Gulf in the News – December 12, 2013

Foreign firms to design GCC train project

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

The Saudi Railway Organization (SRO) will issue tenders for the design of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) train project in the Kingdom in February. Mohammed Al-Suwaiket, president of the SRO, said that every individual GCC state would be responsible for the design and implementation of their part of the project. Al-Suwaiket was speaking recently on the sidelines of the fourth Saudi Arabia International Transportation, Materials Handling, Warehousing and Logistics Exhibition and Conference (Saudi TRANSTEC), at the Dhahran International Exhibitions Center in Dammam.

Kuwait spy chief worries about turmoil in Iraq

Source: Gulf News (Read full story)

Kuwait is anxious about instability in Iraq and disappointed at its neighbour’s failure to arrest a militia leader who said his group was behind a mortar attack on Saudi Arabia, a Kuwaiti intelligence chief said. Shaikh Thamer Al Sabah, President of Kuwait’s National Security Bureau intelligence service, said in a rare interview that his working relationships with his counterparts in Iraq, which occupied Kuwait in 1990-91, and Iran needed improvement. Kuwait, a small desert state sitting on 6 per cent of global oil reserves, is wedged uneasily between bigger regional powers Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia at the northern end of the Gulf.

Hagel Lifts Veil on Major Military Center in Qatar

Source: The New York Times (Read full story)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s visit to the advanced air operations center here this week was not just a stop at an important outpost of the United States military. It was also a major step forward for Pentagon transparency. The highly classified American facility, officially called the Combined Air and Space Operations Center, coordinated all of the attack and surveillance missions for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — and would be equally critical if an American president decided that only bombs and missiles could halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions. It hosts liaison officers from 30 allies in Europe and the Persian Gulf.

Royal Air Force joins UAE in major exercise

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

The exercise witnessed Advanced Typhoon fighter aircraft from the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Advanced Tactical Leadership Course (ATLC), led by the UAE Air Force’s Air Warfare Centre, said the British Embassy. The exercise aims to make sure the UAE and its allies can operate together effectively to support security in the Gulf. Following the exercise the commander of the RAF’s 83 Expeditionary Air Group praised the UAE’s ‘first-class’ training. “Six Typhoon FGR4 aircraft from 3(F) Squadron participated in this year’s ATLC along with a Sentry airborne early warning aircraft from 8 Squadron.

Rain water harvesting among key REF recommendations

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Riyadh Economic Forum (REF) concluded with key recommendations primarily suggesting to take the advantage of rain water in the Kingdom amounting to 150 billion cubic meters per year and import water from Sudan in accordance with the international conventions. Saad Al-Mujel, head of REF and deputy chairman of the board of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), patronized the closing session of REF, which wrapped up here Wednesday. The last-day of the forum discussed a study on water as a major economic resource; a prerequisite for sustainable development and enhancement of small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) role in the national economy.

Exploration deals inked

Source: Oman Daily Observer (Read full story)

The Ministry of Oil and Gas yesterday signed two new Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements (EPSA). The first one was with Total E&P Oman Petroleum BV for Block 41 that occupies an area of 23,850 sq km located in the Northern coast of the Sultanate.The second agreement was with Petrogas Kahil LLC for Block 55, which occupies an area of 7,564 sq km located in the Governorate of Al Wusta. The two agreements were signed by Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas, on behalf of the Sultanate’s Government and Arnaud Breuillac, president Middle East at Total E&P signed for Total E&P Oman Petroleum BV, while Usama Mohammed al Barwani signed for Petrogas Kahil LLC.