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A contract signed in December has given the well-connected UAE company Primera Group the right to export and process much of Democratic Republic of Congo's artisanal gold, attracting scrutiny and criticism inside and outside the African country.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Budget balance: The government said it is aiming for a budget deficit of less than 1% of gross domestic product in 2024, which will bring it close to the target set out in the amended Fiscal Balance Programme of balancing its books that year. The government originally hoped to break even by 2022, but delayed that by two years during the Covid pandemic.

Bahrain
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IAEA report: Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has risen by over a quarter in three months, according to comments by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Rafael Mariano Grossi on 5 June. Grossi told a board of governors meeting in Vienna that “some progress” had been made on monitoring and verification. However, it was “not at the level, pace and sustained rhythm that I would expect.

Iran
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Saudi energy minister Prince Abdelaziz Bin Salman (ABS) has adopted a more prolix and confrontational tone than was often apparent in the many years he has spent as a rare senior Saudi royal energy official – although the 63-year-old official has long been known for having a sometimes-quirky nature.

Saudi Arabia
Issue 1171 - 09 June 2023

Opec sets out H2 23 framework

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The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its Opec+ allies agreed an agenda for H2 2023 at the cartel's 4 June ministerial meeting in Vienna.

Saudi Arabia
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Amid a waning consensus over strategy, the Opec+ meeting in Vienna in early June broke up with Saudi Arabia making a unilateral output cut of 1m b/d, reflecting Riyadh’s determination to shape market forces and bolster prices. The UAE was also handed a higher production quota, but several other members were left unhappy at an unwelcome squeeze on their future production.

Saudi Arabia | United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Russia is providing the bulk of Saudi diesel and fuel oil imports, as power generation and wider growth increase domestic demand according to recent industry reports. Saudi officials have argued this trade predates Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, but market data highlight the depth of bilateral relations.

Saudi Arabia
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has launched an ambitious project to develop a $17bn transport network linking the north and south of Iraq. The Development Road Initiative will start at the under-construction Grand Faw port in the south and travel northwards via 1,200km of rail lines and roads.

Iraq
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The United Nations launched the operation to recover some 1m barrels of oil from the stricken FSO Safer tanker off the coast of Yemen, but it says it is still some $29m short of its funding target to complete the operation.

Yemen
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Dubai-based Emirates group reported record results, with an 81% increase in revenues to AED119.8bn ($32.6bn) for the 12 months to end-March 2023 and a record annual profit of AED10.9bn. The airline contributed almost all of the group’s profits.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Saudi Aramco appointed Nasir Al-Naimi as president of its upstream business and Mohammed Al-Qahtani as president of its downstream activities, in a shake-up. Both men will report to group president and chief executive Amin Nasser once they assume their newly-created positions on 1 July.

Saudi Arabia
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Iraq has extended a contract to import Iranian gas by a further five years, following talks in Baghdad between Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani and visiting Iranian oil minister Javad Owji in May.

Iran | Iraq
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Algerian foreign affairs and national community abroad minister Ahmed Attaf arrived in the Saudi city of Jeddah on 15 May for bilateral talks and preparations for the planned League of Arab States summit, to be held on 19 May.

Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Aramco announced late April that a first shipment of low-carbon ammonia had arrived in Japan, where it will be used for power generation. The ammonia was produced by Sabic Agri-Nutrients, with feedstock from Aramco, and was sold to Fuji Oil Company for use at its Sodegaura refinery in Chiba, east of Tokyo.

Saudi Arabia
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Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (Nedaja) forces took control of the Marshall Islands-registered tanker Advantage Sweet in the Gulf of Oman late April, while it was sailing from Kuwait to Houston, Texas.

Iran