Iran Exports Tons of Indigenized Catalysts in 2022-23: NPC

The chief executive of Iran’s National Petrochemical Company (NPC) announced the export of 1,500 tons of localized catalyst in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2023).

Speaking in the inaugural ceremony of the 17th edition of the International Exhibition of Plastic, Rubber, Machinery & Equipment entitled “IRAN PLAST”, Morteza Shahmirzaei described it as an achievement of the NPC.

He drew a comparison between the status of the country's petrochemical industry in pre- and post-Islamic Revolution and said that Iran’s petrochemical industry was heavily dependent on foreign countries before the Islamic Revolution but today, this dependency has reached the minimum level in such as a way that the overhaul of petrochemical complexes is done by expert domestic engineers.

The NPC chief put the current production capacity of the petrochemical industry at over 92 million tons.

Investment of US$150 billion in various petrochemical sectors is one of the goals of the National Petrochemical Company as emphasized in the 7th Five-Year Socioeconomic and Cultural Development Plan, Shahmirzaei added.

According to him, the participation of foreign companies in Iran’s petrochemical industry has increased 20-fold, which indicates that Iran’s petrochemical industry has not been affected by sanctions imposed against the country.

The 17th edition of the International Exhibition of Plastics, Rubber, Machinery & Equipment entitled “IRAN PLAST” was inaugurated at the Tehran Permanent International Fairgrounds on Sunday and will run until Wednesday, September 20. - Tasnim


Official Reports Iran’s Imports of Seed Species

More than 3 million kilograms of seed species, valued at US$35,590,000, were imported into the country in the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 to August 22), according to the spokesman of Iran’s House of Industry, Mine and Trade. Vegetable, livestock corn, tomato, cucumber and pepper seeds were the five seed species imported into the country from March 21 to August 22, 2023, Seyed Rouhollah Latifi noted.

In this timespan, 245,779 kg of vegetable seed, valued at over US$10 million, and 3,342 kilograms of onion seed, valued at over US$613, were imported into the county, he stated. In addition, 76,800 kg, 5,040 kg, 6,275 kg and 2,300 kg seeds of grass, sunflower, ornamented plants and colza seeds were imported into the country from March 21 to August 22, 2023, the official added. - Tasnim


Nasmaakum App Launches to Bridge Communication Barriers in Bahrain

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Saudi Aramco, Exxon CEOs Push Back Against Forecasts of Peak Oil Demand

The CEOs of top Saudi Arabian and US oil producers Aramco and Exxon Mobil on Monday pushed back against forecasts that oil demand will peak, and said the transition to cleaner energy to fight climate change would require continuing investment in conventional oil and gas. Their comments come after the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week said that the world's energy watchdog's new estimates showed the age of relentless fossil fuel growth is ending and demand would peak by 2030.

Speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said talk of peak oil demand had come up often before. "This notion is wilting under scrutiny because it is mostly being driven by policies, rather than the proven combination of markets, competitive economics and technology," Nasser said. He said he expected demand to grow to around 110 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2030. Current demand is around 100 million bpd.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which has also dismissed the IEA peak oil estimate, is more upbeat about demand, expecting growth of 2.44 million bpd this year to 102.1 million bpd, compared with the IEA's forecast of 2.2 million bpd of growth.

At the Congress, Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, critized the IEA, saying its role had drifted. "They have moved from being a forecaster and assessor of the market to one practicing political advocacy," Prince Abdulaziz said. An IEA spokesperson could not be immediately reached.

Environmental groups have protested this week outside the annual gathering of oil producing companies and countries. This year's conference theme is the energy transition. "Now that the evidence is clearer than ever that demand for fossils will peak this decade, major oil producers will do anything to delay that transition," said Julia Levin, associate director of national climate at Environmental Defence Canada.

Nasser said the narrative of the current energy transition was based on "unrealistic" assumptions and scenarios and it was important to keep investing in oil and gas to ensure global energy security and an affordable transition to cleaner sources. "We need to invest, otherwise in the mid- to long-term we will have another crisis and we will go backward in terms of using more and more coal and other cheap products that are available today."

Exxon CEO Darren Woods, speaking on the same panel with Nasser, said it will be difficult to replace today's energy system because oil and gas are so widely available, and the transition would take time. "There seems to be wishful thinking that we're going to flip a switch from where we're at today to where it will be tomorrow," Woods said. "No matter where demand gets to, if we don't maintain some level of investment industry, you end up running shorter supply which leads to higher prices."


Saudi Arabia Says Ready to Coop. with Iran in Petchem Sector

Saudi Ambassador to Iran Abdullah bin Saud al-Anzi on Monday voiced his country’s readiness to broaden cooperation with the Islamic Republic in petrochemical sector.

