INDONESIA: Jakarta targets 2004 budget deficit below 1% of GDP, 2003 target remains

NUSA DUA, Bali (AFX ASIA) – Indonesia is targeting to further bring down its budget deficit to below 1% of GDP in 2004 compared to the 1.78% estimated for 2003, Finance Minister Budiono said. He said the 2003 budget deficit forecast of roughly US$3.8 billion will be maintained even after yesterday’s announcement of a cutback...

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CHINA: Sinopec to lease 983 retail gas station from parent this year

HONG KONG (AFX-ASIA) – China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (386.HK) (Sinopec) said the company and its units will enter into 983 lease agreements for retail stations under its parent Sinopec Group in 2003. It expects the aggregate rental payable under the new agreements will be about 120 million yuan, a company statement said. (US$1=8.28 yuan)....

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AUSTRALIA: Woodside-Pioneer agree terms on Gulf of Mexico gas

>br< Woodside Energy (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of Australia's Woodside Energy Ltd., and Pioneer Natural Resources Company of the US have agreed to a two-year joint exploration programme over the shallow-water Texas Shelf region of the Gulf of Mexico. Woodside has taken a 50% interest in 47 offshore exploration blocks operated by Pioneer, an exploration...

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INDIA: Proposal to revise wharfage on transhipment of oil traffic at Vizag port

The Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) is reviewing the wharfage on transhipment of oil traffic through the Indian port of Vizag. Local news report said the review has become necessary as a result of Vaizag’s loss of traffic to the neighbouring ports of Kakinada and Kolkata. Kolkata has started handling huge crude carriers, even ultra large...

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QATAR: QGPC seeks to set up JV airline company

Qatar General Petroleum Corporation has applied again to India’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) for a licence to jointly set up an airline company with two Indian partners, according to local news reports. They are Great Eastern Shipping Company Ltd (Gesco) and UB Air Private Ltd of the United Breweries group. Last April, Qatar Petroleum...

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PHILIPPINES: Aboitiz Equity prequalifies for Subic power lines bidding in February

MANILA (AFX-ASIA) – Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc is among six to seven groups prequalified to bid for Subic Bay Freeport’s power distribution lines, executive vice president and chief operating officer Erramon Abotiz said. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is set to bid out the power lines to a private franchise holder by next month. “We’re...

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MARKETS: White House says monitoring possibility of tapping US’ emergency oil stocks

WASHINGTON (AFX) – President George Bush is watching world oil markets for the possibility that the US may need to tap its emergency crude oil reserves in the event of supply disruptions, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said. “We continue to monitor that on a regular basis,” Mr Fleischer told reporters when asked if the...

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INDIA: Cabinet clears privatisation of Bharat Petroleum, Hindustan Petroleum

NEW DELHI (AFX) – The cabinet has cleared the sale of Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Limited (HPCL), privatisation minister Arun Shourie said. He told reporters that 35.2% of BPCL willd be sold to domestic and overseas investors through equity issues. He said 5% will be offloaded to employees with the government retaining...

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CHINA: Edison’s Tecnimont wins US$220 m Chinese deal from CNOOC/Shell venture

MILAN (AFX) – Edison SpA said its engineering unit Tecnimont has won a contract worth about 220 mln usd from CSPC, a joint venture between China National Offshore Oil Corp and Shell Nanhai BV, to build a polyolefin production complex. Tecnimont will build three production units to manufacture 250,000 tonnes a year of low-density polyethylene,...

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AUSTRALIA: NWS venture signs LNG sale agreement with Shizuoka Gas

Australia’s North West Shelf LNG Venture last week announced the signing of a long-term liquefied natural gas (LNG) sale and purchase agreement with Japan’s Shizuoka Gas Co., Ltd. In a statement, the venture said: “Yearly volumes will vary over the term of the 24-year contract, peaking at 135,000 tonnes of LNG a year. First deliveries...

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MARKETS: Oil Breaks US$35/Barrel, Heads For New Highs As War Fears Dominate

Here’s another reason not to invade Iraq: oil. As talks intensify about a US military attack on Iraq, oil prices briefly broke through the US$35/barrel barrier late last month, and could rise further in the coming weeks. Former Saudi Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani has warned of crude prices hitting US$100 a barrel if...

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VIETNAM: PetroVietnam aims for 70% rise in gas production

HANOI (AFX-ASIA) – PetroVietnam said it plans to raise its gas production by 70% this year to 3.7 billion cubic metres as a result of its involvement in a BP PLC-led project to exploit offshore gas fields. Vu Khanh Truong, head of adminstration at the state-owned oil and gas company, said November’s inauguration of a...

