Saudi Aramco creates fuel retail subsidiary

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Saudi Aramco is establishing a domestic fuel retailing subsidiary as part of the national oil company’s drive to expand beyond crude oil production into downstream businesses. (File Photo/Reuters)
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Saudi Aramco signed a MoU with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Higher Institute of Technology and Training and the Al-Ayoun Charitable Society for Social Services to establish a center for date products in Al-Ahsa Governorate. (SPA)
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Saudi Aramco signed a MoU with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Higher Institute of Technology and Training and the Al-Ayoun Charitable Society for Social Services to establish a center for date products in Al-Ahsa Governorate. (SPA)
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Saudi Aramco signed a MoU with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Higher Institute of Technology and Training and the Al-Ayoun Charitable Society for Social Services to establish a center for date products in Al-Ahsa Governorate. (SPA)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Saudi Aramco creates fuel retail subsidiary

JEDDAH: Saudi Aramco is establishing a domestic fuel retailing subsidiary as part of the national oil company’s drive to expand beyond crude oil production into downstream businesses.
The new firm, Saudi Aramco Retail Co, will create a network of filling stations within Saudi Arabia to sell automotive fuels, Aramco said on Wednesday, without giving details of the size, cost or time-frame for the network.
In April, Aramco said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with French firm Total to evaluate the feasibility of jointly buying a retail service station network in Saudi Arabia.
But Wednesday’s statement did not mention Total or the possibility of buying existing stations. The new Saudi network will complement a global retail network which Aramco already operates through joint ventures, the company said.
In the long run, the new retail subsidiary could help Saudi authorities conduct an initial public offer of shares in Aramco.
Aramco is now focusing on a range of downstream projects, including the purchase of a major stake in petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries, which could boost its value and attractiveness to international investors, ultimately allowing the IPO to go ahead.
Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Higher Institute of Technology and Training and the Al-Ayoun Charitable Society for Social Services to establish a center for date products in Al-Ahsa Governorate, in the framework of the company’s ongoing efforts to empower local communities.
The MoU aims to establish a date products center that works to develop high quality products, such as molasses, date paste, and date sweets.
The material returns of these products far outweigh the direct selling of dates, which is positively reflected on the community. There are about 100 beneficiaries, where people with low incomes and special needs in the province will benefit from this center.
The center will support the beneficiaries by qualifying them to the highest standards and developing their capabilities in the fields of recycling, packaging and the marketing of dates.
Saudi Aramco Vice President, Nabeel Al-Jama’, said that this initiative is part of Saudi Aramco’s objectives to contribute to empowering the community through a series of community-based programs to support people in dire need to enable them to support themselves and their families.
“It also serves an estimated segment of the people of the province of Al-Ahsa by supplying jobs that provide them with sustainable financial income,” he said.
He added “the agreement will promote sustainability, citizenship and local added value and the company will continue to provide development projects that contribute to increasing GDP in partnership with private and government institutions.”
He also said the agreement will preserve natural resources and benefit from the competitive advantages of the Kingdom’s regions, inorder to develop them to benefit future generations.


Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

Updated 23 January 2019
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Time to tear down Mideast trade barriers, Davos panel hears

  • Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border could be followed elsewhere
  • Majid Al Futtaim CEO Alain Bejjani: Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade

DAVOS: Amid global trade wars and the rise of protectionism, Middle East economic and business leaders on Tuesday issued a clarion call for the exact opposite: To ease customs restrictions in the region.
A panel at Davos heard how an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the UAE to boost cooperation — including the reduction of obstacles to trade across the shared border — could be a blueprint for the wider region.
Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, Saudi minister of economy and planning, said a move to ease movement of traffic across the border — partly through the use of technology — could be followed elsewhere. “We want to establish a reference for others to follow,” he said.
Alain Bejjani, CEO of retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim, said “frictionless trade” would give the region a boost.
“Now there’s this seriousness between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, I hope it gets to frictionless trade,” he told Arab News on the sidelines of the Davos forum.
Bejjani declined to say whether that would involve a customs union, a common market or a common currency. Given the imposition of trade tariffs between the US and China, and the rise of Brexit, globalization — something espoused by many Davos delegates — is seen as on the wane.
But Bejjani said breaking down barriers in the Middle East could help it better compete with Western Europe and the US.
“For the past almost century now… we’ve been ingeniously working on making sure we put barriers across the Arab world. The reality is we have a market that’s as big as most of the largest markets in the world… if we’re smart enough to work together,” he told the Davos panel.
Khalid Al-Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, agreed that Saudi-UAE cooperation was “a great template” for others to follow.
Aside from “opening up” Middle East markets, Al-Rumaihi said harmonizing regulation in the region would also be beneficial to businesses and entrepreneurs.
“If the rules are changing in each country, if they’re not harmonized, it’s very difficult… for an entrepreneur (to understand) the regulatory environment. So they don’t scale very quickly, and that’s something we need to solve,” he said. Talk of freer trade within the Middle East is especially relevant when it comes to the Palestinian territories, which are subject to Israeli occupation and blockade.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said freer movement and a reduction of duties would help the economy grow.
“We need to see our products being waived (of) customs,” he said. “We need mobility — we’re under occupation.”