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Announcing job losses and investment cutbacks, many of Big Oil’s flagship companies have been making dramatic announcements of changes in strategic direction. This is most marked among European majors BP, Eni, Royal Dutch Shell and Total, if not by their US peers ExxonMobil and Chevron Corporation; it suggests that many industry leaders now see their futures as diversified energy companies, rather than old-style international oil companies (IOCs).

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The impact of Bahrain’s Abraham Accord seems to be of a much lower order than the UAE’s relations with Israel, but details have emerged of ties that were, until now, unacknowledged. Israeli military censors have now allowed papers to publish details of the covert diplomatic mission Israel appears to have maintained in Bahrain since at least 2009.

Bahrain
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Abu Dhabi-based Palestinian leader Mohammed Dahlan is back in the headlines, as the former Gazan Fatah heavyweight has to face down accusations of orchestrating the controversial UAE-Israel diplomatic agreement. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed (MBZ)’s long-time confidante, Dahlan is viewed by some as a potential successor to the ailing 85-year old Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) – despite opposition within the establishment.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) | Palestine
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Saudi ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid Bin Bandar held a meeting on 26 October with a panel of three MPs investigating the detention of former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef (MBN) and Prince Ahmed Bin Abdelaziz.

Saudi Arabia
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Petroleum Development of Oman has awarded more than $1bn-worth of drilling and other services contracts to Gulf Energy, a local subsidiary of US-based oilfield services provider National Energy Services Reunited. The contracts are for up to nine years. In Oman’s energy sector downturn, crude production fell by 7.5% January-August, according to National Centre for Statistics and Information data.

Oman
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Sharjah-based Dana Gas is due to repay a controversial sukuk at the end of October, following the sale of its Egyptian operations and the signing of a $90m bank loan. On 25 October, Dana Gas announced it was selling its interests in the El Manzala, West El Manzala, West El Qantara and North El Salhiya onshore concessions to IPR Wastani Petroleum, a subsidiary of Texas-based IPR Energy Group, for up to $236m. Of that, $153m will be paid up-front and the rest is contingent on crude prices and production levels in the period to 2023.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s government is under extreme economic, as well as political, pressure, led by the demands of maintaining bloated state sector budgets, which are central to Iraq’s political patronage machine; current spending has inflated to some $6bn-7bn/month to keep ministries operating and pay government salaries and pensions. This is far more than revenues will provide, as recognised by a borrowing law which would allow the government to draw $3bn/month from Central Bank of Iraq (CBI) reserves.

Iraq
Issue 1113 - 29 October 2020

UAE/Dubai: New stimulus package

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Dubai Crown Prince and Executive Council of Dubai chairman Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum announced a Dh500m ($136m) economic stimulus package on 24 October, in the authorities’ latest efforts to short up the emirate’s economy.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)
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With many Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries now starting to ease restrictions imposed to counter the spread of coronavirus, GSN has carried out an analysis of the number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths attributable to the disease across the region. While some governments appear to be getting the virus under control, at least to some degree, an analysis of data collated by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control suggests other countries remain firmly in the grip of a healthcare crisis.

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Questions about the health of the elderly rulers of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have become central issues in recent days, in the wake of both men being hospitalised and undergoing surgery. Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah is expected to spend some time recuperating in the United States, at the very least slowing down his important role as a regional peacemaker

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The death of Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al- Sabah in the early hours of 29 September marked the end of an era for Kuwait and the wider region. Born in 1929, the 91-year-old was Kuwait’s 15th emir and ruled for over 14 years, since January 2006.

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After almost two months of protests in which more than 400 people are thought to have been killed and another 15,000 injured, Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi accepted reality, announcing on 29 November that he would step down. His resignation was accepted by the Council of Representatives (parliament) on 1 December, but Abdel-Mahdi and his cabinet will stay on until a new administration is formed.

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The relationship between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and UAE Armed Forces deputy supreme commander Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (MBZ) and Dubai Ruler, federal Vice President and prime minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (MBR) is inevitably complex, with many of its working parts hidden from public view and shielded by a cloak of lèse-majesté. Ties that have bonded the two leaders in creating in the emirates a global pole of commercial achievement and influence have long played a positive role in the region.

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Sultan Qaboos (b. 18 November 1940) comes from the Al- Busaidi dynasty, which was founded in the mid-18th century when Ahmed Al-Busaidi succeeded in expelling Persian forces from Muscat and the Omani coast, and proclaimed himself imam. This Al-Said was published in November 2018. It includes  brief background notes focused on the system in place to transact the succession after Sultan Qaboos.

Oman
Issue 1000 - 18 September 2015

Sharjah’s Al-Qasimi take on a mix of roles

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The Al-Qasimi family has old origins, especially compared to some of the region’s younger ruling families. They are part of the Qawasim tribe, a leading sub-section of the widespread Sunni Huwalah. The Huwalah migrated between Persia and Arabia, and produced other well-known families, such as the famous Qatari merchants the Darwish. Members of the Qawasim are a key base of support for the Al-Qasimi.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)