G20 backs Saudi Arabia’s circular carbon economy strategy

G20 backs Saudi Arabia’s circular carbon economy strategy
Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 September 2020

G20 backs Saudi Arabia’s circular carbon economy strategy

G20 backs Saudi Arabia’s circular carbon economy strategy
  • Energy ministers from world’s leading economies endorse ‘holistic, integrated, inclusive and pragmatic approach to managing emissions’ 


DUBAI: Energy ministers from the G20 group of leading economies have endorsed Saudi Arabia’s approach to managing harmful greenhouse-gas emissions in the global campaign against climate change.

At the end of a two-day meeting organized by the Saudi G20 presidency in Riyadh, the ministers issued a communique acknowledging that the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE), the Kingdom’s contribution to the global environmental debate, offers “a holistic, integrated, inclusive and pragmatic approach to managing emissions that can be applied reflecting a country’s priorities and circumstances.”

They added that “by encompassing the broad range of pathways and options available, CCE takes into account different national circumstances, while striving to meet our shared global aspirations.”

CCE is an energy strategy that advocates the “three Rs” of environmentalism: reduce, reuse and recycle carbon products. Crucially, however, it adds a fourth R: remove, in an effort to eliminate harmful pollutants from the atmosphere.

The wording of the communique was debated by ministers during a lengthy closed session on Monday, under the chairmanship of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister. It is believed that some countries argued that more emphasis should be put on a general global reduction in the use of hydrocarbon fuels.

The final communique represents a success for the Kingdom’s stance that all energy sources, and technology solutions, should be deployed in the efforts to implement a “green” recovery from the economic ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The energy ministers recognized “the key importance of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, taking into account system efficiency and national circumstances, including its specific resources endowment and its political, economic, environmental, social and risk-informed development contexts,” they said.

During the virtual meeting, their second this year, they also highlighted the importance of energy security and market stability as part of the economic recovery strategy. The Energy Focus Group of the G20 “discussed a range of measures, including the adjustment of energy production, monitoring of consumption and supply reserves, and data transparency.”

Its work highlighted the importance of sustained capital investments to support short- and long-term global energy security and stability. Some experts fear that investment in new energy sources could be affected by low energy prices.

“We emphasize the need to prevent supply disruptions and promote open, free, flexible, transparent, competitive, stable and reliable international energy markets, and stress the importance of diversification of energy sources, suppliers and routes,” the ministers said.

They also noted that “the world is not on track to meet universal energy access and eradicate the impacts on vulnerable communities and meet our sustainable-development goals.”

In 2018, about 2.8 billion people still lacked access to clean cooking facilities, and nearly 800 million people had no electricity, while many more had limited or unreliable access, the ministers noted.

Saudi Arabia holds the presidency of the G20 this year. The group’s annual Leaders’ Summit is due to be held in Riyadh in November.
 


Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment

Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 20 sec ago

Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment

Saudi looks to greener pastures as it boosts recycling investment
  • Saudi Arabia will look to invest almost SR24 billion ($6.4bn) in waste recycling by 2035
  • SIRC is keen to attract foreign direct investments worth SR6 billion, create 23,000 jobs, and contribute an amount of SR37 billion to the national GDP

Saudi Arabia will look to invest almost SR24 billion ($6.4bn) in waste recycling by 2035 as the country attempts to move to a more sustainable waste management system.

It will invest around SR1.3 billion ($346.6 million) in construction and demolition waste, and about SR900 million in industrial waste, while investments in municipal solid waste will exceed SR20 billion, and investments in other waste will exceed SR1.6 billion, Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC) CEO, Ziyad Al-Shiha said.

Saudi Arabia had 5 percent of its total waste recycled from the beginning of 2020 until the first half of this year 2021, including plastic, metal and paper, Al-Shiha said.

The PIF-owned company started investing in projects specifically designed to increase conversion rates and recycling operations by establishing alliances with private sector companies specialized in this field, he told Al Eqtisadiah.

He pointed out that there is cooperation with leading local companies such as SABIC and Aramco in the recycling of plastic waste, and Maaden in the recycling of mining waste, and several companies in the building materials sector in the field using waste to produce alternative fuels, as well as a group of companies in the field of metal recycling and electronics.

"The company is also working with legislators and regulators to separate waste from the source by placing dedicated containers, organizing transportation and waste collection operations, building sorting and treatment stations, as well as making use of non-recyclable waste to produce alternative fuels and energy, and converting organic waste into organic fertilizers for agriculture," Al-Shiha said.

"This enhances the added value and reduces the cost of environmental degradation, which is estimated at SR86 billion annually," he said.

