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Adipec kicks off as Adnoc announces IPO

Oil executives from around the world descend on the capital today to do business and discuss policy

Dubai: The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) began today with an announcement from the host that it would be selling off a stake in its operations.

Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), confirmed in his opening remarks to the audience that the state oil giant would indeed by listing a 10 per cent share of its fuel retail business on the capital’s bourse.

In attendance at the 20th edition of Adipec were oil and gas executives from around the world, including the heads of Total, BP, Pemex, and others, in addition to energy ministers from the Gulf countries, and Opec secretary general Mohammad Barkindo.

High on the agenda at the four-day conference will be the extension of the oil output agreement beyond March, an issue touched on by the UAE’s energy minister in his welcoming remarks.

Suhail Al Mazroui, the UAE Minister of Energy, described how the deal between Opec and non-Opec countries had helped remove some of the oil glut.

He added that he was optimistic 2018 would see even greater recovery than this year, with more investment in the industry.

Mohammad Barkindo, secretary-general of Opec, the oil industry cartel, echoed Al Mazroui’s comments, saying that the oil market was rebalancing at an accelerating pace off of the back of the deal to cut production.

Opec (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) along with other oil producers are cutting production by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prop up prices, which crashed unexpectedly three years ago. The agreement, which was to expire in June, was extended till March next year.

The event takes places as oil prices rise due to geopolitical tensions throughout the Middle East, and a tightening of global oil markets following the production cut agreement.

Oil surged above $63 (Dh231) a barrel to its highest level in two years last week after Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on princes and businessmen raised concerns over stability and policymaking in the world’s largest oil producer.

Brent rose to $64.65, its highest since June 2015 and WTI rose to $57.92 a barrel, its highest since July 2015 earlier last week.

Oil was moving upwards even before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman launched his purge which included the detention of billionaire investor Al Waleed Bin Talal, the head of Kingdom Holding.

“Although political developments in Saudi are fascinating they are unlikely to have much impact on oil price because a significant change in Saudi oil policy is unlikely. More significant would be any developments in Kurdistan to re-establish the lost production or exports or anything further said in the US about re-instating sanctions on Iran,” said Spencer Welch, Director of IHS Energy in London.

Oil gained more than 20 per cent since the beginning of September on signs global supplies are tightening and Opec and its allies may extend output deal beyond March. Fighting between Iraqi government and Kurdish forces over the disputed oil rich region of Kirkuk also boosted prices.

To be held under the theme “Forging Ties, Driving Growth”, this year’s Adiepec is expected to host more than 10,000 delegates, 2,200 exhibiting companies, 900 speakers, and in excess 100,000 visitors from 135 countries.