Gulf in the News – February 21, 2014

Iran boosts military support in Syria to bolster Assad

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Assad is now benefiting from the deployment by Tehran of hundreds more military specialists to Syria, according to Iranian sources familiar with deployments of military personnel, Syrian opposition sources, and security experts.

These include senior commanders from the elite Quds Force, the external and secretive arm of the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, as well as IRGC members.

Iran nuclear talks end, next round on March 17

Source: Khaleej Times (Read full story)

Iran and six world powers ended the opening round of nuclear talks on an upbeat note Thursday, with both sides saying they had agreed on a plan for further negotiations meant to produce a comprehensive deal to set limits on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

In a joint statement, they said the next round of negotiations would begin in Vienna on March. 17, continuing a process likely to take at least six months and probably longer.

GCC, China moving toward establishing free trade zone

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Referring to the strategic dialogue between China and the GCC countries that was held in Beijing recently, the ambassador said: “We are moving toward the establishment of a free trade zone between China and the GCC states since such a move will contribute to long-term development of economic relations between the two sides, particularly Saudi Arabia.”

Petrofac wins BP’s $1.2bn Oman gas processing facility contract

Source: Times of Oman (Read full story)

Petrofac, an international oil and gas service provider, has been awarded a $1.2 billion-engineering, procurement and construction contract by British oil giant BP for building the central processing facility (CPF) for the Khazzan gas project in north-central Oman.

The gas processing facility, which is part of an overall development plan of block 61, will have a capacity to process one billion cubic feet of natural gas per day, which is the anticipated production from gas-rich Khazzan and Makarem fields in the first phase, a top-level official at the Ministry of Oil and Gas earlier said.

War-hit Syrian children offered all-out support

Source: Arab News (Read full story)

Saudi Arabia will hold a day of solidarity on Tuesday Feb. 25 to help raise funds and improve international humanitarian aid for Syrian children living in abject conditions because of the civil war in their country.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has given instructions for the organization of the event. “The solidarity day has been declared by the king in response to the worsening conditions of thousands of Syrian children,” said Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif.

UAE continues to expand tourism projects

Source: Gulf Today (Read full story)

With a focus on sustainable growth in the GCC’s maritime industry, the Gulf Boating Conference is set to take place on March 5, 2014, during the 22nd Dubai International Boat Show, which runs from March 4-8, 2014 at Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi. Captain Toby Haws, Marina Manager of Emirates Palace Marina and organiser of the Gulf Boating Conference, said: “With Middle East boat ownership increasing across the board from small and medium-sized boats to the most luxurious superyachts, smaller, protected waterways that are currently being invested in and constructed, particularly in the UAE, are certainly going to further boost boat ownership in the region.