US oil giant Exxon Mobil wants to leave its giant oilfield project in southern Iraq, diplomatic sources said, in a move likely to aggravate the country's internal tensions and hamper Baghdad's ambitious energy expansion plans.
Exxon's desire to quit, which the sources said was due to prospects of slim profits from the estimated $50 billion West Qurna-1 project, contrasts with a deal it signed a year ago to explore in Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region, where incentives are better.
Baghdad deemed the Kurdish deal illegal and promised to punish Exxon by ripping up its contract for West Qurna-1, which has reserves of 8.7 billion barrels.
A young and increasingly educated population could be the source of prosperity in the Middle East and North Africa if an environment that promotes open competition is created, according to a World Bank report.
The study on Jobs in MENA offers a detailed analysis of the many factors that have contributed to one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the world, along with one of the lowest rates for female participation in the labour force.
It proposes a set of policy reforms to unlock the region’s large and untapped human potential.
Jordan, which has no natural resources and imports all of its energy, needs to invest as much as US$25bn over the coming ten years to help it become self sufficient, the Jordan Times reported, citing Jordan Economic Social Council President Jawad Anani.
The number of refugees from Syria that have fled to Jordan as a result of a 19-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has caused Jordan to incur additional costs estimated at JD600m (US$846m) annually, the newspaper cited Anani as saying.
Jordan imports 96 percent of its fuel needs (the daily equivalent of 100,000 barrels of a oil a day), and until recently was dependent on Egypt for its gas supply, which has caused its public debt to soar. The country relies on foreign grants and aid to finance its fiscal deficit.
Over 50 large European and US companies showed keen interest in Lebanon’s oil and gas prospects during a marathon meeting with Lebanese officials in London this week.
Most, if not all, of these companies expressed eagerness to explore oil and gas off the Lebanese coast as soon as possible after listening to a thorough explanation about progress the Lebanese government has made in surveying part of the Lebanese coast.
Among the questions raised by the companies was the actual size of the gas blocks off the coast; they said the larger blocks would tempt the firms to take part in the bidding.
Lebanese Bank Audi said on Thursday that its net profits rose by 14.1 percent to reach $309.4 million in the first nine months of 2012, despite delicate political and economic conditions in Lebanon and throughout the region.
“Audi Saradar Group registered an adequate performance over the first nine months of 2012, with net earnings growing by 14.1 percent relative to last year’s corresponding period. Net earnings amounted to $309.4 million in the first nine months of 2012, (of which $32.8 million in net earnings after taxes and expenses stemming from discontinued operation),” the bank said in a statement.
Consolidated assets reached $29.2 billion at end-September 2012 and $40.6 billion when accounting for fiduciary deposits, security accounts and assets under management, despite the contraction of assets of Bank Audi Syria at end-September 2012 to a third of their December 2010 levels.
At least nine soldiers have been killed in an attack by suspected al-Qaeda militants on a military base in southern Yemen, military officials say.
The attackers drove a vehicle into the base in Shuqra, Abyan province, before blowing it up.
One official said they travelled in a military vehicle and passed through several checkpoints to reach the camp.
The head of Saudi Arabia's religious police has reportedly said there is a "pressing need" to employ more women in the force.
Speaking to the Saudi Gazette, Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh said he hoped a recruitment drive would take place soon.
He told the newspaper that the women will work under the supervision of an independent women's department similar to other government agencies