The ambassador expressed the willingness during his visit to the pavilion of Iran’s National Petrochemical Company (NPC) at the 17th IranPlast International Exhibition. Anzi pointed to areas Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) and NPC can cooperate in, expressing hope that the two sides will hold talks on petrochemical projects. He said Iran has made great progress in petrochemical industry.

The Saudi diplomat was briefed on Iran’s latest petrochemical achievements during his meeting with NPC's Planning and Development Manager Hassan Abbaszedeh, NPC's Projects Manager Ahmad Shokri, and NPC’s International Affairs Manager Hossein Alimorad.

The 17th International Exhibition of Plastics, Rubber, Machinery and Equipment, commonly known as IranPlast International Exhibition, kicked off in Tehran on Sunday and will run through September 20. - Shana


€5.57 Billion Unfrozen Assets Deposited in Iranian Bank Accounts: CBI Governor

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced that €5.573 billion of the country’s frozen assets has been unblocked. Mohammadreza Farzin announced the deposit of €5.573 billion from Iran's blocked resources to the accounts of six Iranian banks in Al-Ahli and Dukhan banks in Qatar

Speaking in a TV program, the official said that on August 10 of this year, all inaccessible Iranian funds that were kept in South Korean banks and the Seoul branch of Bank Mellat were transferred to the account of the Swiss Central Bank to be converted into euros.

He stated that during this period, Keshavarzi, Saman, Pasargad, Tourism, Shahr, and Karafarin banks opened accounts in the two mentioned Qatari banks, and added: “According to the agreements, all payments were made by brokers of Qatari banks as well as SWIFT.”

“Yesterday we received an official letter from the Qatari authorities that six bank accounts have been activated and today 5.573 million euros were deposited into the bank accounts”, Farzin announced.

S. Korea taking necessary measures to transfer Iran’s frozen money

Efforts are underway to transfer Iran's funds that had been frozen in South Korea, after Teheran reached a deal with the United States to release American citizens in return for freeing Iranian assets, the Asian country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. South Korea's Foreign Ministry said on Monday it is working with all parties on the deal "to ensure smooth progress of all procedures so that it will be resolved once and for all." Based on the reached deal, the five Americans, with dual nationality are expected to leave Tehran and head to Qatar's capital Doha and then from there fly to the United States, sources previously told Reuters.

The United States and Iran reached an agreement last month for the release of five U.S. citizens detained in Iran while US$6 billion of Iranian assets in South Korea would be unfrozen. The assets that had been frozen in South Korea were transferred to Switzerland's central bank in August for exchange and transfer to Iran, South Korean media reported.

The financial dispute between Iran and South Korea dates back to 2018, when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and started slapping economic sanctions on Iran. Before 2018, South Korea had been the third-largest buyer of Iranian oil and the top customer of Iranian condensates. The oil trade between Tehran and Seoul resulted in the accumulation of some seven billion dollars in Iranian oil revenues in South Korean banks. With tensions between Tehran and Washington exacerbating, Seoul moved to block the Iranian funds for fear of falling afoul of U.S. sanctions on Iran. - Tehran Times


Iraqi Premier Invited to Meet with Biden at White House

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in New York on Monday and received an invitation from US President Joe Biden to visit the White House, a State Department spokesperson said. Sudani, who is in New York to participate in the U.N. General Assembly, said a date for the official visit to Washington would be set at a later time, Iraqi state media reported.

Biden and Sudani have yet to meet since Sudani took office last year after being appointed by a coalition of parties, predominantly Shi'ite Muslim groups close to Tehran. He has since walked a diplomatic tightrope between the US and Iran, two countries that in the past have fought out their rivalry on Iraqi soil. Sudani and Blinken "renewed their commitment to continue strengthening the partnership between the two countries," the State Department spokesperson said.

Iraq has been a close partner of the US since Washington's 2003 invasion and both sides say they are trying to broaden their relationship from a near-singular focus on defence and counter-terrorism towards economic cooperation. Blinken during the meeting "underscored US support" for the re-opening of a pipeline between Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdistan region and Turkey that has been shut since March. Turkey said last week the pipeline, which contributes about 0.5% of world oil supply, would be ready to resume operations soon, though it is unclear whether Baghdad and Ankara have agreed to the terms of a resumption of crude flows.

Blinken also "commended the Prime Minister’s commitment to judicial independence in Iraq’s recent conviction and sentencing of multiple individuals on terrorism charges in connection with the killing of US citizen Stephen Troell." Iraq last month sentenced an Iranian man and four Iraqis to life in prison over Troell's November 2022 killing in a middle class neighbourhood in central Baghdad. Court officials did not name the defendants but said the four Iraqis were members of a Shi’ite Muslim militia.


