Gulf in the News – October 15, 2013

Kingdom to use shale gas for electricity generation

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Saudi Arabia is preparing to be among the first countries outside North America to use shale gas for power generation and thereby save more of its crude oil for lucrative exports. Inspired by a shale gas boom in the US, which has transformed the country from the world’s largest gas importer to a budding exporter, Riyadh plans to take its first steps to commercialize its own large unconventional deposits. “We are ready to start producing our own shale gas and unconventional resources in various types in the next few years and deliver them to consumers,” Saudi Aramco CEO Khalid Al-Falih said at the World Energy Congress in South Korea.

Qatar rail and transport projects at $30bn, 2nd largest in Gulf

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Qatar is the second largest rail and transport projects market in terms of current development in the Gulf region with rail, metro, tram and BRT projects in the country valued at more than $30bn, a new report has shown. These projects are scheduled to be finished by 2020, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Finals, Meed has said in a report. The GCC (Gulf Co-operation Council) region now accounts for more than 50 rail and transport projects worth $140bn, it said. Saudi Arabia has the greatest potential with projects worth $50bn due to be completed by 2025, the report said. The third biggest rail market is the UAE, where $27bn worth of projects is due for completion by 2030.

Energy policy will allow UAE to meet demand pressures

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The UAE’s Undersecretary of Energy, Dr Matar Al Niyadi, said the country is a leader in energy diversification and that its robust and diverse energy policy would ensure the country remains attractive for foreign investment and continues to support future economic development. The remarks were made during a high-level panel held at the World Energy Congress, or WEC, in Daegu, South Korea. Alongside a panel entitled “Transition a country in a decade”, Dr Al Niyadi said the UAE’s innovative energy policy rests on four pillars — diversification, conservation and efficiency, security of supply and managing talent in the industry. This approach is geared towards mitigating risk to energy security, future economic prosperity and climate change.

MPs slam Amnesty for questioning gay ban – Call for response from ministry

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Several MPs criticized Amnesty International who recently demanded that Kuwait drop announced plans to propose new measures to bar homosexuals from coming to Arab Gulf states. In statements made Sunday, the lawmakers demanded a response from the Foreign Ministry “with strong language” and threatened to hold them accountable otherwise. “The decision to ban entrance of homosexuals is sovereign and one that the Amnesty International has no right to interfere with”, MP Abdurrahman Al-Jeeran said. He further called upon the organization to “pay attention to the noble goals it was established for and put aside defending deviants and human garbage”. Furthermore, the same lawmaker urged the organization to “focus attention on the increasing rates of childbirth out of wedlock, abortion, teen pregnancies and other moral crimes in Europe”.

Aramco embarks on ‘massive’ spending to keep output buffer

Source: Saudi Gazette (Read full story)

Saudi Arabian Oil Co. (Saudi Aramco) is making “massive investments” as it seeks a production buffer to guard against swings in global oil prices while addressing a decline in output from its older fields. “As part of our drive to become the world’s most integrated energy company, we have increased our annual capital budget tenfold from $4 to $40 billion in the last 10 years,” its Chief Executive Khalid Al-Falih told the 22nd World Energy Congress on Monday in Daegu, about 300 kilometers southeast of South Korea’s capital. In the past two years, the company has increased production by more than 1.5 million barrels a day in order to address market supply imbalances and it continues “to make massive investments to maintain the world’s largest spare oil- production capacity of more than two million barrels per day,” he said.

Bahrain riot police break up protest

Source: Al Jazeera (Read full story)

Anti-riot police in Bahrain used buckshot, sound grenades and tear gas to disperse hundreds of Shia protesters trying to march on an iconic square in capital Manama, witnesses said. Demonstrators were trying to reach the Pearl Roundabout on Saturday after the funeral of a detainee who died in hospital in Manama a day earlier. The witnesses said several protesters were injured when the security forces intervened, although they were not able to give any specific number. The Pearl Roundabout was the center of Bahrain’s uprising against the ruling al-Khalifa family. Bahraini Shia continue to demonstrate in villages outside the capital and frequently clash with police. The roundabout has since been removed and destroyed.