Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Oil Hits Seven-week High on Demand Hopes, War Jitters

A pumpjack brings oil to the surface in the Monterey Shale, California, US April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
A pumpjack brings oil to the surface in the Monterey Shale, California, US April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
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Oil Hits Seven-week High on Demand Hopes, War Jitters

A pumpjack brings oil to the surface in the Monterey Shale, California, US April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
A pumpjack brings oil to the surface in the Monterey Shale, California, US April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Oil prices hit seven-week highs on Wednesday as summer demand optimism and concerns over escalating conflicts offset an industry report that said US crude inventories unexpectedly rose.

Brent crude futures for August, due to expire on Thursday, were up 20 cents to $85.53 a barrel by 1235 GMT, while the more active September contract gained 21 cents to $84.74.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 3 cents to $81.60 per barrel.

"The current snapshot presents an underwhelming picture but there are green shoots that indicate a more optimistic outlook," said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM, Reuters reported.

The Brent price being $8 over the lows hit in early June "shows genuine optimism that the global oil balance will eventually tighten," Varga added.

Both benchmarks, having recovered strongly in the last two weeks, gained more than $1 in the previous session to seven-week peaks after a Ukrainian drone strike led to an oil terminal fire at a major Russian port.

In the Middle East, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned of a possible "all out war" with Lebanon's Hezbollah, even as the US attempted to avoid a broader conflict between Israel and the Iran-backed group.

An escalating war risks supply disruption in the key oil-producing region.

"Any cooling off between both parties seems difficult in the near term, which may keep oil prices well-supported as market participants shrug off pockets of weakness on the economic front, from weaker-than-expected US retail sales to mixed sets of data out of China this week," said Yeap Jun Rong, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.

China data this week showed May industrial output lagged expectations, but retail sales, a gauge of consumption, marked the quickest growth since February.

Meanwhile, US crude stocks rose by 2.264 million barrels in the week ended June 14, market sources said on Tuesday, citing American Petroleum Institute figures. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a 2.2 million barrel draw in crude stocks.

However, gasoline inventories fell by 1.077 million barrels, while distillates rose by 538,000 barrels, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Official stocks data from the US Energy Information Administration is due at 1500 GMT.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Saudi Energy and Economy Ministries Launch Carbon Capture, Utilization Challenge with UpLink

The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt
The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt
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Saudi Energy and Economy Ministries Launch Carbon Capture, Utilization Challenge with UpLink

The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt
The Saudi flag. Aswat Asharq Al-Awsatt

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Economy and Planning (MEP) and Ministry of Energy (MoEnergy), in collaboration with UpLink, have launched the Carbon Capture and Utilization Challenge which seeks innovative solutions that accelerate the circular carbon economy.

The challenge was launched during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in a main session titled ‘SDG 13 and Interlinkages with Other SDGs – Climate Action’ held on July 10.

The challenge encourages startups to submit distinct solutions that drive carbon reductions through sustainable systems transformation, including carbon capture technologies, novel carbon utilization applications, and industrial integration.

The initiative emphasizes the importance of carbon capture and utilization (CCU), highlighting the crucial role innovation plays in driving a sustainable and economically prosperous future and the important role of carbon removal in reaching net-zero goals by mid-century.

“The climate change issue and sustainability is a global issue,” Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. “It cannot be attended to in regional scopes or as a smaller territorial thing. It has to be global.”

He stated that the Kingdom seeks to enhance its efforts to achieve its ambitious goal of reaching net zero by 2060 through the Circular Carbon Economy Framework, which not only reduces the impact of carbon emissions, but also values carbon as a resource with real economic value, rather than pollutant.

He also indicated that the Kingdom, in line with this vision, and in order to exploit the economic value of carbon worldwide, has launched, in partnership with leading organizations, a global carbon capture and utilization challenge.

The Minister stressed that Saudi Arabia, by adopting such challenge, is leading influential changes in efforts to confront climate change, as this challenge represents an opportunity for individuals and organizations to transform tomorrow’s challenges into today’s solutions, through joint efforts and pioneering innovations.

Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Alibrahim said: “The Kingdom is keen on a just, orderly, and pragmatic energy transition and is working towards the advancement of the circular carbon economy framework.”

“Through this challenge, related to innovation inside the circular carbon economy, we look forward to seeing new solutions that would help push innovation forward,” he said.

He encouraged all innovators and companies to come up with “out-of-the-box solutions.”

Submissions will be evaluated on factors such as scalability, commercial viability, technological readiness, and fundraising success.

Winners will be recognized as top innovators and form part of the UpLink Innovation Ecosystem, a curated program for founders, CEOs, executive directors, and other leaders. They will also share a cash award of up to CHF 300,000 and receive technical, business, and operational support to scale their ideas.