He stated that the company is keen to attract foreign direct investments worth SR6 billion, create 23,000 jobs, and contribute an amount of SR37 billion to the national GDP.


He pointed out that the share of foreign investment in the field of recycling at the present time is relatively "low", compared to other sectors, especially that the recycling market in Saudi Arabia is still nascent, and the number of local specialized companies in this field is still limited.

SIRC seeks within its strategic objectives to divert 85 percent of hazardous industrial waste from landfills, and 100 percent of solid waste from landfills and 60 percent of construction and demolition waste from landfills by 2035, Al-Shiha said.

Accordingly, the company is working on several promising projects to invest in the circular economy, through global and local partnerships to improve value chains, he said.

Al-Shiha pointed out that SIRC is also working to promote the Green Saudi Initiative goals by shifting from landfills by 94 percent..


"More than 40 percent of the recyclable materials in the Kingdom, amounting to about 56 million tons annually, are concentrated in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, where 85 percent of them can be recycled and utilized for the purpose of obtaining a source of alternative energy and raw materials that enter into Manufacturing processes," Al-Shiha said.


The Kingdom recycles only about 10 percent of recyclable materials, while 90 percent of materials are disposed of by landfill, which causes harm to the environment and limits the use of recyclable materials, he explained.


He pointed out that one of the biggest challenges facing the sector at the present time is the lack of awareness of the importance of recycling, especially with the absence of a waste sorting system from the source. 

SIRC cooperates with the relevant government agencies to raise awareness, community participation, and disseminate awareness campaigns in the coming years, he said.

 


Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief

Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief
Updated 1 min 25 sec ago

Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief

Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief

DUBAI: While the global transition to clean energy is crucial, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said the current conversation around it is “misrepresented” and “distorted” by emotions. 

“Emotions have taken over industry fronts,” Barkindo said at a high-profile energy conference in Dubai on Tuesday, adding the global conversation has been skewed to mean “we have to transit from one set of energy sources to another.”

This has affected investor sentiment in some energy sources, the OPEC chief added, and will have implications for the ability of the oil industry to invest across value chains.

The pressure is being amplified by hundreds of climate litigations around the world, Barkindo said, as well as by civil societies and activists who are taking over the discussions.

In a previous speech, Barkindo referred to a Dutch court ordering Royal Dutch Shell to cut its global carbon emissions by 45 percent by the end of 2030 compared to 2019 levels, describing it as a “dramatic and far-reaching decision.”

These court decisions, he said, “could further shape energy policy directions and investment trends that are exclusionary in nature."

“This world will continue to consume energy. We project that demand will increase by 28 percent by 2045, and oil and gas will remain the dominant sources of energy,” Barkindo added. 

He said oil will contribute 28 percent of global energy needs by 2045, highlighting the importance of a balanced and inclusive approach in the global energy transition. Around 26 to 27 percent will be from gas. 

‘Practically irreplaceable’

“The world needs continuous, predictable, and adequate investments in energy, particularly in oil and gas which he said was practically irreplaceable because of the scale of its contribution to the global energy mix in the next decades”, he added.

Barkindo also called on the investment community “not to crowd out the oil and gas industry, because nobody can tell us how to replace this nearly 50 percent of the global energy mix.”

The comments were made at the Gastech conference in Dubai, attended by major energy and gas players in the industry, as well as ministers from the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, and Indonesia, among others. 

The OPEC chief said the event, which runs until Sept. 23, is the perfect place for the energy industry to “pause and ask the hard questions,” and to realign the global discussions on energy transition. 


Over 1.3 million homes to be completed in Saudi Arabia by 2030: Knight Frank

Over 1.3 million homes to be completed in Saudi Arabia by 2030: Knight Frank
Updated 12 min 55 sec ago

Over 1.3 million homes to be completed in Saudi Arabia by 2030: Knight Frank

Over 1.3 million homes to be completed in Saudi Arabia by 2030: Knight Frank

RIYADH: More than 1.3 million homes and 100,000 hotel rooms will be built in Saudi Arabia in the next nine years, according to the global real estate consultant Knight Frank.

The firm has made the prediction after the Kingdom witnessed a tenfold increase in the number of residential mortgages issued in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2016.

Knight Frank has estimated that close to $1 trillion worth of real estate and infrastructure projects have been announced in the wake of the National Transformation Plan, unveiled in 2016.

This is only a third of the total $3.2 trillion of spending that is planned, according to the consultancy firm.

Faisal Durrani, head of Middle East research at Knight Frank, said: “In the national office markets, headline rents were clearly impacted by the pandemic, but rates for the best offices in Riyadh have recovered to pre-pandemic levels and demand is growing rapidly. 

