Middle East Market Update August 2014


  • The OPEC Reference Basket lost all the gains earned over the previous month as the crude oil market has become complacent about the risk of supply disruptions, while a supply overhang and lacklustre refinery demand in Asia and Europe drove prices lower. The Basket lost about $2.30 over the month on average. Ample supply amid low refinery demand due to poor refining margins — particularly in Europe and Asia — contributed greatly to weakness in outright crude oil prices, which in turn was reflected in the Basket value.
  • On a monthly basis, the OPEC Reference Basket slipped to an average of $105.61/b in July, down by $2.28, or 2.11% below the previous month. Y-t-d, the Basket was 36¢ higher compared with the same period one year earlier, standing at $105.35/b compared with an average of $104.99/b a year ago.

 Crude Oil Price Movements


  • Brent-related Basket components from West and North Africa lost a significant share of their value in July, as each dropped over $4 from the previous month. This retreat was mainly attributed to poor refining economics for light products, which translated into modest light sweet crude oil demand from refiners in Europe as well as in Asia. An overhang of supply also affected the market. A month-long overhang in West African barrels amid rising Libyan crude supply additionally depressed prices for similar grades in Europe and Africa. Brent-related Basket components Saharan Blend, Es Sider, Girassol and Bonny Light dropped $5.11 or 4.5%, on average. Latin American Basket components Merey and Oriente slipped in line with the drop in outright prices on the WTI market and weak heavy oil cracks relative to light crude, losing almost 3.7% over the month on average.


  • Oriente and Merey decreased by $3.54 and $3.65 in July, respectively. Middle Eastern spot prices also suffered from weak Asian refining margins and lower refinery runs, though not as much as in Europe. Middle Eastern spot components and multidestination grades fell by around $1.90 and $1.45, respectively. On 7 August, the OPEC Reference Basket stood at $102.23/b, $3.38 under the July average.



  • Middle East contracts awarded: July 2014 – Over $8bn of contracts were awarded in July in the Middle East.
  • Middle East rig count on the rise – The region is now the world’s second-biggest market for operating oil rigs.
  • Dubai’s 13 biggest shopping mall developments – Mall of the World tops the $2.7bn-worth of Dubai-based shopping centre projects.
  • UAE upstream awards dominated by Petrofac and NPCC – Nasr award brings total National Petroleum Construction Company haul to $4.3bn since 2012.
  • DMCC fuels commodity flows through Dubai – Dubai’s diamond and gold trade soars.
  • Contractors submit bids for Abu Dhabi Guggenheim – Saadiyat Island will be home to several major museums.
  • Mitsubishi likely to win new Dubai Metro work – Dubai Road & Transport Authority prepares to tender $1.8bn in construction deals and signals Mitsubishi-led consortium as frontrunner.
  • Parsons wins more Dubai Water Canal work – US-based consultant will design infrastructure for the new development.
  • Standard Chartered invests in Topaz Energy and Marine – Topaz is a subsidiary of Oman-based Renaissance Services.



  • Saudi Electricity Company awards $2.9bn of contracts – State utility has already awarded more transmission contracts in the second quarter than for whole of 2013.
  • Saudi oil revenues expected to top $300bn – Strong oil prices coupled with sustained high production leads to upwards revision in forecast.
  • Yanbu Export Refinery – The refinery, jointly owned by Saudi Aramco and China Petrochemical Corporation, will have a capcity of 400,000 barrels a day.
  • The Middle East’s refinancing burden – Region’s investment grade companies need to refinance $91bn-worth of debt by 2018.



  • Al-Hassan wins $68m piping deal on Sohar refinery expansion – Local group awarded sub-contract by Petrofac/Daelim consortium.
  • Oman extends deadline for water network project – Work will involve expanding distribution networks in Muscat.
  • WSP wins Oman airport work – Canadian firm appointed by J&P for detailed design work on Muscat and Salalah airport projects.
  • Oman seeks bids for Sohar Port sewage project – Contract will involve providing project management services for treated sewage effluent scheme.
  • Oman receives bids for road dualisaton scheme – UAE’s Ghantoot Transport & General Contracting submitted low bids for both road dualisation packages.
  • Oman tenders package 10 of Batinah Expressway – Almost $2.1bn-worth of contracts have already been awarded on road project.
  • KEO wins Duqm consultancy contract – Kuwaiti consultant will prepare feasibility studies and design for two major areas of Duqm’s Special Economic Zone.



  • GP Zachariades Group wins Bahrain hospital contract – Cypriot contractor will build cancer centre at northern hospital.
  • Saudi Aramco to tender $350m Bahrain pipeline – Pipeline deal to build new link with Bapco refinery expected by the end of July.
  • Bahrain growth to slow in 2014 – Lower oil prices will slow growth in Bahrain this year and increase its budget deficit, says National Bank of Kuwait.
  • Bahrain’s ABC Bank launches syndication of $500m loan – Four banks selected to arrange deal.



