Saudi Seera Group signs deal with Hilton

For Seera Group, the deal entails promoting the Hilton chain to visitors coming from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt. (Reuters/File Photo)
For Seera Group, the deal entails promoting the Hilton chain to visitors coming from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt. (Reuters/File Photo)
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Updated 16 December 2020

Saudi Seera Group signs deal with Hilton

For Seera Group, the deal entails promoting the Hilton chain to visitors coming from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt. (Reuters/File Photo)
  • For Seera the deal entails promoting Hilton chain to visitors coming from KSA, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt

JEDDAH: Saudi travel and tourism company Seera Group has signed a distribution agreement with the Hilton chain, gaining access to the franchise’s extensive portfolio of 6,300 hotels across 118 countries.

For Seera Group, this entails promoting the Hilton chain to visitors coming from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Egypt.

In return, businesses under Seera Group will get direct accessible to Hilton customers. That includes travel brand Al-Mosafer in the Kingdom, destination management firm Discover Saudi and UAE-based travel agency Tajawal.

Seera Group’s partners, including its subsidiary Hajj and Umrah business Mawasim, will be able to cut impressive deals with room rate and availability with Hilton.

Seera Group CEO Abdullah Al-Dawood said as a major stakeholder in the tourism and travel sector, the company is keen on “redefining the hospitality experience and setting new benchmarks.”

He added: “Through our partnership with Hilton, we are expanding our hotel portfolio that will accelerate our business growth and enable our customers to enjoy exceptional hospitality experiences across a wide destination network.”

Hilton expressed its excitement to partner with Seera Group, building on a 15-year-old relationship with it.

“We’re delighted to have signed the direct connectivity distribution agreement which allows us access to Seera’s overseas offices, as well as additional channels such as Al-Mosafer,” said Stijn Bastiaens, vice president and Hilton’s commercial director in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

Seera Group has announced a series of hotel launches starting next year with Comfort Hotel and Suites in March and Clarion Hotel by April, both in Jeddah. Comfort Hotel Riyadh will open in November.

The announcement aligns with the company’s 2018 strategy of furthering hotel development financing on six hotels, scaling up its occupancy with 1,000 rooms.


Saudi Arabia’s $100-billion plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100-billion plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
Updated 18 min 15 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s $100-billion plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100-billion plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
  • Jafurah is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s goal of producing half of its electricity from gas

LONDON: Saudi Aramco’s award of $10 billion worth of contracts on its giant Jafurah project has finally fired the starting gun to develop what is thought to be the world’s biggest shale gas field outside of the US.

Having battled with America’s shale oil producers for market share over the last decade, the Kingdom is now adopting the advanced low-cost techniques of its fracking rivals and is set to spend up to $100 billion on Jafurah to rapidly increase its domestic gas production.

The Kingdom is estimated to be sitting on the fifth largest shale gas reserves in the world.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman earlier said the Jafurah gas field will place the Kingdom third in the world in natural gas production by 2030.

But does Saudi Arabia really have the potential to replicate the soaring success of US shale gas development?

Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser certainly thinks so. Announcing the contracts this week, he said: “It is a breakthrough that few outside the Kingdom thought was possible and which has positive implications for energy security, economic development and climate protection.”

Production is scheduled to begin within the next three years. The field will supply cleaner natural gas for domestic use in the Kingdom, along with feedstock for both petrochemical production, and crucially, low carbon hydrogen power.

Jafurah is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s goal of producing half of its electricity from gas and half from renewables as it pursues its 2060 net-zero target. Indeed, Jafurah alone is forecast to replace up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day that would otherwise be used for domestic consumption.

All this serves the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy from crude oil and sharply reduce its carbon footprint, even if the scheme will enable the Kingdom to increase its crude exports. But it was thought that fracking in Saudi Arabia will be more expensive than it is in the US, not least because the Kingdom is not renowned with an abundance of natural water, a critical component in the fracking process.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Production at Jafurah is expected to commence in 2024 and is forecast to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas, 418 million cubic feet per day of ethane and about 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates by 2030.

• Investment over that period will amount to $68 billion, but is expected to total more than $100 billion overall.

• The Jufarah project will create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom.

The fracking process requires pumping water, sand and chemicals into the fields at high pressure which fractures the shale rock and allows the hydrocarbons to escape.

“We managed to reduce drilling cost by 70 percent and stimulation cost by 90 percent since the 2014 cost benchmark, while increasing well productivity sixfold compared with the start of the program,” Nasser said on Monday. 

Aramco plans to use seawater for fracking at Jafurah. Earlier this year, the company also invited bids for a water desalination plant at the field. Desalinated water is used in gas processing plants. An earlier bidding process was abruptly canceled last year and the current tender process has reduced the capacity of the desalination plant by around 20 percent.

However, former Aramco Executive VP Sadad Husseini insists the “water issue” is a red herring.

He told Arab News: “The water issue was resolved years ago. We have aquafiers that hold saline water and the Saudi oil industry has a long history of using this water for drilling.” Husseini also dismissed cost comparisons with the US shale industry.

