An LNG tanker in Russia's newly-unveiled Arctic gas project. Gulf LNG demand is likely to be met from increasing imports from the US and Russia. Courtesy Sovcomflot
An LNG tanker in Russia's newly-unveiled Arctic gas project. Gulf LNG demand is likely to be met from increasing imports from the US and Russia. Courtesy Sovcomflot

Middle East LNG demand forecast to dip as Egypt becomes self sufficient



Middle East imports of liquefied natural gas are set to decrease as Egypt becomes more self sufficient, but the Arabian Gulf region will need more of the fuel amid a gas deficiency in several states.

Egypt could become a net exporter of energy again as it ramps up production from the Zohr gasfield which started production last year.


The Middle East imported around 16.2 million tonnes (mmt) of LNG last year, roughly 2.1 mmt lower than 2016 levels, mainly due to domestic production offsetting the need for imports in Egypt, according to Facts Global Energy based in London.

“Ramping up gas production from Zohr and West Nile Delta gas projects will eliminate Egypt’s LNG requirements by latest in 2019,” said FGE senior consultant Siamak Adibi.

“[As a consequence] LNG imports into Middle East will decline to possibly 15.5 mmt in 2018 and 14 mmt in 2019,” he said.

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Read more:

US eyes opportunities to sell LNG to Saudi Arabia
UAE looks to increase US LNG imports
Saudi Arabia's gas hunt

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Already Kuwait and the UAE are the only two Gulf states currently importing LNG, but demand from other states will climb as LNG receiving terminals in Bahrain and Sharjah will open in 2019. Gas also forms part of a critical mix in the drive towards cleaner energy in the GCC. "Abu Dhabi and Dubai are diversifying their power mix," says Lucas Schmitt,  senior gas and LNG analyst at Wood Mackenzie. 

“With nuclear and coal-fired capacity under construction, we expect some displacement of gas in power from the 2020s. Renewables have also started to get greater momentum across the region.”

The UAE unveiled a five-year spending plan of US$109 billion, that will look to prioritise development of gas from its sour reservoirs, which contain high level of sulfur. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, also plans to double its gas production capacity over the next decade and awarded $4.5bn worth of contracts in November to boost production, particularly offshore. However, there still remains a deficit of 2 to 3 billion cubic feet a day of gas in the region, says Mr Adibi. And the only option to overcome any near-term shortfalls will remain through imports.

LNG imports into the Gulf states will recover from 6 mmt in 2017 to over 7 mmt in 2018, nearly 9 mmt by 2019, and over 10.5 mmt by 2020, according to FGE estimates.

“Post 2020, LNG imports into the Gulf countries will continue to increase, in line with more gas consumption for power generation,” said Mr Adibi.

However, with the ongoing crisis with Qatar, the world's largest LNG exporter and a major supplier of gas via pipeline to the UAE and Oman, the region's big consumers of the fuel are looking for other source markets for their gas needs. The demand is likely to be met from increasing imports from the United States and Russia, who have both lined up offers to supply to the Middle East, following a visit by the US energy secretary to the region and the Saudi energy minister's presence at the opening of Russia's arctic LNG facility in December.

The UAE has tapped US supplies since 2016, when it received cargoes from Houston-based Cheniere Energy, while Kuwait, which also faces a gas deficit, signed a 15-year contract with Anglo-Dutch major Shell last month to import the fuel.

While long-term contracts were the norm for the LNG industry, regional buyers now are more keen to buy from the spot market.

"Generally buyers are showing much less appetite for the sort of long-term contracts that used to dominate the LNG market, although multi-year supply deals are still common," says Richard Mallinson, analyst at consultancy Energy Aspects. "Supply tenders in the Middle East and elsewhere will often be won by trading houses or producers that have a portfolio of LNG from multiples sources, meaning the supply could come from various sources over the life of the contract."

With an estimated 350 million cft a day of gas set to come online from 2018 from Egypt’s offshore Zohr gasfield, the North African state, which enjoys warmer political ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, could look to supply to its regional neighbours.

Qatar, which is estimated to hold 13 per cent of the world's gas reserves according to the 2017 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, may face a challenging time in 2018 as it looks to secure new markets and contracts amid new supply from Australia hitting the market.

Australia could possibly overtake Qatar as the top LNG exporter this year as it aims to increase LNG exports by 16 per cent from mid-2018 to mid-2019 from new projects

The big East Asian consumers, Japan, South Korea and China are likely to absorb the extra volumes with market share remaining a challenge for Qatar, which last June outlined its plans to ramp up its gas production by 30 per cent over an unspecified timeline.

