Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec) has completed the sale of its 10% working interest in two production licences (PLs) in Norway to Lime Petroleum. It said it had achieved record profits from its Norwegian assets in 2022, describing the sale as one of its most successful divestments.
Syrian foreign minister Faisal Mekdad travelled to Jeddah for talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, as part of a concerted attempt by Riyadh to move the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad back into the Arab mainstream. Prince Faisal then travelled to Damascus for talks with Assad, the first such trip by a Saudi foreign minister since 2011.
The recent flurry of senior appointments by Emirati President Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, including the naming of his brother Sheikh Mansour as federal vice president, highlights the extent to which Abu Dhabi controls all the main levers of power in the UAE – and its competition with Dubai for commercial, as well as political, dominance.
Kuwait's political turmoil has continued in the wake of the shock Constitutional Court ruling on 19 March that annulled last year's general election and reinstated the previous parliament. In a bid to move the situation forward, Crown Prince Mishaal has dissolved the newly-returned chamber and set the scene for yet another poll. The new cabinet announced in early April is likely to be in post for only a couple of months.
A leak of top secret US intelligence reports included allegations that UAE intelligence agents have been cooperating with their Russian counterparts to act against western interests. Abu Dhabi has denied there is any substance to these allegations, but they have come at a time of heightened concern in Washington about commercial and military ties between the UAE and Moscow.
In Kuwait, the court’s willingness to hold members of its ruling family to account has been revived, with a ten-year prison sentence handed to Sheikh Sabah Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, son of the former premier Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, for his role in a $1bn corruption case.
A fresh outbreak of violence in Sudan between the country’s two military strongmen, General Burhan and Hemedti, has shown the limits of UAE and Saudi influence, despite years of close involvement by the Gulf powers.
Iran’s education minister Yousef Nouri resigned and was replaced by Farhangian University president Reza Moradsahraei. Iranian media reports linked the move to an outcry over delayed salary payments to teachers, but it also comes amid a wave of alleged poisonings of schoolgirls around the country and ongoing protests against the country’s strict dress code.
Supreme Council for Health chairman Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa was named chairman of the Bahrain Red Crescent Society (BRCS). He is only the third person to take on the role since the BRCS was set up in 1970.
A property owned by Ahmed Bin Nasser Al-Mualla, a member of Umm Al-Quwain’s ruling family and owner of The Zoo Wildlife Park in the emirate, has been linked to questionable practices regarding lion and tiger cubs.
In the late March round of appointments Sheikh Hazza lost his long-held position as Abu Dhabi Executive Council (ADEC) deputy chairman but gained the position of deputy ruler. It is not clear what powers or duties this new role will have and some analysts suspect it will be largely ceremonial.
Government of Iraq in Baghdad and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil reached a new agreement on control of Kurdish oil exports on 1 April, days after the crude pipeline to Turkey was shuttered in response to an International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration ruling. However, many questions remain over both sides’ longer-term approach, as well as the attitude of Turkey and international oil companies to the new arrangements.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) has partnered with British major BP in a bid to buy 50% of Israel’s NewMed Energy, the largest shareholder in the Leviathan gas field offshore Israel. The deal was presented by the partners as a first step in a potentially broader eastern Mediterranean play.
In a so far unusual move against a Russian entity, the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) cancelled MTS Bank’s licence to operate in Abu Dhabi in late March, citing the "sanctions risks associated with the bank".
The population of Oman has broken through the 5m barrier, as the National Centre for Statistics and Information reported in March that the population had reached 5,000,772, made up of 2,881,313 Omanis and 2,119,459 resident expatriates.
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