GULF IN REVIEW
21 - 26 July 2019
Kingdom of Bahrain
Tuesday, 23 July—Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Foreign Minister of Bahrain, received a phone call from the United Kingdom’s Minister of State for the Middle East at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Dr Andrew Murrison. During the discussion, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister reaffirmed Bahrain’s solidarity with the United Kingdom following Iran’s seizure of the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz and strongly condemned Tehran’s actions in the Gulf, which endanger the freedom of maritime navigation.
State of Kuwait
Wednesday, 24 July—Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, visited Kuwait to discuss the resumption of oil production in the Neutral Zone, located between the two countries, after the completion of all technical issues required. Prince Abdulaziz with his accompanying delegation was received by the Emir of Kuwait, Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, acting Minister of Amiri Diwan Affairs, Mohammed Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah, and Minister of Electricity and Water, Dr Khalid Ali Al-Fadel, to discuss the issue. The jointly operated oil fields in the 5,700 square kilometre large area have a capacity of producing 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Thursday, 25 July—Kuwait and Switzerland held fifth round of political consultations, aimed at enhancing bilateral relations and cooperation, in Bern. The meeting was co-chaired by Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Khaled Al-Jarallah, and the Swiss State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Pascale Baeriswyl. The two sides exchanged views on the latest regional developments and discussed the establishment of Kuwaiti-Swiss economic forum to boost trade and economic ties.
Friday, 26 July—The Kuwait Petroleum Spain, a subsidiary of the state-owned Kuwait Petroleum International (Q8), acquired additional 67 fuelling stations in Spain from the Saras Energia-Spain. The move allows the Q8 to consolidate its position in Spain by increasing the number of its fuelling stations to 77. After Spain, the Q8 reportedly eyes expansion in other parts of Europe, notably in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Northwestern Europe.
Sultanate of Oman
Thursday, 24 July—Oman received nearly $14 billion in demands for its marketed US dollars bonds. The Sultanate is expected to raise between $500 million and $1 billion with the long five-year bonds and between $2 billion and $2.5 billion with the 10 year bonds.
Friday, 25 July—Oman’s Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, Yusuf bin Alawi, is expected to meet with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammed Jawad Zarif, in Tehran on Saturday to discuss the recent regional developments and mediate the dispute between the United Kingdom and Iran over the seized oil tankers Grace 1 and Stena Impero.
State of Qatar
Wednesday, 24 July—Qatar’s Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, received Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, and his accompanying delegation, during their stopover on the way from an official visit to Washington, DC. During the meeting Pakistan and Qatar reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening their relations in various fields including trade, energy, investments, aviation and agriculture.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Sunday, 21 July—Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud approved the hosting of the United States’ Armed Forces in the Kingdom to contribute to regional security and stability. According to the reports, around 500 US forces, including Air Force personnel, and military equipment, such as fighter jets and Patriot missile defence systems, would be stationed at the Prince Sultan Air Base to provide an additional deterrent and strengthen capabilities to defend the Kingdom’s and US regional interests in light of the growing threats from Iran. The US troops should remain in the Kingdom as long as the tensions with Iran remain high.
Tuesday, 23 July—Following the Iranian seizure of British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday and the country’s threats to ‘enemy’ commercial ships, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet urged the international community to take joint action to counter the Iranian malign activities threatening the freedom of maritime navigation in the Gulf. It stated that ‘any disruption of the freedom of international maritime traffic is a violation of international law and the international community must do what is necessary to reject it and deter it.’
Thursday, 25 July—Saudi Aramco expects to complete the expansion of the East-West oil pipeline, which runs through the Kingdom, by September. The expansion will increase its shipping capacity by 2 million barrels of oil per day to 7 million bpd and allow the Kingdom to ship more oil from the Red Sea, while decreasing its reliance on exports from the Arabian Gulf and avoiding the Strait of Hormuz, which has become increasingly dangerous for commercial vessels amid the Iranian threats to the freedom of maritime navigation in the area.
United Arab Emirates
Tuesday, 23 July—Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces travelled to China, where he held talks with the country’s senior officials on trade and security cooperation. During the UAE-China Economic Forum, held in Beijing on the occasion of Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit, the UAE and China signed 16 agreements in various fields, including economy, energy and environment. It included collaboration agreements between the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Wanhua Chemical Group, notably on exploration of downstream sector opportunities in the UAE and China and establishment of a LPG Shipping Joint Venture, estimated to be worth $12 billion.
Tuesday, 23 July—UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, reaffirmed that despite the draw down and redeployment of the UAE troops in Yemen, the UAE will maintain military presence in the country, focusing on advising and assisting local forces to support the political solution to the conflict.
Thursday, 25 July—During the official visit of Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to Indonesia, the two countries’ firms signed economic agreements worth $9.7 billion. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Mubadala Investment Company signed cooperation with Indonesian firms in energy sector, notably on the construction of a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage in Indonesia and a new petrochemical plant in Java, while the UAE-based global port operator, DP World, inked two preliminary agreements for a container port and logistics project in East Java.