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Despite international criticism of its nuclear power programme – which critics allege is a cover for developing atomic weapons – the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran is pushing ahead with plans to develop 20GW of nuclear generating capacity by 2041.

Iran
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The Saudi government has told Saudi Aramco to scrap a plan to increase its maximum production capacity to 13m b/d, as first announced in March 2020. It is not clear how much progress Aramco had made in pursuing the goal.

Saudi Arabia
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UAE state minister for foreign affairs Sheikh Shakhbut Bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan has been on another African tour in January, visiting the capitals of Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, as well as Angola’s Cabinda province, as the UAE look to continue recent momentum for investments and wider engagement in Africa.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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The US and UK have announced sanctions on four senior Houthi figures linked to the campaign against commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. GSN’s latest map of the Yemen/Red Sea conflict zone shows a conflict zone where more than 30 ships have been targeted by Houthi missiles and drones since mid-November, forcing hundreds more vessels to divert around the southern tip of Africa – adding costs and delays to global trade.

Yemen
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In a rare inward investment into Yemen, Oman’s Salalah Mills is paying $6.5m for a 50% stake in a grain mills and silos business in Mukalla, Hadhramaut government, which it will run with an unnamed Yemeni partner.

Yemen | Oman
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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is aiming to use its $23bn decarbonisation budget to develop its domestic and international carbon management platforms, following a wave of deal-making in December and January aimed at bolstering bolster the UAE’S energy transition credentials.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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US major ExxonMobil has sold its interests in the West Qurna-1 oil field to the state-owned Basra Oil Company and Indonesia’s Pertamina, leaving China National Petroleum Corporation’s PetroChina arm as the biggest shareholder in this once widely-coveted asset.

Iraq
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A five-year contract for Bahrain Steel to supply Emirates Steel Arkan with iron ore pellets appears to be motivated by both commercial and geopolitical considerations, with the Abu Dhabi government-owned steel-maker saying it was designed to “strengthen economic ties within the GCC”.

Bahrain | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Sharjah is looking to upgrade its infrastructure and increase capacity at its airport with a record budget worth $11bn announced for 2024. The independently-minded emirate has stood out among its UAE peers in its attitude to the Israel-Palestine conflict and much else.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company has made three cross-border acquisition deals, as it seeks to better position itself for the global transition away from hydrocarbons, taking stakes in fertiliser and ammonia producer Fertiglobe, German chemical company Covestro and carbon capture and storage company Storegga.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Slowing economic growth: The economy posted year-on-year growth of 2.5% in Q3 2023, according to data released by the Information and eGovernment Authority on 26 December. The expansion was led by the non-oil sector, which grew by 4.5%, offsetting a 6.8% decline in the oil sector. 

Bahrain
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The Saudi government said its non-oil mineral resources are now thought to be worth some $2.5trn, based on recent discoveries and rising demand for rare earth elements. It is following the UAE’s lead in looking to strike deals with African mineral producers such as Democratic Republic of Congo.

Saudi Arabia
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In a noticeable uptick in President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s recent overseas travel, MBZ has gone to Azerbaijan and India to cement commercial ties, in his first visit to another Brics member since the UAE joined the big emerging economies’ club at the start of the year.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Energy has announced a discovery from its first deep-water well, saying the find could ‘de-risk multi-trillion cubic feet’ of gas resources in the Indonesian permit.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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A United States-led taskforce has been launched to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea, after Houthi rebels launched more than 100 drone and ballistic missile attacks over the past month. However, most Gulf countries have declined to join, with just Bahrain signing up to date.

Yemen | Bahrain