US Coast Guard Says Hurricane May Shut Oil Ports

 Vehicles are carried by ferry across Aransas Pass as Hurricane Beryl moves closer to the Texas coast, Saturday, July 6, 2024, in Port Aransas, Texas. (AP)
Vehicles are carried by ferry across Aransas Pass as Hurricane Beryl moves closer to the Texas coast, Saturday, July 6, 2024, in Port Aransas, Texas. (AP)
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US Coast Guard Says Hurricane May Shut Oil Ports

 Vehicles are carried by ferry across Aransas Pass as Hurricane Beryl moves closer to the Texas coast, Saturday, July 6, 2024, in Port Aransas, Texas. (AP)
Vehicles are carried by ferry across Aransas Pass as Hurricane Beryl moves closer to the Texas coast, Saturday, July 6, 2024, in Port Aransas, Texas. (AP)

The US Coast Guard warned of possible Texas port closures from Corpus Christi to Houston and began restricting vessel traffic because of Tropical Storm Beryl, which is expected to become a hurricane before making landfall by Monday morning at Port Lavaca.

Port closures could bring to a temporary halt shipments of crude oil to refineries and motor fuels from those plants.

Port condition "Yankee" was set by the Coast Guard captain of the port of Corpus Christi on Saturday afternoon, restricting vessel movement in ports from Matagorda Bay, 101 miles (163 km) southwest of Houston, to the US-Mexico border.

Citgo Petroleum Corp was cutting production at its 165,000 barrel-per-day Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery on Saturday ahead of the approach of Beryl to the Texas coast.

Citgo plans to keep the Corpus Christi refinery running at minimum production as the storm moves up the coast toward a projected landfall at Port Lavaca, a pipeline hub.

Oil producer Shell Plc completed the evacuation of workers from its Perdido production platform in the US-regulated Gulf of Mexico ahead of the approach of the storm, the company said on Friday night.

Production on Perdido was shut prior to the evacuations. Shell said it also evacuated workers from the Whale platform, which is due to start production later this year.

Gibson Energy, which operates a large oil terminal in Corpus Christi, said operations were continuing, but it would take further steps depending on the forecast.

The storm was moving on Saturday with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph (95 kmh), the National Hurricane Center said.

The latest forecasts would put Corpus Christi on the dry side of the storm where the lowest winds and least rain could be expected. But Beryl could bring gale-force winds to the port, which is why the Coast Guard restricts traffic or shuts the port.

Most of the northern Gulf's offshore oil and gas production is east of Beryl's forecast track.

US Gulf of Mexico offshore production of about 1.8 million barrels per day accounts for about 14% of total US crude output, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Any impact on supplies could push up prices of US oil and offshore crude grades.

Oil major Chevron Corp, among the biggest US offshore producers, said on Friday that production from its operated assets remained normal. But it evacuated nonessential personnel from some of its Gulf of Mexico facilities.

Murphy Oil Corp said it has not shut in production or evacuated personnel, and continues to monitor the storm.



New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, that work is underway on new regulations and legislation that will facilitate the investment process in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major transformation in the tourism sector after it enacted and developed a number of regulations and launched mega projects that allowed the country to attract more than 100 million visitors last year, the target initially set for 2030.
During a press conference on Wednesday at the Abu Faraj heritage palaces in Al-Aziza, west of the city of Abha in the southern Aseer region, Al-Khatib revealed the ministry’s moves to provide appropriate long-term funding at a competitive cost in order to encourage investment in the Saudi tourism system.
In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister pointed to the most prominent achievements in the sector, revealing that the Kingdom received 60 million visitors during the first half of 2024, with spending amounting to SAR 143 billion ($38.1 billion), recording about 10 percent growth in the number of tourists and spending.
He added that by the end of the first half of this year, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product had reached 5 percent, and was moving steadily toward achieving 10 percent, which is equivalent to SAR 600-700 billion of tourism income.
Moreover, Al-Khatib also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Colleges of Excellence Company, with the aim of developing human capabilities and expanding international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.
The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.
The minister added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SAR 7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SAR 35 billion.”
He pointed out that the fund financed 10 major projects in the Aseer region, ranging from international hotels to multi-use projects with a value exceeding one billion riyals. International hotel brands included: InterContinental Residence in Abha, DoubleTree in Khamis Mushait Governorate, and Khayal Walk Boulevard.