Crown prince a key player in COVID-19 fight

A picture taken on March 26, 2020, shows an empty King Fahad main street in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after the Kingdom began implementing an 11-hour nationwide curfew. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 21 June 2020

Crown prince a key player in COVID-19 fight

  • How Saudi Arabia is ‘heading toward the good’ in its local and global partnerships

RIYADH: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been instrumental in Saudi Arabia’s efforts to ensure the safety of its citizens and residents.

“We are heading toward the good, God willing,” the crown prince told senior government officials last month. “This is thanks to the fortitude of the men of Saudi Arabia, both military and civilians.”

A tangible reflection of these efforts was witnessed in April when the Kingdom’s National Unified Procurement Company and China’s Beijing Genome Institute signed an agreement to enable the Kingdom to conduct up to 60,000 tests a day, some in unique inflatable mobile laboratories, and test 14.5 million people — more than 40 percent of Saudi Arabia’s population.

The $265-million deal meant China would supply the Kingdom with 9 million coronavirus test kits, 500 specialist technicians and six test laboratories. The Chinese technicians were also commissioned to train Saudi staff to test for COVID-19. The mobile Huo Yan laboratories are modular air domes that support screening and detection. The inflatable labs can be transported by air as standard freight on any commercial passenger plane.

The Kingdom has also purchased test kits and chemical reagents from the US, Switzerland and South Korea.

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READ MORE: Mohammed bin Salman: 3 years as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince

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In a separate endeavor, prior to the agreement, King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center delivered a shipment of 60 ultrasound machines, 30 non-invasive ventilators, 89 defibrillators, 277 patient monitors, 500 infusion pumps and three dialysis machines to the Chinese city of Wuhan, from which the COVID-19 outbreak originated late last year.

While taking the appropriate measures to contain the spread of the virus, the Kingdom’s leadership has enabled government agencies to provide financial packages worth more than SR170 billion to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Those packages have so far benefited 9,000 factories, about 3,000 of which have been working at full capacity to provide much-needed food and pharmaceutical products.

Enayah, Saudi Arabia’s largest manufacturer of medical masks and gowns and medical kits, set a target of 10 million masks to be produced per month and 800,000 gowns per week. It is currently producing 250,000 comprehensive medical kits per week for local use and for export to the GCC, the wider MENA region, and Europe.

Avalon Pharma, the Kingdom’s largest manufacturer of sanitizing lotions, has increased its production to 50 tons per day — twice the normal production rate. It has also been exporting to the GCC and MENA region.

As Abdulrahman Al-Hussain, spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and Investment, told Arab News last month: “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic crisis in all countries. I think that one of the main pillars of the Kingdom’s vision is the private sector and commercial establishments.”


New agreement for green hydrogen production plant in NEOM

Updated 07 July 2020

New agreement for green hydrogen production plant in NEOM

  • The joint venture project is the first partnership for NEOM with international and national partners in the renewable energy field

JEDDAH: A $5 billion production facility powered by renewable energy to supply 650 tons of carbon-free hydrogen daily for export to global markets is to be built at the main NEOM site under a new agreement.

Air Products, a world-leading industrial gases company, and ACWA Power, a developer and operator of power generation and desalinated water production plants, signed the agreement with NEOM to build the hydrogen-based ammonia production facility, which will be equally owned by the three partners. It aims to produce green ammonia for export to global markets by 2025.

The joint venture project is the first partnership for NEOM, a new model for sustainable living located in the north west corner of the Saudi Arabia, with international and national partners in the renewable energy field. It will include the innovative integration of more than four gigawatts of renewable power from solar and wind power and storage using various methods of production.

“This partnership reflects our deep commitment to developing a carbon-positive society that will be a beacon for sustainable living and a solution to many of the environmental challenges facing the world,” said Nadhmi Al Nasr, NEOM CEO.

“NEOM’s Board of Directors, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the company’s executive team are delighted to announce this significant milestone, the world’s largest renewable hydrogen project, for NEOM to make it a global leader in green hydrogen production and green fuels. We are also excited that two world-class organizations, Air Products and ACWA Power, have joined us in developing this major project, the first of many developments at this scale that will put NEOM at the heart of a new future society.”

“We are honored and proud to partner with ACWA Power and NEOM and use proven technologies to make the world’s dream of 100 percent green energy a reality,” said Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer for Air Products.

Ghasemi went on to say that harnessing the unique profile of NEOM’s sun and wind to convert water to hydrogen will yield a clean source of energy on a massive scale and will rid the world of over 3 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and eliminate smog-forming emissions and other pollutants from the equivalent of over 700,000 cars.

Air Products will be the exclusive off-taker of the green ammonia and intends to transport it around the world to be turned into green hydrogen for the transportation market.

ACWA Power chairman Mohammed A. Abunayyan said that “based in NEOM’s Industrial Cluster and enabled by its unique mandate, this investment will integrate and localize cutting-edge technologies that will harness solar and wind power to produce sustainable and globally accessible green energy.”

“ACWA Power has a proven track record of leveraging pioneering renewable technologies to deliver carbon-free power at the lowest cost. With our global experience, we are confident that our collaboration with an industry-leading company like Air Products will create significant opportunities in the production of green hydrogen, and further us in our goal to help countries meet their clean energy targets and unlock significant socio-economic benefits.”