KSA to diversify oil economy to slow climate change

Updated 11 November 2015

KSA to diversify oil economy to slow climate change

OSLO: Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude oil exporter, plans to diversify its economy to help combat climate change in a move that could reduce expected carbon emissions by up to 130 million tonnes a year by 2030, the government said on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia is the last of the Group of 20 major economies to submit a plan to the United Nations before a summit in Paris from Nov. 30-Dec. 11 about ways to slow global warming.
It said it was aiming "to achieve mitigation co-benefits ambitions of up to 130 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent avoided by 2030 annually through contributions to economic diversification and adaptation."
The Kingdom did not give details of its emissions.
The mere submission of a plan by Saudi Arabia, which says its economy is threatened by a global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energies, is a positive sign for Paris.
"Thanks Saudi Arabia," Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, wrote in a Tweet, saying it was the 158th such national plan meant to combat heat waves, floods, droughts, downpours and rising sea levels.
Saudi Arabia said its plan was based on a main scenario in which it would diversify the economy with a "robust contribution" from export earnings from oil.
Earnings would be channeled into lower emission sectors "such as financial services, medical services, tourism, education, renewable energy and energy efficiency technology to enhance growth," it said.
An alternative scenario, not planned for now, would involve using more oil at home to fuel carbon-intensive industries such as petrochemicals, cement, mining and metal production, it said, thereby increasing domestic rather than overseas emissions.
It said it aims to use energy more efficiently and invest in solar, wind and geothermal power.
Saudi Arabia said in April it aimed to save the equivalent of 1.5 million barrels of oil a day through efficiency measures, limiting domestic consumption to sell more oil abroad.
Saudi Arabia's climate plan says it aims to build a plant capturing and using 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide a day for use in other petrochemical plants. It would operate a pilot plant at the Othmaniya oil reservoir.
The Kingdom has previously launched a pilot project to use solar energy to desalinate energy intensive seawater.
The government would also encourage investments in natural gas. It would seek to adapt to climate change, with measures ranging from reducing desertification to improving public transport.

Crisis at India’s Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

The debt-laden carrier has delayed payments to banks, suppliers, pilots and lessors. (Reuters)
Updated 35 min 20 sec ago

Crisis at India’s Jet worsens as it grounds planes, faces strike

  • More than 20,000 people are employed in the company
  • The company had to stop more than 50% of their aircraft due to insufficient funds

MUMBAI: India's Jet Airways was fighting multiple crises Wednesday after grounding six planes, leaving it with only a third of its fleet flying, while pilots have threatened to walk out and a major shareholder is reportedly looking to offload its huge stake.

The problems at India's number-two carrier come as other airlines struggle to turn a profit despite the sector rapidly expanding in the country over recent years.

Jet, which employs more than 20,000 people, is gasping under debts of more than $1 billion and has now been forced to ground a total of 78 of its 119 aircraft after failing to pay lenders and aircraft lessors.

In a statement late Tuesday announcing its latest grounding, the firm it said it was "actively engaging" with lenders to secure fresh liquidity and wanted to "minimise disruption".

But with hundreds of customers left stranded, Jet's social media accounts have been flooded with often suddenly stranded passengers demanding information, new flight tickets and refunds.

"@jetairways We book our flights in advance so that we save on travel cost and you are sending cancellation (message) now?", read one irate tweet on Wednesday.

"I have sent a DM (direct message) regarding my ticket details. Please respond!", said Sachin Deshpande, according to his Twitter profile a design engineer.

Another, Ankit Maloo, wrote: "Received an email for all together cancellation of flight days before departure without any prior intimation or communication over phone!"

The firm is also facing pressure from its many pilots who have not been paid on time, with unions threatening they will walk off the job if salaries do not arrive soon.

"Pilots will stop flying jet planes from 1st April 2019 if the company does not disburse due salaries and take concrete decisions," a spokesperson for the National Aviator's Guild, a pilots union, told AFP.

India's aviation regulator on Tuesday warned Jet Airways to ensure that staffers facing stress are not forced to operate flights.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Etihad Airways of the United Arab Emirates has offered to sell its 24 percent stake in Jet to State Bank of India (SBI).

A collapse would deal a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pragmatic pro-business reputation ahead of elections starting on April 11.

India's passenger numbers have rocketed six-fold over the past decade with its middle-class taking advantage of better connectivity and cheaper flights.

The country's aviation sector is projected to become the world's third-largest by 2025.

But like other carries, Mumbai-based Jet has been badly hit by fluctuating global crude prices, a weak rupee and fierce competition from budget rivals.

Alarm bells for Jet first rang in August when it failed to report its quarterly earnings or pay its staff, including pilots, on time. It then later reported a loss of $85 million.

In February, it secured a $1.19 billion bailout from lenders including SBI to bridge a funding gap, but the crisis has since deepened.

"Jet Airways is rapidly reaching a point of no return and running out of assets to keep itself afloat," Devesh Agarwal, editor of the Bangalore Aviation website, told AFP.

"The only solution is equity expansion by diluting its stakes but Jet is just trying to cut losses and running out of options," Agarwal said.

Shares in Jet Airways were down more than five percent on Wednesday.