Reopening of SABIC office in Iraq to benefit both sides: Experts

Petrochem giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) says it is reopening its office in Iraq. (Photo courtesy of SABIC website)
Updated 07 December 2017
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Reopening of SABIC office in Iraq to benefit both sides: Experts

RIYADH: Petrochemical giant Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) announced the reopening of its office in Iraq during the 7th Basra Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in the Iraqi city of Basra, which started on Tuesday.
SABIC participated in the event as part of a wider public and private sector delegation from Saudi Arabia, under the aegis of the Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA). SABIC also seeks to explore opportunities available in the important Iraqi market.
Economic analyst and former Shoura Council member Usamah Kurdi told Arab News that SABIC re-opening its office in Iraq is a major development in the Saudi-Iraqi relations. “I am delighted to know that Saudi investments will be made in Iraq, which would yield lucrative benefits for the two parties,” he said.
“Taking Iraq into the fold of the Arab region will also help fortify unity of the Arab world and also protect it from the undue intervention of Iran. Iraq is part of the Arab world,” he stressed.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih made the announcement following the inauguration of the oil and gas conference. He also witnessed the signing of 18 memorandums of understanding (MoU) between Saudi and Iraqi companies in the fields of energy, with his counterpart, Iraqi Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi.
Al-Falih said that SABIC is in the final stages of reopening its office in Iraq.
Musad Al-Zayani, a Dubai-based Saudi journalist who is an expert on the petrochemical industry, told Arab News that this move would boost the economy of Iraq, which needs a push. He said SABIC would be able to supply the needed raw materials to Iraq for its petrochemical industry. The SEDA seeks to promote trade between Saudi Arabia and Iraq and encourages Saudi companies to explore new opportunities to boost the Kingdom’s non-oil exports.
In a statement to Arab News, Dr. Talaat Al-Dhafer, SABIC vice president, KSA, Middle East and Africa region, who led the SABIC delegation, expressed his happiness over the company’s participation.
He said that SABIC was committed to contributing to the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy.


Ancient sport of tent-pegging returns to Saudi Arabia

In tent-pegging, a horseman uses lances or swords. The equipment used are standardized pegs with specific thickness, color, size and even angle. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 16 November 2018
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Ancient sport of tent-pegging returns to Saudi Arabia

  • The revival of a cavalry discipline adds to a number of equestrian events practiced in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Tent-pegging, an ancient cavalry equestrian sport, is making a return in the Kingdom with the establishment of tent-pegging teams and supporting competitions across the peninsula.
Many believe the sport originated in Central Asia and the Middle East, with top teams such as Egypt, Oman, Iraq, Jordan and Sudan competing in international championships, and Saudi Arabia’s recent participation drawing close attention.
For centuries, Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula and beyond were known for their equestrian skills, which were passed down through generations and recognized on a global scale. Historically renowned, Arabs and horses have shared a bond that helped shape many of today’s equestrian disciplines.
A mounted horseman and a team of four horsemen ride at a gallop and use swords and lances to pierce, pick up and carry away small targets inserted into or placed on the ground.

Saudi enthusiasts
For the past five years, Saudi equestrian enthusiasts have looked to tent-pegging as a rising sport in the region. With proper training and discipline, Saudis — both those with professional equestrian training and those without — have found added value in the sport with many taking part in international championships and tournaments.
Capt. Khalid Al-Suwaiket, founder of the Nomas tent-pegging team and an international judge, became interested in the sport in 2013 and became one of the first Saudis to go through formal intensive training in South Africa, a leader in the sport.
Since the introduction of tent-pegging recently, more people were turning to the sport than anticipated, he said.
“Tent-pegging is a sporting discipline that is one of the oldest in the region. Although show-jumping and polo are more common, it is making its way into the field slowly and professionally,” said Al-Suwaiket.
“There are about 15 teams across the Kingdom, and the numbers are rising. In 2015, tent-pegging teams turned from enthusiasts to professionals by participating in a championship in Oman. Various competitions took place in Al-Ula, Bgaig, Al-Qassim and other areas in Saudi Arabia, and points were gathered on equestrians to find the most qualified to participate in international competitions.”
Lances, swords and revolvers are used in tent-pegging. Each weapon has its own characteristics regulated by the international equestrian tent-pegging association, an international body that oversees competitions and all regulations related to the sport.
The equipment used are standardized pegs with specific thickness, color, size and even angle.
“With proper training, many of our riders were able to compete and find themselves in the top five, at least in some competitions. In my equestrian club, Al-Jawhara Stables, we train everyone and anyone willing to take up the sport. There is no age limit in tent-pegging, no weight limit and not even gender segregation,” said Al-Suwaiket.

Set of rules
“Unlike other equestrian disciplines, the rider takes command of the horse. Each host country provides the horses, unlike other disciplines, and the efficiency of each segment in the tournaments depends on the rider’s performance. Any points deducted or added are due to the performance.”
The sport depends on a specific set of rules that must be considered; the speed of a horse needs to be in a specific timeframe, a precise 60-degree angle of the peg, ring height, the length of a lance and sword as well as smooth finishing.
Each event consists of eight competitions, with a minimum of two runs.
Riders must perform each event as meticulously as possible to gather points. Overall, the four riders’ individual points in all competitions are added together to determine the winning team. Points are deducted if riders do not comply with the speed, the mount, the piercing of the target or other sets of regulations.
A number of young male and female equestrian enthusiasts are participating in various equestrian disciplines offered at the many stables around the Kingdom.