“It is important that we do not exaggerate projections related to future decreases in oil demand due to events in China…OPEC and OPEC+ member countries will discuss market conditions (in March) and, if required, all options to ensure continued market balance.”

UAE Minister of Energy Suhail al-Mazrouei, in comments echoing Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members that urge caution against “gloomy expectations” regarding the possible impact of the spread of the coronavirus on the global economy and oil demand. [nytimes.com]



Saudi Aramco Makes $5 million Investment in Blockchain-Based Oil Trading Company VAKT


Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) has invested $5 million into blockchain-based oil trading company VAKT, the company said in a press release. [more]




Israelis Can Now Go to Saudi Arabia For Religious Pilgrimages, Business Visits, Israel Says; Saudi Says ‘Our Policy is Fixed’


UPDATE: Saudi Arabia’a Foreign Minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom, CNN reported on Monday. “Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom at the current time,” CNN quoted Prince Faisal bin Farhan as saying. [Reuters]


A new rule from Israeli leaders will allow Israeli Muslims to go to Saudi Arabia for religious pilgrimages and permit business trips to the Kingdom, according to reports. [more]




Kingdom’s Domestic Tourism, Entertainment Push Leads to Declines in Saudis Visiting Dubai

Demand for one to three-star hotels in Riyadh increased by 240 percent, Seera travel group said.

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Dubai in 2019 dropped as Saudi Arabia begins to see major gains in its domestic tourism market and local entertainment offerings. [more]



Saudi minister confirms Israeli passport holders still cannot visit: CNN

Via Reuters Editorial in reuters.com : Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Israelis were not welcome to visit the kingdom after Israel decreed that Israeli citizens could visit Saudi Arabia under certain circumstances, CNN reported on Monday. “Our policy is fixed. We do not have relations with the state of Israel and Israeli passport holders cannot visit the kingdom at the current time,” the U.S. broadcaster quoted Prince Faisal bin Farhan as saying.

A New Year in Saudi Mining

Via Colby Connelly in agsiw.org : Saudi Arabia’s mining and metal and mineral processing industry contributes about $17 billion to the kingdom’s gross domestic product per year and employs approximately 250,000 people. Mining activities comprise 15% of the sector’s contribution while the remaining 85% is linked to the value created by the midstream and downstream processes that follow extraction.

Monsha’at announces collaborative agreement with job platform Bidayati

in tradearabia.com : The Saudi Arabian General Authority for SMEs, known as Monsha’at, has recently announced its new partnership with online job platform for Saudi youth, Bidayati, a mobile-based jobs platform for young Saudis aged 16-30 who seek work. Employers can use it to find workers for full-time jobs, part-time jobs and internships. The platform is unique in that it does not require jobseekers to have a CV and uses a simple questionnaire and AI technology to recommend the right candidates for each job.



Netflix screening ‘big boost’ to Saudi filmmakers

“Six Windows in the Desert,” a series of short films created by Saudis, will make its Netflix debut on Thursday, streaming in 190 countries. After buying...[via arabnews.com]


Saudi Officials Hold Talks with US Special Envoy for Syria

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel...[via aawsat.com]


More Than A Dozen Saudi Oil Firms Book Hefty Losses In 2019

A total of 14 Saudi companies in the energy sector booked hefty losses last year, Middle East Monitor reported on Wednesday, quoting analysts who had...[By Tsvetana Paraskova via oilprice.com]


Trekking to the Most Beautiful Wadi in the Middle East

Wadi Lejab is this magical spot somewhere on the map of the Al-Raith mountains in Saudi Arabia. After driving for 2 days from Riyadh, we...[By Eva zu Beck via youtube.com]


Inaugural Saudi Cup To Be Televised On FS1

Live coverage of the inaugural Saudi Cup airs Saturday, Feb. 29 at noon Eastern on FS1. The field for the Saudi Cup, the world's richest...[via paulickreport.com]


Can I Fly to Riyadh? Emirates Air to Limit Access to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia suspended entry for nationalities holding tourist visas and coming from: Greater China, Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Singapore,...[By Layan Odeh via bloomberg.com]


Sports minister launches Saudi Games, Kingdom’s largest sporting event

The event will feature 40 games with the participation of 35 sports federations in 18 venues within Riyadh....[via arabnews.com]


Aramco Is Said to Start Early Preparations for Overseas Listing

The world’s largest publicly traded company is in discussions with Wall Street banks to draw up scenarios for a second listing overseas, according to the...[By Matthew Martin, Dinesh Nair, and Ishika Mookerjee via bloomberg.com]


Saudi cuts March oil volumes to China by at least 500,000 bpd

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is reducing crude supplies to China in March by at least 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to...[By Alex Lawler via reuters.com]


Saudi Aramco Open to Share Sales Abroad to Fuel Economic Plans

Saudi Arabia is planning to sell more stakes in state-owned oil producer Saudi Aramco as it looks to raise money to fuel an economic diversification...[By Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]


Trump Middle East Plan

Trump’s Mideast peace plan expected to benefit Israel, offer Palestinians conditional statehood

The 50-page plan developed by Trump adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is expected to include proposals addressing each of the major issues that have scuttled...[By Anne Gearan, Steve Hendrix and Ruth Eglash via washingtonpost.com]



China sure of slaying ‘devil’ virus, Hong Kong to cut links; death toll passes 100

President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday China was sure of defeating a “devil” coronavirus that has killed 106 people, spread across the world and rattled...[By Tony Munroe via reuters.com]



Taliban repel Afghan forces’ bid to reach U.S. plane crash site

Speaking on condition of anonymity, U.S. officials said the plane was carrying fewer than five when it crashed, with one official saying initial information showed...[By Abdul Qadir Sediqi via reuters.com]



The US is bombing in Afghanistan reaches nearly 10-year high

According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, U.S. aircraft dropped 7,423 munitions in 2019 — that’s the highest number of bombs released in nearly a...[By Shawn Snow via militarytimes.com]



Lebanon passes 2020 budget with a six per cent deficit

According to the National News Agency, the 2020 budget was passed by a vote of 49 to 13, with eight abstentions. The legislature approved a...[via cpifinancial.net]



Perspective: Iran’s Leadership Works to Heal Rifts Opened Amid Protests, U.S. Pressure

The spat between the president and the armed forces, is a “struggle to apportion blame for the tragedy,” said Mr. Harris. While the military says...[By Sune Engel Rasmussen via wsj.com]


Arms Producers

China now 2nd largest arms producer

In its annual report, SIPRI said it had “identified information from 2015–17 on the value of arms sales by major Chinese arms companies,” and looked...[via navytimes.com via AP]


ME Travel

10 reasons to travel to the Middle East in 2020

his region has exerted a fascination over western wanderers since the days of the grand tour. Now fresh experiences amid its shifting sands are reframing...[By Rick Jordan via cntraveller.com]



Netanyahu pulls request for immunity on corruption charges

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu withdrew his request for immunity from prosecution on Tuesday, hours before parliamentary proceedings on the subject were set to begin....[By Ilan Ben Zion via apnews.com]


Recent Editions