OPEC says quick Saudi response was key to curbing volatility

OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said an extraordinary meeting of OPEC members and fellow oil exporters was not on the cards. (Reuters)
Updated 26 September 2019

OPEC says quick Saudi response was key to curbing volatility

  • Oil markets remain focused on outcome of US-China talks

NUR-SULTAN: Saudi Arabia’s quick moves to restore output have been crucial in curbing oil price volatility after the global market had been shaken up following the attacks on some of its facilities, OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Barkindo said on Thursday.

Barkindo told an energy conference in Kazakhstan that an extraordinary meeting of OPEC members and fellow oil exporters was not on the cards as Saudi Arabia has restored the bulk of its supply and the incident was “behind us.”

The group remains focused on maintaining oil price stability and “will do whatever it takes to insulate oil from politics,” he said.

Barkindo also said OPEC expected robust long-term growth in oil demand, especially from developing nations.

Speaking about shorter-term risks, he said the oil market was focusing on the outcome of the trade talks between the US and China.

Overall, while global economic growth figures indicated deceleration, they were not “worrisome” and indicated no signs of recession, Barkindo said. 

Separately, recent attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities are unlikely to have a major immediate impact on the supply of liquefied natural gas, a senior official at the International Energy Agency (IEA) said at a press briefing on Thursday.

But if the security situation worsens in the Middle East, in particular in the Strait of Hormuz, then it may hit LNG supply from Qatar and the UAE, said Keisuke Sadamori, director of IEA’S Energy Markets and Security division.

The share of Qatar and UAE in global trade is about one quarter, he said.

“We hope that the Middle East situation will maintain stability so that there will be no disruptions,” he added.

Recent attacks on oil and fuel tankers in the waters near the strait and Iran’s threats to close the strait has caused concerns about energy supply.


Saudi Arabia must plan carefully for ‘super cities,’ says strategist

Updated 51 min 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia must plan carefully for ‘super cities,’ says strategist

  • Author and global strategist Parag Khanna held up Dubai as an example of a city that was making major progress in the drive to ”smart status”
  • In his recent book “Connectography,” he said that research by consultants McKinsey found that the minimum size for a “super city” was 4 million inhabitants

BEIJING: Saudi Arabia has the potential to develop “super cities” in the Kingdom, but must pay careful attention to the economic fundamentals behind such projects, according to global strategist and author Parag Khanna.

Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Beijing, Khanna told Arab News: “When you are building a city from scratch, you have to be certain of the plan. What is the economic master plan? How self-sustaining will the city be? What will people living there do for a living?”

The Kingdom is planning the mega-city NEOM on the northwest coast, as well as several other developments, under the Vision 2030 strategy to transform the economy.

Khanna, author of the recent book “Connectography,” said that research by consultants McKinsey found that the minimum size for a “super city” was 4 million inhabitants. In Saudi Arabia, only Riyadh had surpassed that figure in a single conurbation.

“The way to make up the difference is to create “smart” cities that will increase connectivity and living standards,” Khanna said. He held up Dubai as an example of a city that was making major progress in the drive to ”smart status,” adding “for the first time in a long time, other Arab cities are looking at another Arab city as a model of the kind of city they would like to live in, rather than a city outside the Arab world.”

Khanna said that he did not know enough about plans for NEOM and other Saudi projects to know whether they would be successful in reaching “super city” status. “I’d have to kick the tires,” he said, pointing to developments along the Red Sea coast like the King Abdullah Economic City and the regeneration of Riyadh as other potentially successful urban projects. 

Super cities are conurbations that drive economic growth and improvement in living standards. “Urbanization has been the single greatest factor in improving the human condition,” Khanna said.

The Arab world and South America have historically been urban dominated, but the drive to city building recently has gathered pace in China and India.