OPEC+ likely to extend supply curb deal: Oman energy minister

OPEC, Russia and other oil producer allies — a group known as OPEC+ — have since January implemented an agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020 in an attempt to boost prices. (AFP)
Updated 11 November 2019

OPEC+ likely to extend supply curb deal: Oman energy minister

  • OPEC, Russia and other oil producer allies have since January implemented an agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020
  • Oil demand is improving as trade tensions soften and Oman is satisfied with current oil prices

ABU DHABI: OPEC and non-OPEC producers will probably extend a deal to limit crude supply but are unlikely to deepen cuts, Oman’s energy minister said on Monday, as the United Arab Emirates said it was not worried about long-term oil demand growth.
The Organization of the Exporting Producing Countries, Russia and other oil producer allies — a group known as OPEC+ — have since January implemented an agreement to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day until March 2020 in an attempt to boost prices. The group meets in December.
“Extension probably, cuts I think unlikely unless things happen in the next couple of weeks,” the energy minister of non-OPEC Oman, Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhy, told reporters at an energy conference in the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi.
He said oil demand was improving as trade tensions soften and that Oman was satisfied with current oil prices, which fell more than 1 percent on Monday amid concerns over the prospects of a trade deal between the United States and China.
“All indications show things are getting better, the fear of recession, the signs of agreement between the US and China is positive,” Rumhy said.
Suhail Al-Mazrouei, the energy minister of the UAE, the third largest producer in OPEC after Saudi Arabia and Iraq, told the conference that oil demand growth was “reasonable.”
In its 2019 World Oil Outlook, the producer group said it would supply a diminishing amount of oil in the next five years as output of US shale and other rival sources expanded, despite a growing appetite for energy fed by global economic expansion.
“No one source or a group of sources will meet growth in demand,” OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo said in a panel discussion at the Abu Dhabi conference.
He said the oil industry would have to adapt to future changes in the energy mix as global population growth raises demand outlook.
Rising climate activism in the West and widening use of alternative fuels are putting the strength of long-term oil demand under more scrutiny.
“The greener forms of energy will have a higher pace of growth but conventional oil and gas will also grow. Gas will grow more as there is a demand for cleaner forms,” Mazrouei said.


A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

Updated 05 December 2019

A Jordan startup delivers eco-friendly alternative to dry cleaning

  • Products used by WashyWash are non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral
  • Amman-based laundry service aims to relocate to a larger facility in mid-2020

AMMAN: A persistent sinus problem prompted a Jordanian entrepreneur to launch an eco-friendly dry-cleaning service that could help end the widespread use of a dangerous chemical.

“Dry cleaning” is somewhat of a misnomer because it is not really dry. It is true that no water is involved in the process, but the main cleaning agent is perchloroethylene (PERC), a chemical that experts consider likely to cause cancer, as well as brain and nervous system damage.

Kamel Almani, 33, knew little of these dangers when he began suffering from sinus irritation while working as regional sales director at Eon Aligner, a medical equipment startup he co-founded.

The problem would disappear when he went on vacation, so he assumed it was stress related.

However, when Mazen Darwish, a chemical engineer, revealed he wanted to start an eco-laundry and warned about toxic chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning, Almani had an epiphany.

“He began to tell me how PERC affects the respiratory system, and I suddenly realized that it was the suits I wore for work — and which I would get dry cleaned — that were the cause of my sinus problems,” said Almani, co-founder of Amman-based WashyWash.

“That was the eureka moment. We immediately wanted to launch the business.”

WashyWash began operations in early 2018 with five staff, including the three co-founders: Almani, Darwish and Kayed Qunibi. The business now has 19 employees and became cash flow-positive in July this year.

“We’re very happy to achieve that in under two years,” Almani said.

The service uses EcoClean products that are certified as toxin-free, are biodegradable and cause no air, water or soil pollution.

Customers place orders through an app built in-house by the company’s technology team.

WashyWash collects customers’ dirty clothes, and cleans, irons and returns them. Services range from the standard wash-and-fold to specialized dry cleaning for garments and cleaning of carpets, curtains, duvets and leather goods.

“For wet cleaning, we use environmentally friendly detergents that are biodegradable, so the wastewater doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals,” Almani said.

For dry cleaning, WashyWash uses a modified hydrocarbon manufactured by Germany’s Seitz, whose product is non-carcinogenic and environmentally neutral.

A specialized company collects the waste and disposes of it safely.

The company has big ambitions, planning to expand its domestic operations and go international. Its Amman site can process about 1,000 items daily, but WashyWash will relocate to larger premises in mid-2020, which should treble its capacity.

“We’ve built a front-end app, a back-end system and a driver app along with a full facility management system. We plan to franchise that and have received interest from many countries,” Almani said.

“People visiting Amman used our service, loved it, and wanted an opportunity to launch in their countries.”

WashyWash has received financial backing from angel investors and is targeting major European cities initially.

“An eco-friendly, on-demand dry-cleaning app isn’t available worldwide, so good markets might be London, Paris or Frankfurt,” Almani said.

 

• The Middle East Exchange is one of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Global Initiatives that was launched to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai in the field of humanitarian
and global development, to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region. The initiative offers the press a series of articles on issues affecting Arab societies.