Saudi Minister on China Visit to Expand Trade Ties

In a bid to expand collaborations between Saudi Arabia and China, Saudi Arabia’s minister of industry and mineral resources held meetings with a range of officials and business leaders during a tour of the East Asian country. Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef also toured various companies and factories located in different Chinese cities as part of his trip, which began on Sunday.

As well as the meetings, he chaired the Saudi delegation and participated as a guest of honor in the China-Arab State Summit, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Others to make the trip include Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Salem, president of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu; Khalid bin Saleh Al-Mudaifer, the vice minister of industry and mineral resources for mining affairs, and several leaders from the industry and mineral resources sector.

On Monday in Beijing, Alkhorayef held a meeting with Jin Zhuanglong, China’s minister of industry and information technology. The discussions revolved around strengthening cooperation and partnership between the two countries in the industrial sector.

Alkhorayef also met with China’s Minister of Natural Resources, Wang Guanghua, and Li Jinfa, chairman of the Geological Survey of China. They explored opportunities and challenges in the mining sector and discussed ways to enhance joint collaboration to foster growth in the mineral industry in the region.

Additionally, the Saudi minister held talks with Peng Qiming, president of the Mining Association, and Gi Honglin, president of the China Nonferrous Metal Industry Association. These meetings centered on mutual interests and efforts aimed at promoting economic growth and infrastructure development in the mining sector between the two countries.

Furthermore, Alkhorayef held discussions with the CEO of the Chinese Norinco Group, Chen Defang. The two parties discussed enhancing cooperation, exchanging expertise, and sharing experiences. Norinco Group has joint ventures in several petroleum and chemical industries with Saudi Aramco.

The minister is scheduled to head the Kingdom’s delegation participating as a guest of honor at the China-Arab States Expo, which will be held from Sept. 21-24 in Yinchuan, Ningxia. He will also take part in the China-Saudi Trade Investment Promotion Conference, in addition to his participation at the Minerals Investment Forum in Shanghai, China.

The visit is to further strengthen the economic partnership between Saudi Arabia and China in the industrial and mining sectors. It also allows the two sides to review their qualitative investment opportunities. Moreover, the move highlights the Kingdom’s initiatives to advance these two strategic sectors.


Cyber-Attack Hits Kuwaiti Finance Ministry System

Kuwait’s finance ministry said on Monday that one of its systems had suffered a cyber-attack in the early morning but that the ministry continued to work normally.

The ministry said in a statement that protection systems and procedures had been activated and “the level of the hacking attempt is being assessed.” The salary transfers will not be affected, the ministry added.


Oil Climbs on Supply Deficit Concerns

Oil prices rose on Tuesday for a fourth consecutive session as weak US shale output spurred further concerns about a supply deficit stemming from extended production cuts by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures were up 41 cents, or 0.43%, to US$94.84 a barrel by 0751 GMT. After breaching US$1 gains, US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 92 cents, or 1.01%, to US$92.40. Prices have gained for three consecutive weeks, and both benchmarks are around 10-month highs.

US oil output from top shale-producing regions is on track to fall to 9.393 million barrels per day (bpd) in October, the lowest level since May 2023, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday. It will have fallen for three months in a row. Those estimates come after Saudi Arabia and Russia this month extended a combined supply cuts of 1.3 million bpd to the end of the year.

Prices are being supported by concerns over supply tightness and technical factors, said Kelvin Wong, a senior market analyst at OANDA in Singapore. "(There has been) a persistent short-term uptrend seen in the WTI crude oil futures where prior dips had been held by its 5-day moving average since 29 August...(which is) now acting as a key short-term support at around US$89.90 per barrel," Wong noted.

"Oil's ascent into overbought territory leaves the market vulnerable to a correction," analysts from National Australia Bank wrote in a client note, pointing to volatility after speeches from Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser and Saudi Arabia's energy minister on Monday. The Aramco CEO lowered the company's long-term outlook for demand, now forecasting global demand to reach 110 million bpd by 2030, down from a previous estimate of 125 million bpd.

Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Monday defended OPEC+ cuts to oil supply, saying international energy markets need light-handed regulation to limit volatility, while also warning of uncertainty about Chinese demand, European growth and central bank action to tackle inflation.

Interest rate decisions are due this week from the central banks of the US, Britain, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. This "will do nothing to calm nerves as the clash between considerably reduced supply and less than reassuring economic outlook continues," said PVM Energy's Tamas Varga.