VOLVO GIVES TESLA A SHOCK, AS OTHERS PLAN ELECTRIC PUSH
Volvo has shaken up the energy and auto industries with its plan for its new vehicles to be hybrids or electric by 2019, giving rival Tesla Inc. a big new competitor and raising new questions about future oil demand, write John D. Stoll and Tim Higgins.
“The Scandinavian company isn’t the only deep-pocketed rival planning to compete with the Silicon Valley pioneer. Nearly all global vehicle makers are mounting their own electric-car push, powered by ever-cheaper prices for batteries, stricter emissions rules and lucrative government incentives for customers,” the Journal reports.
Owned by China’s Geely Holding Group, Volvo on Wednesday presented plans to transition its entire lineup to vehicles powered either by batteries or hybrid electric-internal combustion engines by 2019.
The move follows announcements by other companies such as Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG that have also outlined plans to venture into the electric car market – a sign that the auto industry believes the internal-combustion engine’s days are numbered.
Big oil companies like Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC have increasingly bet on finding and developing natural gas, a lower-carbon fuel that is used to make electricity and that is likely to be in higher demand if electric vehicles take off.
Shell has said global oil demand will peak some time in the next five to 15 years, a trend driven in part by the predicted rise of electric vehicles.
SAUDI ARAMCO CUTS OIL PRICES IN ASIA AMID RISING COMPETITION
Saudi Arabia is set to cut the price of its lighter crude grades to Asia next month as the kingdom is feeling the heat from rivals ramping up their oil output, writes By Benoit Faucon.
Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco said “it would reduce the charges to its super light crude by 90 cents a barrel and by 20 cents for its light crude. By contrast, it kept its prices for light crude unchanged in the U.S. and increased them by 45 cents in the Mediterranean and by 55 cents in North West Europe,” the Journal reports.
The move comes as the kingdom is facing increased competition from other producers in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, most notably Libya, Nigeria and Iran, which are exempted from the oil cartel’s deal to cut global supply by about 1%.
QATAR LASHES BACK AT DEMANDS BY SAUDI-LED GROUP
A meeting to resolve a dispute between Qatar and several other Gulf states brought up more recriminations, write Sarah Kent and Dahlia Kholaif.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties and imposed a transport ban against Qatar, accusing it of supporting extremist groups and meddling in their domestic affairs. Qatar denies the allegations.
In a meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates discussed Qatar’s latest response to their 13-point list of demands for lifting sanctions, which include curbing diplomatic ties with Iran and closing the Al Jazeera television network.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri said after the gathering that Qatar’s reply had been “negative,” adding that it “reflects negligence and lack of seriousness in dealing with the origins of the problem as well as unawareness of the gravity of the situation.”
Qatar could face new punitive measures from the four nations.
Qatar’s foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, lashed back, saying in London that the allegations by Saudi Arabia and its allies were “clearly designed to generate anti-Qatar sentiment in the West” and that their demands didn’t represent “reasonable and actionable grievances.”
Oil prices recovered Thursday after an industry group said U.S. inventories fell last week.
The American Petroleum Institute said late Wednesday its data for the week ended June 30 showed a 5.8-million-barrel decrease in crude supplies and 5.7-million-barrel fall in gasoline stocks.
“The market is very excited about the falling inventory,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, chief commodities analyst at SEB Markets.
Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose 1.32% to $48.42 a barrel on London’s ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate futures were trading up 1.40% at $45.76 a barrel.