Gulf in the News – December 17, 2013

Saudi Arabia will go it alone

Source: New York Times (Read full story)

Saudi Arabia has been friends with our Western partners for decades; for some, like the United Kingdom where I [Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud] serve as ambassador, for almost a century. These are strategic alliances that benefit us both. Recently, these relationships have been tested — principally because of differences over Iran and Syria. We believe that many of the West’s policies on both Iran and Syria risk the stability and security of the Middle East. This is a dangerous gamble, about which we cannot remain silent, and will not stand idly by.  … While international efforts have been taken to remove the weapons of mass destruction used by the murderous regime of Bashar al-Assad, surely the West must see that the regime itself remains the greatest weapon of mass destruction of all?

Amnesty accuses Bahrain of torturing detained children

Source: The Peninsula (Read full story)

Amnesty International accused Bahrain yesterday of torturing children who have been arrested on suspicion of participating in Shia anti-government protests. “Children are being routinely detained, ill-treated and tortured in Bahrain,” the rights watchdog said. It claimed that scores of children, including some as young as 13, “were blindfolded, beaten and tortured in detention over the past two years.”  “By rounding up suspected under-age offenders and locking them up, Bahrain’s authorities are displaying an appalling disregard for its international human rights obligations,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.  The group said at least 110 children aged between 16 and 18 are held at the Dry Dock Prison, an adult facility, pending investigation or trial, over taking part in protests against the ruling Sunni Al Khalifa dynasty.

Kuwait,Iraq ink deals on investments, navigation – Arrest warrants issued for those who fired mortars: Iraqi FM

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah said the agreements come to culminate improving relations between the two countries which have seen important developments in the past few years that included exiting Iraq from Chapter 7 of the United Nations Security Council. Two agreements were signed to encourage and protect investments between the two countries, while the third agreement was for regulating maritime navigation in Khor (estuary) Abdullah. … Zebari said that Baghdad has issued warrants to arrest those who fired mortars into Saudi territory close to Kuwait, adding that they are “outlaws and wanted people”. He however did not identify the group behind the attack.

Dubai to be ‘most sustainable city’ by 2020

Source: Kuwait Times (Read full story)

Mohamed Noor Mashroom, Director of General Projects Department, said, “We strictly implement green building rules in our all new projects and take necessary steps gradually to change the old systems to energy saving systems.  Currently the areas under the responsibility of DM include street lighting, roadway lighting, parks, community facilities, parking lots, city landscaping, residential and commercial buildings, pedestrian and bicycling pathways.”  “Through solar powered lighting, the civic body aims to provide a safe and secure environment at night, extend the use of parks and walkways into the night, enhance historical and notable features, enhance travel on the roads and at intersections,’ he explained. 

Qatar upgrades ’13 growth forecast to 6%

Source: Gulf Times (Read full story)

Qatar’s economy is slated to grow 6% this year, higher than the earlier 5.3% estimate, on “unforeseen” gains in gas production. But the growth will moderate to 4.6% in 2014, according to revised official estimates.  Higher gas output will more than offset by the slight fall in oil production in 2013, according to a Qatar Economic Outlook 2013-14 update released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics yesterday. Nominal GDP (gross domestic product) is likely to moderate in 2013 and 2014, in line with slower pace of volume expansion and expected slippage in hydrocarbon prices, it said, noting that average global gas prices are expected to soften in 2014.

BP wins green light for Oman shale gas project

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

BP has signed 30-year gas production sharing and sales deals to develop Oman’s Khazzan tight gas project at an estimated investment of $16 billion, the UK energy giant and Omani government announced on Monday.
The Khazzan gas project, which aims to extract around one billion cubic feet (bcf) per day of gas from deep under central Oman, is a showcase for BP’s tight gas extraction technology and its success is vital for Oman’s economy.  “Today’s signing is an important step in the Sultanate of Oman’s plans to meet growing demand for energy over the coming decades and to contribute to economic development in Oman,” Oman oil and gas minister, Mohammed Al-Rumhy, said in a statement after the signing in Muscat.