“The industrial markets too are expanding at an unprecedented rate as requirements outstrip demand in many locations.” 

The first quarter of 2021 has seen the highest ever number of new foreign business investment licenses issued, as the government’s efforts to reshape the economic and real estate landscape drove a sharp upturn in business activity.

Infrastructure building planned in the Kingdom includes 8 giga projects and new super cities, including the $500 billion NEOM and the $20 billion Diriyah Gate luxury neighbourhood in Riyadh.

Knight Frank’s Harmen de Jong said: “We are beginning to see increased appetite from private sector real estate developers in the form of public-private-partnership initiatives with large scale government led projects. 

“This is a key trend which will further support the realisation of Vision 2030.”


Britain may give state loans to energy companies as gas prices surge

Britain may give state loans to energy companies as gas prices surge
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 44 min 53 sec ago

Britain may give state loans to energy companies as gas prices surge

Britain may give state loans to energy companies as gas prices surge
  • The record prices have strained the British energy sector, destroying the business model of smaller energy traders and sending shockwaves through the chemical and fertiliser markets
  • Britain's biggest energy companies have asked the government for support to help cover the cost of taking on customers from firms that have gone bust

Britain is considering offering state loans to energy companies that take on customers from firms which go bust due to soaring wholesale natural gas prices, Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said on Tuesday.


Wholesale natural gas prices in Europe have soared this year, pushed up by high demand for liquefied natural gas in Asia, nuclear maintenance and lower-than-usual supplies from Russia.


The record prices have strained the British energy sector, destroying the business model of smaller energy traders and sending shockwaves through the chemical and fertiliser markets, leading to a shortage of carbon dioxide.


Britain's biggest energy companies have asked the government for support to help cover the cost of taking on customers from firms that have gone bust.


Kwarteng told Sky News when asked about state-backed loans that, "there are lots of options."


"It costs a company to absorb up to hundreds of thousands of customers from another company that's failed and there may well be a provision for some sort of loan and that's been discussed," he added.


Kwarteng said that in an average year about 5-8 smaller energy companies exited the market in Britain, but that this year the number could be bigger.


Britain could also look at providing some kind of economic support for the U.S. company that provides 60 percent of its carbon dioxide, CF Industries, Kwarteng said.

WINTER HEATING BILLS
European consumers are facing the prospect of soaring winter heating bills due to a confluence of global factors that have raised questions about how vulnerable Europe remains to swings in global energy prices.


Benchmark European gas prices have risen by more than 250 percent since January, with contributory factors also including low storage stocks, high EU carbon prices and low renewable energy output.


Britain privatised British Gas in 1986 and, after a series of deregulating steps since then, the consumer market has seen a plethora of different companies - some essentially just traders - offering gas and electricity to households.


"I don't think we should be throwing taxpayers' money at companies which have been, let's face it, badly run," Kwarteng said. "I don't want there to be a reward for failure," he added.


Kwarteng said he also hoped to have some resolution to a shortage of carbon dioxide, which is used to put the fizz in beer and soft drinks, and also used to stun pigs and poultry in abattoirs as well as to preserve the shelf-life of meat.


"Its pretty imminent but I'm confident, this week I hope we have a very clear plan to get CO2 production going again," he said, adding that he had spoken to finance minister Rishi Sunak about the situation.


CF Industries has halted its operations at two plants in Britain that produce CO2 as a byproduct of its main business, producing fertiliser. Kwarteng met Tony Will, the head of CF, on Sunday.

 


Cement factories in Egypt to operate with natural gas instead of coal

Cement factories in Egypt to operate with natural gas instead of coal
Updated 58 min 44 sec ago

Cement factories in Egypt to operate with natural gas instead of coal

Cement factories in Egypt to operate with natural gas instead of coal

RIYADH: Cement companies in Egypt are seeking to return to operating with natural gas fuels instead of coal, after nearly seven years of the government’s decision to compel companies to use a mixture of fuels from coal and waste, Head of Industrials Sector at the Arab African International Securities Company, Rehan Hamza, said.

The continuous pumping of natural gas, and the rise in coal prices, will be guarantors of a stable return for cement factories in Egypt to rely on natural gas, she said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

The Export Council for Building Materials has prepared technical studies on the economic feasibility of cement factories returning to work with natural gas in light of rising coal prices to record levels, in addition to the high cost of shipping and import, and the abundance of local natural gas, she said. The study will be presented to the Ministry of Trade and Industry within days,

The Egyptian Cabinet issued a decision to reduce the price of natural gas for industry to $4.5 per million thermal unit, in March last year.