Saudi Arabia, Iraq discuss economic opportunities in Jeddah meeting

Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih in a meeting with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi in Jeddah on Thursday. (AN photo)
Updated 11 August 2017
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Saudi Arabia, Iraq discuss economic opportunities in Jeddah meeting

JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih discussed economic opportunities in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi.
Al-Falih told Arab News that they discussed Iraq’s huge mineral reserves, which have yet to be explored or invested in.
They also discussed the country’s fertile agricultural land as Iraq is rich with water, he added.
Al-Falih said Al-Luaibi, who was accompanied by a high-level delegation, affirmed Iraq’s commitment to reducing oil exports to shore up prices. Al-Falih said they agreed to open offices for big Saudi corporations in Iraq to assess the market, with the aim of exporting high-quality Saudi products directly rather than via third parties.
This will be facilitated by the opening of border crossings between the two countries, the Saudi minister said.
Companies that stand a good chance of entering the Iraqi market include the Saudi Basic Industry Corp. (SABIC), the Saudi Arabia Mining Co. (Maaden) and Saudi Aramco.
Al-Luaibi told Arab News that his visit to the Kingdom was successful.
He expressed delight at the projects he saw during his visits to SABIC, Aramco and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yabu.
He said he highly valued the chance to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who stressed the Kingdom’s keenness in Iraq’s security and welfare, and highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, industry and agriculture.
Al-Luaibi said anticipated bilateral investments may exceed tens of billions of dollars, adding that this is a strategic objective for Iraq.
He said his country’s oil policy matches the Kingdom’s in terms of reducing exports, adding that Iraq’s exports currently stand at 195,000 barrels per day.


China cools solar power drive

Updated 15 min 58 sec ago
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China cools solar power drive

  • China announced last year that it would suspend new projects after a record 53 GW capacity increase in 2017 left it struggling to find spare grid capacity
  • China is also aiming to gradually phase out direct financial support to the solar industry after a decline in costs

SHANGHAI: China put just over 43 gigawatts (GW) of new solar generation capacity into operation in 2018, down 18 percent from a year earlier, an industry group said on Thursday, after a government move to curb new capacity and ease a subsidy payment backlog.
The new generation took the country’s total installed solar power capacity to more than 170 GW by the end of the year, the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA) said.
China announced last year that it would suspend new projects after a record 53 GW capacity increase in 2017 left it struggling to find spare grid capacity and pay a renewable subsidy backlog amounting to more than 140 billion yuan ($20.69 billion) last year.
China is also aiming to gradually phase out direct financial support to the solar industry after a decline in costs, announcing last week that it would launch a series of new subsidy-free projects.

 

 But solar manufacturers are already feeling the pinch, and warned last year they were facing closure after a surge in new production capacity in previous years sent component prices plummeting.
“Facing a lot of complicated domestic and overseas trends, the sector as a whole is under big pressures and substandard producers are expected to promptly exit the market,” said Wang Bohua, CPIA vice-chairman, in a speech on Thursday.
Wang said output of solar equipment continued to increase in 2018 despite the decline in new domestic capacity, with solar module production up 14.3 percent to an equivalent of 85.7 GW.
Much of the surplus production was diverted to overseas markets, with solar component export earnings rising 10.9 percent from a year earlier to $16.11 billion, Wang said, according to a transcript published on CPIA’s official WeChat social media account.
China’s solar manufacturers have been accused of using subsidies to drive down prices and put foreign competitors out of business, but they claim they have been the beneficiary of a fierce competitive environment forcing them to reduce costs.
The US imposed tariffs on China’s solar products last year, and its share of China’s exports fell from 5.9 percent in 2017 to 0.24 percent in 2018. The bulk of China’s overseas shipments went to India, South East Asia and Europe.

FACTOID

170 gigawatts — China’s total installed solar power capacity