However, this additional supply is unlikely to enter the market anytime soon.

"Qatar’s plans are more long-term and will only see it significantly increase gas production and LNG exports in four to six years’ time," said Mr Mallinson.

The biog

DOB: March 13, 1987
Place of birth: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia but lived in Virginia in the US and raised in Lebanon
School: ACS in Lebanon
University: BSA in Graphic Design at the American University of Beirut
MSA in Design Entrepreneurship at the School of Visual Arts in New York City
Nationality: Lebanese
Status: Single
Favourite thing to do: I really enjoy cycling, I was a participant in Cycling for Gaza for the second time this year

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

The specs

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Transmission: 5-speed automatic and manual
Power: 280 brake horsepower
Torque: 451Nm
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The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
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Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Champion v Champion (PFL v Bellator)

Heavyweight: Renan Ferreira v Ryan Bader
Middleweight: Impa Kasanganay v Johnny Eblen
Featherweight: Jesus Pinedo v Patricio Pitbull
Catchweight: Ray Cooper III v Jason Jackson

Showcase Bouts
Heavyweight: Bruno Cappelozza (former PFL World champ) v Vadim Nemkov (former Bellator champ)
Light Heavyweight: Thiago Santos (PFL title contender) v Yoel Romero (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Clay Collard (PFL title contender) v AJ McKee (former Bellator champ)
Featherweight: Gabriel Braga (PFL title contender) v Aaron Pico (Bellator title contender)
Lightweight: Biaggio Ali Walsh (pro debut) v Emmanuel Palacios (pro debut)
Women’s Lightweight: Claressa Shields v Kelsey DeSantis
Featherweight: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Edukondal Rao
Amateur Flyweight: Malik Basahel v Vinicius Pereira

Tips to avoid getting scammed

1) Beware of cheques presented late on Thursday

2) Visit an RTA centre to change registration only after receiving payment

3) Be aware of people asking to test drive the car alone

4) Try not to close the sale at night

5) Don't be rushed into a sale 

6) Call 901 if you see any suspicious behaviour

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Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 290hp

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Price: Dh155,800

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Company profile

Company name: Xare 

Started: January 18, 2021 

Founders: Padmini Gupta, Milind Singh, Mandeep Singh 

Based: Dubai 

Sector: FinTech 

Funds Raised: $10 million 

Current number of staff: 28 

Investment stage: undisclosed

Investors: MS&AD Ventures, Middle East Venture Partners, Astra Amco, the Dubai International Financial Centre, Fintech Fund, 500 Startups, Khwarizmi Ventures, and Phoenician Funds

What you as a drone operator need to know

A permit and licence is required to fly a drone legally in Dubai.

Sanad Academy is the United Arab Emirate’s first RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) training and certification specialists endorsed by the Dubai Civil Aviation authority.

It is responsible to train, test and certify drone operators and drones in UAE with DCAA Endorsement.

“We are teaching people how to fly in accordance with the laws of the UAE,” said Ahmad Al Hamadi, a trainer at Sanad.

“We can show how the aircraft work and how they are operated. They are relatively easy to use, but they need responsible pilots.

“Pilots have to be mature. They are given a map of where they can and can’t fly in the UAE and we make these points clear in the lectures we give.

“You cannot fly a drone without registration under any circumstances.”

Larger drones are harder to fly, and have a different response to location control. There are no brakes in the air, so the larger drones have more power.

The Sanad Academy has a designated area to fly off the Al Ain Road near Skydive Dubai to show pilots how to fly responsibly.

“As UAS technology becomes mainstream, it is important to build wider awareness on how to integrate it into commerce and our personal lives,” said Major General Abdulla Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief, Dubai Police.

“Operators must undergo proper training and certification to ensure safety and compliance.

“Dubai’s airspace will undoubtedly experience increased traffic as UAS innovations become commonplace, the Forum allows commercial users to learn of best practice applications to implement UAS safely and legally, while benefitting a whole range of industries.”

The Continental: From the World of John Wick

Created by: Greg Coolidge, Shawn Simmons, Kirk Ward
Stars: Mel Gibson, Colin Woodell, Mishel Prada
Rating: 3/5

Politics in the West
The specs

Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder

Transmission: CVT auto

Power: 181bhp

Torque: 244Nm

Price: Dh122,900

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days


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