MODON signs 6,000 contracts worth SR600bn

MODON adopts a flexible strategy in providing manufacturers with lands according to a specific mechanism and special services, and spreading more industrial cities in different regions in the Kingdom.
Updated 22 July 2016

MODON signs 6,000 contracts worth SR600bn

RIYADH: The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) has inked more than 6,000 industrial, logistic and services contracts for investments that exceed SR600 billion ($160 billion) and provide job opportunities for more than 520,000 employees.
Sami Al-Hussaini, official spokesperson of MODON, told Asharq Al-Awsat that factories in the industrial zones have registered a remarkable rise during 2015, in addition to the completed and under-construction industrial projects, noting that MODON has enhanced the attraction of industrial investment.
Al-Hussaini noted that the authority has managed 35 industrial cities by the end of 2015 after it joined the development and operation of the industrial zone in Waad Al-Shamal Region.
These industrial cities are characterized by their geographical spread across the Kingdom, which is one of MODON’s main goals, he added.
According to the official spokesman, the manufacturing industries’ contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) reached 12.2 percent compared to 10.8 percent in 2014. He continued that these industries’ values reached around SR299 billion by the end of 2015.
Al-Hussaini asserted that the visit of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the United States and France marked a remarkable step toward the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 through the inauguration of strategic partnerships with leading companies aiming at importing knowledge and technique, Saudization of expertise in the fields of manufacturing, maintenance, research, development, and the promotion of digital transformation.
The prince has inked an agreement with Cisco Systems International, one of the biggest technology companies in the world of information industry, and launched negotiations with Dow Chemicals and industries working in retail and modern commerce, he stated.
The spokesman of MODON said that the national infrastructure is ready to embrace these major projects through their planning and executing expertise.
Al-Hussaini also revealed that developed industrial lands have registered a growth that jumped from 40.5 sqm in 2007 to 182.5 sqm in 2015.
MODON adopts a flexible strategy in providing manufacturers with lands according to a specific mechanism and special services, and spreading more industrial cities in different regions in the Kingdom, which decreased pending demands in 2015 to 11, compared to 1,525 in 2012, he added.
Al-Hussaini stated that the authority manages the development and operation of private industrial cities and technological zones based on its role in regulating and encouraging the establishment of such projects in industrial lands owned by the public and private sector and to encourage the private sector on participating in different activities related to those cities.
As part of enhancing this vital role, MODON works on recruiting the developers who aim at establishing private industrial cities by providing significant incentives and facilitations.
In this concern, Al-Hussaini revealed that MODON has succeeded over the past years in attracting manufacturers and in authorizing the establishment of new private industrial cities that comprise around 86 manufactures.

Eni issues fraud complaint over suspect Iraqi shipment

Updated 18 July 2019

Eni issues fraud complaint over suspect Iraqi shipment

  • Italian oil multinational asks if rejected tanker cargo contained Iranian crude targeted by US sanctions

LONDON: Eni has filed a fraud complaint against its former head of oil trading over a suspect Iraqi crude oil shipment, amid concerns inside the Italian oil major that the failed delivery may have included Iranian crude targeted by US sanctions.

In the filing to the Milan prosecutor’s office, Eni accused its former head of trading and operations, Alessandro Des Dorides, of misleading all parties to the deal and hiding the role of a small Italian oil trading firm, Napag.

Two other senior employees were either demoted or suspended as a result of the failed shipment, sources said.

Eni said it had suspended dealings with Napag in February over a separate investigation by Milan prosecutors into suspected obstruction of justice by members of Eni’s former legal team.

Eni said that it fired Des Dorides at the end of May, after he had been in his job about six months, for what it said was an unrelated petrochemical deal with Napag in 2018.

Napag did not respond to an emailed request for comment or answer phone calls.

Des Dorides did not respond to several requests for comment from Reuters via email or LinkedIn. Reuters could not locate legal representation for him.

Eni also declined to comment. Eni said it “does not comment on ongoing investigations and internal due processes.”

The crude arrived aboard the White Moon tanker at the end of May for offloading at the Milazzo refinery in Sicily, which is part-owned by Eni. The Italian oil major, which produces oil in Iraq and is a regular buyer of Iraqi crude, was solely responsible for the cargo.

However, Eni said it rejected the delivery because it did not match the Iraqi Basra Light crude it expected from its counterparty, the Dubai-based trading arm of Nigerian firm Oando.

After sitting offshore for three weeks, the White Moon sailed back to the Gulf. The tanker manager did not respond to a request for comment.

Two sources at Eni said the White Moon’s 1 million barrel cargo created panic within the company over fears the crude could be, at least partially, Iranian.

Handling Iranian oil would have breached sanctions the US reimposed or extended last year after quitting a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Washington aims to reduce Iran’s exports to zero and force the Islamic Republic to renegotiate that nuclear deal, curb its missile program and modify its behavior in the Middle East.

Iran has called on other parties to the accord to shield it from the effects of US sanctions and has sought to circumvent US restrictions by selling more of its oil undercover.

Following the rejection of the White Moon shipment in June, the head of the Italian Senate Industry Committee wrote to Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi to clarify the origin of an oil cargo labelled as coming from Iraq, the head of the committee said.

The head of the committee declined to comment to Reuters on the oil’s possible origins.

Eni said it bought the crude from Nigerian firm Oando, who in turn bought the oil from the London branch of Italy’s Napag.

Oando said it took back the cargo from Eni, but declined to comment further on the origins of the cargo as it was “in the middle of a resolution” over the rejected oil. Oando said the terms of the deal were “normal for the trading industry.”

Italian prosecutors cannot legally comment on any investigation unless there is an exceptional circumstance.

Trading sources familiar with the deal said the offer terms for the crude should have raised alarms internally even before its arrival off Sicily. The offer was at a significant discount to typical Iraqi trades, was paid for in euros and was from a firm that is new to the region, they said. Physical oil is commonly traded in dollars.

Eni said that the mismatch in the crude’s chemical composition “coupled with other red flags led to the decision to terminate the transaction.”

The oil loaded onto the White Moon came via two ship-to-ship transfers that makes the origin harder to track, sources said.

The crude bought from Oando was loaded onto the White Moon from another vessel, the New Prosperity, but that vessel itself had been loaded with oil from a third tanker, the Abyss.

The Abyss makes regular voyages through the Mideast Gulf with its transponder switched off for days at a time, according to Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking. The transponder was switched off between April 24 and May 3 when it transferred oil to the New Prosperity.