President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said that Russia and OPEC have ‘a common goal’ of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.
“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important – and I want to underline this – predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman said on Wednesday that the kingdom’s oil policy aims to promote stability in global oil markets, and serves consumers and producers alike.
It plans to announce pricing for an initial public offering of its crown asset, Saudi Aramco, also on Dec. 5.
In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17 million bpd to11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal.
Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly in spite of the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer.
Currently, the U.S. is the world’s top oil producer.
“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said.
“There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer – this is not our goal.”
Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tonnes of oil this year (11.17 million bpd to11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.
Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak said.
Russia includes gas condensate – a side product also known as ‘light oil’ produced when companies extract natural gas – into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.
As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing.
Gas condensate now accounts for around six per cent of Russian oil production.
Novak said that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.
“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.
Three sources on Tuesday said that Russia was unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.
On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting.
Edited by Fatima Sule/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
9 terror suspects face remand custody hearings in Denmark
Nine suspects face remand custody hearings in Denmark on Thursday on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack with a militant Islamist motive.
Danish media reported from the court that one woman and two men appeared at Copenhagen city court where they were charged with attempting to make explosives.
According to the report, in another courtroom at the Copenhagen city court, five other suspects, four men and one woman, were charged with attempting to acquire firearms or to finance the purchase of firearms.
Meanwhile, the ninth suspect was facing a hearing in the city of Odense.
Jorgen Skov, of the Copenhagen police, said that authorities believed the suspects attempted to obtain material to make explosives and acquire firearms.
However, Police have not mentioned any possible target.
Skov said police would request the hearings be held behind closed doors.
Earlier, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, said in a statement that the arrests were “a reminder that there are individuals in Denmark who have the intent and capacity to commit acts of terrorism.”
Netanyahu to give up ministerial portfolios by Jan. 1
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed the Justice Ministry on Thursday that he would give up his ministerial portfolios by Jan. 1, in light of corruption charges against him.
In addition to the post of Prime Minister, which he would retain, Netanyahu currently acts as Minister for welfare, Diaspora Affairs, Agriculture and Health.
The Justice Ministry said in a statement that Netanyahu would also appoint his replacements by Jan. 1.
Netanyahu’s move comes in response to a petition filed by the good-governance group Movement for the Quality of Government in Israel to the Supreme Court to have him removed from office.
The country will hold an unprecedented third election within a year on March 2, after the Knesset voted to dissolve itself Thursday amid a political stalemate that had grasped Israel since September elections.
Under Israeli law, Netanyahu does not have to step down as Prime Minister if indicted and vowed not to give up the position.
However, legal precedent stipulates that ministers cannot hold on to their position when they are on trial.
In November, Israel’s Attorney-General announced that Netanyahu would be charged with fraud, breach of trust and bribery in three separate cases, making him Israel’s first sitting premier to face indictment.
Netanyahu recently spoke of a “witch hunt” and “coup attempt” against him, and has repeatedly hurled attacks at Israel’s Justice Ministry.
Ukraine welcomes U.S. sanctions against Nord Stream-2 pipeline
Ukraine’s leadership, on Thursday welcomed expected U.S. sanctions on the Russian-German Nord Stream-2 natural gas pipeline.
Ukraine had in a very long time protested the project as undermining existing Western economic sanctions to compel Russia to resolve a conflict in Eastern Ukraine, near the Russian border, and end its occupation of Crimea region.
According to Ukrainian Presidential Administration, Ukraine is grateful for the votes in favour of sanctions against the pipeline, a political project that undermines the energy security of Europe.
The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk, welcomed congressional approval of the sanctions as good news.
“The sanctions should dramatically complicate the construction of the Russian pipe,’’ he said.
Yemen’s Hodeida remains most dangerous for civilians, aid groups say
Yemen’s port of Hodeida on Thursday continued to be the most dangerous area in the country, several international aid groups said.
According to the group, Dec. 12, makes it exactly one year since a peace deal was reached between Yemeni rivals that promised a ceasefire in the western city.
The Stockholm Agreement was reached in Dec. 2018, following UN-sponsored talks in Sweden between representatives of the government and the Houthi rebels.
It focused on a truce agreement for Hodeida that included a province-wide ceasefire and the withdrawal of Houthi fighters.
The agreement has not been fully implemented.
A group of 15 aid organisations, including the Norwegian Refugee Council and Oxfam, said in a statement that in 2019, 799 civilians were killed and wounded in Hodeida province, representing a quarter of all civilian casualties across Yemen.
“This was the highest toll across war-torn, impoverished Yemen,” they said.
The groups noted that about 390,000 Yemenis had been displaced so far in 2019, in spite of a drop in the levels of violence compared to 2018.
They added that besides Hodeida, the northern provinces of Saada and Hajjah, and the southern Taiz and Dhale were among the most dangerous for civilians in 2019.
“As aid agencies working in Yemen, we are outraged that after almost five years, Yemenis continue to suffer from an incalculable humanitarian crisis fuelled by conflict.
“Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence,” they added.
Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, has been locked in a devastating power struggle between the Houthis and the government since late 2014.
Nigeria’s Iginla-Aina bags 3rd highest national British honour
A Nigerian based in the UK, Mrs Olusubomi Iginla-Aina has bagged the third highest national honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
Aina, while presenting the award to Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians In Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) in Abuja said that her passion for uplifting the less privileged earned her the award.
She said that through her NGO, Lightup Foundation, she had been able to impact the lives of thousands of people through various humanitarian programmes both in Nigeria and in the UK.
Most of the time I spend everything I have and after doing that you find there is always a problem on ground. My goal is to ensure that we solve the problem. So whatever I have got goes into it.
I cannot count the number of people whose lives I have impacted. I started it in secondary school and when I got to the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, that was when I started Lightup Foundation,” she said.
Iginla-Aina joins other Nigerians who were conferred with similar awards in the past, among them Dr Nneka Abulokwe, the Founder, MicroMax Consulting.
Abulokwe was honoured for her excellent services in business.
Nigeria’s Nneka Abulokwe was also conferred with the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth for her excellent works.
Responding, Dabiri-Erewa praised Aina for her humanitarian service and urging her not to relent in the good work of impacting the lives of the less privileged.
According to Dabiri-Erewa, Iginla-Aina is a reflection of true Nigerian ideals and also represents what the real Nigerian in the diaspora should be.
The NIDCOM chief who described Iginla-Aina as Diaspora Ambassador said that her recognition as such was for her efforts at enhancing the lives of Nigerian youths and because “she has alone touched the lives of more than 10,000 youths”.
She added that because of her service to humanity Iginla-Aina deserved to be celebrated.
She said that the future of Nigeria depended on its youth population, stressing that getting the best of talented Nigerian young people should remain Iginla-Aina’s priority.
Dabiri-Erewa said that the commission would partner with her in that area.
She called on all Nigerians both at home and in the Diaspora to emulate Iginla-Aina in order to uplift the lives of the less privileged.
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