Saudi Aramco’s Amin Nasser warms the night in glittering Davos reception

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser thanked guests for their continuing collaboration with the company at a function in the InterContinental hotel, in Davos. (Courtesy WEF)
Updated 25 January 2019
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Saudi Aramco’s Amin Nasser warms the night in glittering Davos reception

  • The world’s biggest oil company greeted political and business leaders at the InterContinental hotel
  • The guests included ministers and oil executives from Saudi Arabia and top business executives and financiers from around the world

DAVOS: Saudi Aramco welcomed a delegation of the global elite to a reception at the World Economic Forum which, even by the glittering standards of Davos, was a sumptuous affair.

Hosted by CEO Amin Nasser, the world’s biggest oil company greeted political and business leaders at the InterContinental hotel, a short drive through the ice night from the main Congress Hall venue.

Though the temperature outside was well below zero, the hospitality in the cavernous reception hall was warm. The guests — including ministers and oil executives from Saudi Arabia and top business executives and financiers from around the world — were treated to a selection of gourmet canapés and refreshments, and all seemed to be enjoying the convivial atmosphere.

Joe Kaeser, chief executive of the German engineering giant Siemens, said: “This is a pleasant break from the back-to-back business meetings of Davos.” His company is in the running for some of the big contracts on prospect in the mega-projects underway in the Kingdom as part of the Vision 2030 diversification strategy.

The guests were treated to an extravagant visual exhibition of the Manifa oilfield off the Saudi Arabian Gulf coast, which has been praised throughout the world for its innovative approach to combining oil exploration with environmental concern.

During its annual meeting the World Economic Forum recognized another Aramco project, the Uthmaniyah gas plant, as a “lighthouse” manufacturing facility and a technology leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Nasser said: “The recognition of the Uthmaniyah Gas Plant demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s shift to transform and adapt in the rapidly changing global energy landscape. Through the application of 4IR technologies, we can be at the forefront of the industry helping to shape the future of energy as part of Saudi Aramco’s mission to supply oil and gas around the world safely and reliably.”

In a short speech, Nasser thanked the guests for their continuing collaboration with Aramco, before handing over to Saudi musicians, including Madani Abadi on strings.

He revealed that Abadi was a former Aramco employee, and joked: “He used to work for us, but now he has a much better job.”


Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

Updated 24 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi aims to lure start-ups with investment in new technology hub

  • The initiative will help Abu Dhabi reduce reliance on oil
  • Mubadala hopes to attract Chinese and Indian companies

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi will commit up to $272 million to support technology start-ups, it said on Sunday, in a dedicated hub as part of efforts to diversify its economy.

US tech giant Microsoft will be a strategic partner, providing technology and cloud services to the businesses that join the hub as the capital of the United Arab Emirates continues its push to reduce reliance on oil revenue.
Abu Dhabi derives about 50 percent of its real gross domestic product and about 90 percent of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, according to ratings agency S&P.
The emirate launched a $13.6 billion stimulus fund, Ghadan 21, in September last year to accelerate economic growth. Ghadan means tomorrow in Arabic. The new initiative, named Hub 71, is linked to Ghadan will also involve the launch of a $136 million fund to invest in start-ups, said Ibrahim Ajami, head of Mubadala Ventures, the technology arm of Mubadala Investment Co.
The goal is to have 100 companies over the next three to five years, Ajami said. “The market opportunities in this region are immense,” he added.
Mubadala, with assets of $225 billion and a big investor in tech companies, will act as the driver of the hub, located in the emirate’s financial district.
Softbank will be active in the hub and support the expansion of companies in which it has invested, Ajami said, adding that Mubadala is also aiming to attract Chinese and Indian companies, among others.
Mubadala which has committed $15 billion to the Softbank Vision Fund, plans to launch a $400 million fund to invest in leading European technology companies.
Incentives mapped out by the government include housing, office space and health insurance as part of the $272 million commitment, Ajami said.
Abu Dhabi will also announce a new research and development initiative on Monday linked to the Ghadan 21 plan, according to an invitation sent to journalists.