The price rises  for both WTI and Brent are on track for sixth consecutive session of gains. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
The price rises for both WTI and Brent are on track for sixth consecutive session of gains. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Oil hits two-month high on tighter US market, Venezuela sanctions risk



Oil prices hit a two-month high on Monday, lifted by a tightening US crude market and the threat of sanctions against OPEC-member Venezuela.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, were at US$52.67 per barrel at 0247 GMT on Monday, up 15 cents or 0.3 per cent. Prices hit $52.76 per barrel earlier in the day, their highest since May 25.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 16 cents, or 0.3 per cent, at $49.87 per barrel, the highest since June 30.

The price rises put both crude benchmarks on track for sixth consecutive session of gains.

Oil prices have risen around 10 per cent since the last meeting of leading members by OPEC and other major producers, including Russia, when the group discussed potential measures to further tighten oil markets.

"A combination of factors seems to be driving the newly found optimism. US inventories are showing massive drawdowns, Saudi Arabia seems intent on playing its role as the world's swing producer (and) impending sanctions on Venezuela by the US will almost certainly be oil price supportive," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

The United States is considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela's vital oil sector in response to Sunday's election of a constitutional super-body that Washington has denounced as a "sham" vote.

But traders said the biggest price supporter was currently a tightening US oil market.

"Strong increases in the price of oil ... (were) fuelled in large part by the substantial draw-downs in US inventories over the past several weeks," said William O'Loughlin, investment analyst at Australia's Rivkin Securities.

"A continuation of this trend could indicate the oil market is rebalancing thanks to the production cuts by OPEC and Russia," he added.

After rising by more than 10 per cent since mid-2016, US oil production dipped by 0.2 per cent to 9.41 million barrels per day (bpd) in the week to July 21.

US crude inventories have fallen by 10 per cent from their March peaks to 483.4 million barrels. <

Drilling for new US production is also slowing, with just 10 rigs added in July, the fewest since May 2016.

The tighter market was also visible in the price curve, which shows backwardation in the front end.

Backwardation is a market condition in which prices for immediate delivery of a product are higher than those later on.

Brent prices for delivery in September are currently around 35 cents above those for October.

*Reuters

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat

Barbara J King, University of Chicago Press 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

The biog

Favourite car: Ferrari

Likes the colour: Black

Best movie: Avatar

Academic qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in media production from the Higher Colleges of Technology and diploma in production from the New York Film Academy

'Worse than a prison sentence'

Marie Byrne, a counsellor who volunteers at the UAE government's mental health crisis helpline, said the ordeal the crew had been through would take time to overcome.

“It was worse than a prison sentence, where at least someone can deal with a set amount of time incarcerated," she said.

“They were living in perpetual mystery as to how their futures would pan out, and what that would be.

“Because of coronavirus, the world is very different now to the one they left, that will also have an impact.

“It will not fully register until they are on dry land. Some have not seen their young children grow up while others will have to rebuild relationships.

“It will be a challenge mentally, and to find other work to support their families as they have been out of circulation for so long. Hopefully they will get the care they need when they get home.”

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

Dubai works towards better air quality by 2021

Dubai is on a mission to record good air quality for 90 per cent of the year – up from 86 per cent annually today – by 2021.

The municipality plans to have seven mobile air-monitoring stations by 2020 to capture more accurate data in hourly and daily trends of pollution.

These will be on the Palm Jumeirah, Al Qusais, Muhaisnah, Rashidiyah, Al Wasl, Al Quoz and Dubai Investment Park.

“It will allow real-time responding for emergency cases,” said Khaldoon Al Daraji, first environment safety officer at the municipality.

“We’re in a good position except for the cases that are out of our hands, such as sandstorms.

“Sandstorms are our main concern because the UAE is just a receiver.

“The hotspots are Iran, Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq, but we’re working hard with the region to reduce the cycle of sandstorm generation.”

Mr Al Daraji said monitoring as it stood covered 47 per cent of Dubai.

There are 12 fixed stations in the emirate, but Dubai also receives information from monitors belonging to other entities.

“There are 25 stations in total,” Mr Al Daraji said.

“We added new technology and equipment used for the first time for the detection of heavy metals.

“A hundred parameters can be detected but we want to expand it to make sure that the data captured can allow a baseline study in some areas to ensure they are well positioned.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

The specs: 2018 Nissan Patrol Nismo

Price: base / as tested: Dh382,000

Engine: 5.6-litre V8

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 428hp @ 5,800rpm

Torque: 560Nm @ 3,600rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.7L / 100km

Race card

6.30pm: Handicap (TB) $68,000 (Dirt) 1,200m

7.05pm: Meydan Cup – Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (Turf) 2,810m

7.40pm: UAE 2000 Guineas – Group 3 (TB) $125,000 (D) 1,600m

8.15pm: Firebreak Stakes – Group 3 (TB) $130,000 (D) 1,600m

9.50pm: Meydan Classic – Conditions (TB) $$50,000 (T) 1,400m

9.25pm: Dubai Sprint – Listed Handicap (TB) $88,000 (T) 1,200m

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Last 10 NBA champions

2017: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-1
2016: Cleveland bt Golden State 4-3
2015: Golden State bt Cleveland 4-2
2014: San Antonio bt Miami 4-1
2013: Miami bt San Antonio 4-3
2012: Miami bt Oklahoma City 4-1
2011: Dallas bt Miami 4-2
2010: Los Angeles Lakers bt Boston 4-3
2009: Los Angeles Lakers bt Orlando 4-1
2008: Boston bt Los Angeles Lakers 4-2

2018 ICC World Twenty20 Asian Western Regional Qualifier

Saturday results
Qatar beat Kuwait by 26 runs
Bahrain beat Maldives by six wickets
UAE beat Saudi Arabia by seven wickets

Monday fixtures
Maldives v Qatar
Saudi Arabia v Kuwait
Bahrain v UAE

* The top three teams progress to the Asia Qualifier

It's up to you to go green

Nils El Accad, chief executive and owner of Organic Foods and Café, says going green is about “lifestyle and attitude” rather than a “money change”; people need to plan ahead to fill water bottles in advance and take their own bags to the supermarket, he says.

“People always want someone else to do the work; it doesn’t work like that,” he adds. “The first step: you have to consciously make that decision and change.”

When he gets a takeaway, says Mr El Accad, he takes his own glass jars instead of accepting disposable aluminium containers, paper napkins and plastic tubs, cutlery and bags from restaurants.

He also plants his own crops and herbs at home and at the Sheikh Zayed store, from basil and rosemary to beans, squashes and papayas. “If you’re going to water anything, better it be tomatoes and cucumbers, something edible, than grass,” he says.

“All this throwaway plastic - cups, bottles, forks - has to go first,” says Mr El Accad, who has banned all disposable straws, whether plastic or even paper, from the café chain.

One of the latest changes he has implemented at his stores is to offer refills of liquid laundry detergent, to save plastic. The two brands Organic Foods stocks, Organic Larder and Sonnett, are both “triple-certified - you could eat the product”.  

The Organic Larder detergent will soon be delivered in 200-litre metal oil drums before being decanted into 20-litre containers in-store.

Customers can refill their bottles at least 30 times before they start to degrade, he says. Organic Larder costs Dh35.75 for one litre and Dh62 for 2.75 litres and refills will cost 15 to 20 per cent less, Mr El Accad says.

But while there are savings to be had, going green tends to come with upfront costs and extra work and planning. Are we ready to refill bottles rather than throw them away? “You have to change,” says Mr El Accad. “I can only make it available.”

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver review

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein, Sir Anthony Hopkins
Rating: 2/5


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