Saudi Arabia Current Affairs - 2019

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Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz passes away

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has passed away. He was 93-year old patriarch.

Abdullah’s brother Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is his successor and new King of Saudi Arabia. Salman in turn, has named his half-brother Muqrin as the new crown prince and his heir.

Earlier, king Salman was the Crown Prince and defence minister since 2012. He was also the Governor of Riyadh province for five decades before that.

About Abdullah bin Abdulaziz

  • He was born in Riyadh in August 1924 (although actual date is disputed).
  • In 1962, he was appointed commander of the Saudi National Guard.
  • In 1982, he became crown prince and first deputy prime minister when King Fahd succeeded King Khalid.
  • In August 2005, he succeeded to the throne following the death of then King Fahd. He had handled the affairs of the country for a decade, before when his predecessor King Fahd suffered a debilitating stroke.
  • He played important role in introducing the cautious changes in ultraconservative Muslim kingdom by bringing significant reforms in the country. These include increased women’s rights and economic deregulation.
  • Under his leadership Saudi Kingdom joined hand with its powerful ally U.S. to fight against al-Qaida.
  • King Abdullah had been the guiding force behind Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as the Head of world’s largest crude oil producer and exporter.

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Iraq crisis could impact oil prices in India

OilIndian government is keeping a close watch on the ongoing crisis in Iraq where terrorist groups led by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) are attacking and capturing regions in the country. Though the crisis hasn’t yet caused any disruption in the country’s crude oil supplies to India, it has the potential to push up global crude prices. In FY14, India imported around 13% of its crude oil from Iraq, the most after Saudi Arabia, which provided for about 20% of the country’s oil imports of 190 million tonnes in the year. India’s dependence on Iraq crude oil surged since FY12 after US sanctions on Iran.

The average price of Indian crude oil basket that was at $106.94/ barrel during April-May has now increased to $110.31/barrel. The surge in the price has been witnessed since the intensification of fighting between militants belonging to the Sunni minority and Iraq security forces.

As per experts, the oil prices may soar if militants — now fighting Iraq’s security forces mostly in northern regions — advance into southern Iraq, which accounts for around three-quarters of the country’s crude production.

Normally, Indian refiners have stock of crude oil ranging from 15 days to nearly a month. Any deficiency in supplies from Iraq could be replenished from other suppliers such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but if disturbances prolong, it could impact Indian refiners.

Escalation of the price of crude oil directly impacts India’s fuel subsidy and could hurt government finances. Due to gradual price increase by the government the losses on diesel have now reduced to Rs 1.62 per litre and the government aims to make the fuel’s price fully market-determined. For instance, if there is an increase in international crude oil price by a dollar, price of diesel in India could rise by roughly 40 paise/ litre.

Month: Categories: International

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