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MARKETS: Refinery throughput declining on lower crude imports

Falling crude imports into the US are leading lower crude oil inventories, which in turn is leading to declining refinery throughputs, said the US Department of Energy for its latest report to January 17. The drop in crude imports is caused mostly by reduced Venezuelan imports as a result of on-going domestic political strife. Crude...

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CHINA: PGS agrees to sell Atlantis subsidiary to Sinochem for US$105 million

Norwegian oilfield services Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) has announced that it has agreed to sell its Atlantis unit to China National Chemicals Import & Export Corporation (Sinochem) for up to US$105 million. The deal, once thought to be worth US$200 million, is expected to be completed by February 20. In a statement, PGS said: “The gross...

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INDIA: ADB approves US$62 m loan for India power transmission project

MANILA (AFX-ASIA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it has approved a rupee-denominated loan of US$62 million for Tala-Delhi Transmission Ltd, India’s first public-private partnership in power transmission. The joint venture company will construct power transmission lines from Siliguri in West Bengal to Mandaula near New Delhi, the ADB said in a statement here....

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CHINA: China’s Sinopec lower on consoldiation; outlook remains strong

HONG KONG (AFX-ASIA) Ð China’s Sinopec has been trading lower over the past week on continued consolidation, although its business prospect has remained strong, as evidenced by its production data for 2002, dealers said. A dealer from a local brokerage said Sinopect was consolidating from its recent gains, but its business prospects remain positive. “It’s...

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AUSTRALIA: Woodside lower as analyts cut forecasts after Q4 output

SYDNEY (AFX-ASIA) Ð Shares of Woodside Petroleum Ltd have been trading lower since analysts cut their earnings forecasts after the company released a lower-than-expected fourth quarter production and sales report last week. Woodside said fourth-quarter sales fell 5.5% from the year earlier to A$554.6 million, while 2002 sales were down 6.4% at A$2.2405 billion, with...

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JAPAN: Nippon Oil, Idemitsu Kosan to extend alliance into joint tank use

TOKYO (AFX-ASIA) – Nippon Oil Corp and Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd will start sharing oil tanks in Okinawa in spring 2004, as part of their business alliance, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported, without citing sources. The two will jointly use Idemitsu’s tanks, while a tank facility of Nippon Oil on the island will be closed,...

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PHILIPPINES: Meralco boosted by higher power tariffs

MANILA (AFX-ASIA) – Manila Electric B shares have been boosted by the Philippines Energy Department’s advisory that Meralco will raise power rates in February by 0.13 pesos per kilowatthour to offset higher purchased power costs, dealers said. (US$1=52 pesos). “This is probably an initial reaction to that advisory. But we are still unconvinced if this...

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MARKETS: US has blueprint for long-term management role in post-war Iraq

WASHINGTON (AFX) – The US military will probably rule Iraq for several months after a possible war, with the chief mission of protecting the country’s oil fields and preventing rival factions from tearing the country apart, The Washington Post reported. Citing an almost finished government blueprint, yet to be presented to President George Bush, the...

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SINGAPORE: Oil, petrochemicals and chemicals cluster grew 7% in 2002

The output of Singapore’s oil, petrochemicals and chemicals industries grew by seven percent to S$31.2 billion last year. (US$1=S$1.73). Collectively known as the chemical sector, the industries reported value-added (VA) growth by 22% to S$4.9 billion, said the Economic Development Board. It said: “The petroleum industry remains a pillar of the chemicals cluster. Output Éwas...

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BANGLADESH: BPC launches crackdown on fuel racket

The Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has launched a crackdown on sales of adulterated fuels at its retail filling stations in the main cities of Dhaka and Chittagong. This week, it started sending out inspection teams to some 1,000 filling stations to check on the quality and quantity of fuels following allegations that dealers are mixing...

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AUSTRALIA: Esso to sell upstream assets

Esso Australia Resources Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of the US energy major, said it is selling off its interest in its oil and gas assets in waters off South Australia and Queensland states. Bidding will begin in the second quarter. Delhi Petroleum Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Esso, holds a 21% stake in...

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PHILIPPINES: World Bank says Manila needs 25 billion pesos over 10 years to enforce fuel norms

MANILA (AFX-ASIA) – The government must spend at least 25 billion pesos in the next 10 years to implement stricter fuel standards under the Clean Air Act, according to a World Bank study. (US$1=52 pesos). The World Bank said while the government is now implementing the first phase of tighter fuel specifications, which include lower...

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MARKETS: World Economic Forum seeks to build trust amid global gloom

GENEVA (AFX) – The annual gathering of the global political and economic elite at the World Economic Forum opened yesterday in Davos under the shadow of a possible war in Iraq, a stuttering economic recovery, and exceptionally tight security. “I cannot remember having the annual meeting taking place at such a special moment in time,...

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