ENERGY RECAP: Iranian crude exports plummet

An Iranian flag flutters on board the Adrian Darya oil tanker, formerly known as Grace 1, off the coast of Gibraltar on August 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 25 August 2019

ENERGY RECAP: Iranian crude exports plummet

  • US President Donald Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that US economic growth may be faltering, yet we still see a bearish forward view on the market from OPEC and the International Energy Agency

Brent crude edged closer to the $60 (SR2225) barrier over the course of the week, finishing at $59.34 per barrel while WTI deteriorated slightly to $54.17 per barrel. Prices remain relatively stable on a week to week basis and continued to move in a narrow band.
Still, oil futures speculators were broad-based sellers last week as the uncertainty over the outlook for global economic growth and future demand continued to take its toll.
US crude oil inventories declined by 2.7 million barrels and the US rig count also slipped below 1,000 for first time since May 2017.
A second drone attack on a Saudi Arabian oil field within three months brought geopolitical risks back into focus, displacing recession worries and concerns about lower oil demand growth.
Even if concerns about an economic recession continued to weigh on crude prices, the US-China trade dispute has shown that this has not hurt demand as much as feared.
Instead, China has chalked up new record levels of oil imports every month.
US President Donald Trump and top White House officials dismissed concerns that US economic growth may be faltering, yet we still see a bearish forward view on the market from OPEC and the International Energy Agency.
That appears largely driven by the view held by some economists that a trade dispute could lead to a global recession that will lead to a drop in oil demand growth, The US Department of State said that sanctions caused Iranian crude exports to fall to about 100,000 bpd in July, down from roughly 2.5 million bpd a year earlier.
By zeroing out these oil exports, the US is disrupting about $50 billion in annual revenue to the Iranian regime. It is also unclear if these remaining barrels are condensate only, which is a kind of ultra-light crude oil that is produced from natural gas fields.

Faisal Faeq is an energy and oil marketing adviser. He was formerly with OPEC and Saudi Aramco. Twitter:@faisalfaeq


NMC Health’s new executive chair vows to recover misused funds

Updated 05 April 2020

NMC Health’s new executive chair vows to recover misused funds

  • London-listed NMC recently revised its debt position to $6.6 billion, much higher than earlier estimated
  • NMC’s stock has more than halved in value since December and trading in its shares was suspended in February

DUBAI: The new executive chairman of hospital operator NMC Health vowed on Saturday to work with authorities in Britain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to recover misused funds and called on the company’s creditors for a debt standstill.
Faisal Belhoul said in a statement that keeping NMC Health operating was a “national priority,” particularly as the country and the world battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Belhoul said putting the hospital operator into administration would “cause instability to the operating businesses of the NMC Group, creating additional pressure on the group’s liquidity and reducing value for all creditors.”
A temporary debt standstill, by contrast, would allow the firm to prepare and activate a recovery plan.
London-listed NMC recently revised its debt position to $6.6 billion, much higher than earlier estimated.
NMC’s stock has more than halved in value since December and trading in its shares was suspended in February. The decline was triggered by a report by short seller Muddy Waters that questioned the company’s financial statement.
Belhoul’s appointment was made after the company’s non-executive directors uncovered alleged theft and excess undisclosed borrowings by former directors of the company, the statement said.
Belhoul is a founder and chairman of Ithmar Capital Partners, which owns a 9% stake in NMC.
“We are working in full cooperation and in close dialogue with authorities in the UAE and UK, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and will vigorously chase down the perpetrators for return of these funds,” he said.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, one of more than 80 local, regional and international creditors, said last week it had over $981 million exposure to NMC Health.
NMC Health claims to be the largest private health care company in the UAE, operating more than 200 facilities, which includes hospitals, clinics and pharmacies.
“The NMC Group is currently treating hundreds of people suspected of having COVID-19 and in the UAE has screened more than 10,000 workers for the virus in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Prevention and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization,” the statement said.