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Oil prices rise above $50 a barrel on Brexit moves


Oil-price•MENA countries plan $900b investment despite low prices
Oil prices rose above the $50 a barrel mark yesterday, after falling to less that $47 barrels in the last one week as concerns over a potential U.K. exit from the European Union temporarily eased.

Brent crude oil, the global oil benchmark, rose by 2.1 per cent to $50.20 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures increased by1.8 per cent at $48.84 a barrel.

The price of crude oil broke through the $50 mark for the first time this year a month ago, but fell back last week.Campaigning for Britain’s vote on EU membership resumed on Sunday after a three-day hiatus prompted by the killing of a pro-EU lawmaker.

Three opinion polls ahead of Thursday’s vote showed the ‘Remain’ camp recovering some momentum, although the overall picture remained one of an evenly split electorate.Also, the price of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket of 13 crudes has also increased from $44.03 to $44.18 a barrel.

Meanwhile, Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), the multilateral development bank that is owned by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), said that despite the prevailing low crude oil prices, total committed and planned energy investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Iran, will reach $900 billion over the next five years.

OPEC published the extract in its latest energy review released yesterday, said the report titled: ‘MENA Investment Outlook: Big plans in uncertain times’, disclosed that despite uncertainties in the region’s investment out-look, APICORP estimates a 19 per cent increase in total MENA energy investment activity over the next five years, representing an increase of $145bn from the year before — to $900 billion.

The report points out that some $289 billion of the full investment figure has already been committed to projects under execution in the region, while an additional $611bn worth of development schemes is planned.

Leading the investment drive is Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE and Kuwait, which will look to invest across the energy value chain.The report noted that Iraq and Iran will “play catch-up” but are determined to push their ambitious oil and gas plans forward, even though they are expected to face many above-ground challenges.

The report states that Algeria has pledged to pump billions of dollars into developing its upstream sector. A good deal is also expected in Egypt as recent gas finds promise to meet rapidly rising demand for electricity.

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