise in Iraqi production after a request from Baghdad to slash development spending. The government has less money to pay oil companies due to lower oil revenues. [Reuters, 9/28/2015]

Currency woes hinder Egypt’s economy
Egypt’s war against its foreign currency black market may have successfully dampened the illicit trade in dollars, but it has left many businesses struggling and is being blamed for contributing to the country’s economic slowdown. Small and medium-sized business owners complain that they are being strangled by a shortage of dollars and are unable to fund imports, while analysts say big companies are deferring expansion plans because of difficulties accessing foreign currency. Egypt’s central bank (CBE) has since been battling to slow the currency’s slide, and its measures have been partially effective. Although there is still a parallel market, it has been greatly reduced. Mohamed Abu Basha, an economist at EFG Hermes, acknowledged that “most big and priority list companies” were still able to access currency through the banks. But he added that the policy is “a constraint on new investment and businesses outside the priority list” and is one of the reasons behind a slowdown in growth. CBE Governor Hisham Ramez has said that the foreign currency crunch is mainly the result of one-off commitments and that there will be less pressure in 2016. [FT, 9/29/2015]

Eni could double Libya production, says CEO
Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Italian energy company Eni, said that the company remains committed to Libya despite political turmoil in the country and that new finds could potentially double its output in the country. “We have made many finds [in Libya] and could more than double our production. This would be good news for all of Europe,” Descalzi said at the Italian Energy Summit on Monday in Milan. He did not provide any details about potential new discoveries. “Our strategy for Libya won’t change: we have remained there and we’re still there producing gas for the domestic market,” he said. Descalzi also said he expects the price of crude oil to rise over the next two or three years, potentially reaching $90 per barrel. [Libya Monitor (subscription), 9/29/2015]

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