  • Petronas extends deadline on Gharraf tenders – Companies asked to bid on Iraq oil and gas facilities by end of September.
  • Iraq starts up Halfaya-Missan export pipeline – China-operated oil fields to export crude via Iraq’s Gulf port of Al-Faw.
  • Petrochina tenders third phase of Halfaya oil development – Third central processing facility to boost Iraq field’s capacity to over 500,000 barrels a day.
  • Mansouriya gas project halted on unrest in northern Iraq – Turkey/Kuwait/South Korea consortium pulls staff from Diyala province operations.
  • Iraqi Kurdistan oil sector curbs operations – At least eight foreign companies take precautionary measures and relocate personnel as Kurdish army clashes with Isis militants.
  • More Iraqi Kurdistan oil operations affected – Afren and Genel Energy operations in northern Iraq affected by growing unrest.
  • Gazprom team tenders Badra oil well deal – Companies asked to bid for work on southern Iraq project by 26 September.
  • Halfaya project management bid deadline extended – Petrochina asks companies to submit bids on project management consultancy on 18 August.



  • Iran pushes back London launch of new oil contracts – London event delayed until February 2015, says government official.
  • Iran looks to develop joint venture oilfields – Islamic Republic looks to boost output of two fields in the Gulf it shares with Oman and Saudi Arabia.
  • Iran met uranium targets, says UN nuclear watchdog – Tehran had successfully converted controversial 20 per cent-enriched stock in line with Geneva deal.
  • Iran invites interest for wastewater consultancy contract – Work will involve providing consultancy services and project management for the construction of plants at various locations.
  • Iran prepared to accept halt in nuclear fuel expansion – Tehran could roll back expansions for several years, foreign minister tells newspaper.Middle East gas output surged in 2013 – Regional increase fastest in the world as Qatar boosts gas production and exports.
  • Middle East May steel output surged 7.3 per cent – Rising steel production in region driven by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Iran.



  • Egypt urges oil companies to restart projects – Post-revolutionary turmoil and unpaid bills are making firms wary of investing in energy assets.
  • BG Egypt upgrades gas infrastructure – West Delta Deep Marine control system upgraded as wells are brought online.
  • RWE Dea starts Egypt gas production – Company sees oil and gas output lifted by more than 50 per cent as new facility comes online.
  • Bidders given new closing date for Cairo metro Line 3 tender – Seven groups prequalified for third phase of Cairo metro Line 3.
  • Production starts at DEKA project in Egypt – Gas begins to flow from subsea well in the offshore Nile Delta.
  • Sea Dragon Energy announces Egyptian farm-out – Independent operator IPR Energy Resources grabs a stake in Sea Dragon’s South Disouq concession.



  • Joint venture wins more work on Doha Metro – Team secures contract for elevated sections of railway.
  • CH2M Hill Halcrow secures Qatar road services contract – Consultancy deal will help improve road safety in Qatar.
  • Qatar extends deadline for packages on reservoirs megaproject – Water Security Mega Reservoirs project will provide seven days of strategic water storage.
  • Qatar invites consultants to prequalify for wastewater contract – Deadline set for 25 September.
  • Doha evaluates bids for port construction package – Seven groups submitted prices for naval infrastructure package at new port.
  • Prequalification starts at $7.4bn Qatar chemicals scheme – Prequalification starts at $7.4bn Qatar chemicals scheme
  • 18 August 2014 4:16 GMT
  • Al-Sejeel petrochemicals complex invites interest for last two packages at Ras Laffan.
  • Dolphin Energy plans gas pipeline to supply Sharjah – UAE group awards design deal to ILF Consulting Engineers and invites prequalification.
  • Oil exporters put the brakes on spending – Oil exporters are starting to trim spending to keep budgets more in line with oil prices.
  • Investors start developing malls in Doha ahead of World Cup – A series of new private-sector shopping mall projects in Doha are in the early stages of development.
  • Qatar drives Middle East mergers and acquisitions – Value of deals in the second quarter highest since start of 2011.



  • Jordan auctions three oil blocks – Jordan Energy Ministry sets 20 October deadline on proposals for developing Azraq and Sirhan areas.
  • First Solar wins Jordan plant contract – US firm will build 52.5MW Shams Maan photovoltaic plant.
  • Jordan cancels third round of renewables programme – Amman also postpones submission date for second round until end of year.
  • Jordan extends deadline for renewable energy bids – Developers have extra time to work on submissions for second round of Jordan’s direct proposal programme.
  • Jordan signs agreements for initial renewables round – 12 developers will build and operate photovoltaic power plants in Jordan.
  • Drake & Scull wins contracts in Jordan – Work involves providing engineering services at Saraya Aqaba development.



  • Kuwait University tenders building work – Kuwait University contract covers building and operation work.
  • Kuwait extends deadline for overhead lines contract – Eight contractors have been prequalified for the Kuwait overhead lines tender.
  • Kuwait delays New Refinery Project bid submission deadline – $1.1bn New Refinery Project package is pushed back by nearly two months.
  • Yemen and Kuwait discuss oil and gas cooperation – Yemeni officials hope for Kuwaiti investment to help revive flagging oil production.
  • Kuwait prequalifies consultants for Bubiyan port design deal – Work will involve designing main buildings and additional infrastructure for new port.
  • October start for Clean Fuels Project site works – After years of delays, work is expected to begin on expanding Kuwait’s Mina al-Ahmadi and Mina Abdullah refineries.