He said: “The cost of fracking depends on the depth of the reservoir. In the US, they work with shallower reservoirs, around 3,000 to 4,000 feet deep, which makes fracking less costly. In Saudi Arabia, the reservoirs will be 9,000 to 10,000 feet deep. It’s technically more challenging, but unlike the US, those deep wells are not just producing gas, they’re also producing a lot of condensates, most notably ethane, along with gas, and that is profitable and makes the economics of this field work.

Ethane feeds the petrochemical industry.” He added: “It’s a challenging development but it wouldn’t have advanced if the issues hadn’t been resolved.

Developing shale gas reserves outside the US has not been particularly successful, partly due to environmental concerns — particularly in large population centers in Europe, a lack of infrastructure, and difficulties accessing and disposing of water used in the process.

However, Jafurah is close to the Gulf coast with relatively easy access to seawater, and is also adjacent to the world’s largest oilfield, Ghawar, and its substantial energy infrastructure.

Production at Jafurah is expected to commence in 2024 and is forecast to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas, 418 million cubic feet per day of ethane and about 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates by 2030. Investment over that period will amount to $68 billion, but is expected to total more than $100 billion overall.

Domestic employment, another key plank of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, is also central to the scheme. It is understood that along with fields under development in North Arabia and South Ghawar, the Jufarah project will create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom.

The scheme will also incorporate new technology, most notably using industrial internet of things and video analytics.

The Jafurah project will not only aid the Kingdom’s environmental ambitions but will also support its petrochemicals industry. “Its ethane and liquified natural gas are highly valuable feedstocks for the Kingdom’s petrochemical’s industry,” the Aramco chief said.


Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
Updated 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
  • Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

LONDON: Saudi Aramco’s award of $10 billion worth of contracts on its giant Jafurah project has finally fired the starting gun to develop what is thought to be the world’s biggest shale gas field outside of the US.
Having battled with America’s shale oil producers for market share over the last decade, the Kingdom is now adopting the advanced low-cost techniques of its fracking rivals and is set to spend up to $100 billion on Jafurah to rapidly increase its domestic gas production.
The Kingdom is estimated to be sitting on the fifth largest shale gas reserves in the world.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman earlier said the Jafurah gas field will place the Kingdom third in the world in natural gas production by 2030.
But does Saudi Arabia really have the potential to replicate the soaring success of US shale gas development?
Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser certainly thinks so. Announcing the contracts this week, he said: “It is a breakthrough that few outside the Kingdom thought was possible and which has positive implications for energy security, economic development and climate protection.”
Production is scheduled to begin within the next three years. The field will supply cleaner natural gas for domestic use in the Kingdom, along with feedstock for both petrochemical production, and crucially, low carbon hydrogen power.
Jafurah is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s goal of producing half of its electricity from gas and half from renewables as it pursues its 2060 net-zero target. Indeed, Jafurah alone is forecast to replace up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day that would otherwise be used for domestic consumption.
All this serves the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy from crude oil and sharply reduce its carbon footprint, even if the scheme will enable the Kingdom to increase its crude exports.
But it was thought that fracking in Saudi Arabia will be more expensive than it is in the US, not least because the Kingdom is not renowned with an abundance of natural water, a critical component in the fracking process.
The fracking process requires pumping water, sand and chemicals into the fields at high pressure which fractures the shale rock and allows the hydrocarbons to escape.
“We managed to reduce drilling cost by 70 percent and stimulation cost by 90 percent since the 2014 cost benchmark, while increasing well productivity six-fold compared with the start of the program,” Nasser said on Monday.
Aramco plans to use seawater for fracking at Jafurah. Earlier this year, the company also invited bids for a water desalination plant at the field. Desalinated water is used in gas processing plants. An earlier bidding process was abruptly canceled last year and the current tender process has reduced the capacity of the desalination plant by around 20 percent.
However, former Aramco Executive VP Sadad Husseini insists the “water issue” is a red herring.
He told Arab News: “The water issue was resolved years ago. We have aquifers that hold saline water and the Saudi oil industry has a long history of using this water for drilling.”
Husseini also dismissed cost comparisons with the US shale industry.
He said: “The cost of fracking depends on the depth of the reservoir. In the US, they work with shallower reservoirs, around 3,000 to 4,000 feet deep, which makes fracking less costly. In Saudi Arabia, the reservoirs will be 9,000 to 10,000 feet deep. It’s technically more challenging, but unlike the US, those deep wells are not just producing gas, they’re also producing a lot of condensates, most notably ethane, along with gas, and that is profitable and makes the economics of this field work. Ethane feeds the petrochemical industry.”
He added: “It’s a challenging development but it wouldn’t have advanced if the issues hadn’t been resolved.
Developing shale gas reserves outside the US has not been particularly successful, partly due to environmental concerns - particularly in large population centers in Europe, a lack of infrastructure, and difficulties accessing and disposing of water used in the process.
However, Jafurah is close to the Gulf coast with relatively easy access to seawater, and is also adjacent to the world’s largest oilfield, Ghawar, and its substantial energy infrastructure.
Production at Jafurah is expected to commence in 2024 and is forecast to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas, 418 million cubic feet per day of ethane and about 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates by 2030. Investment over that period will amount to $68 billion, but is expected to total more than $100 billion overall.
Domestic employment, another key plank of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, is also central to the scheme. It is understood that along with fields under development in North Arabia and South Ghawar, the Jufarah project will create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom.
The scheme will also incorporate new technology, most notably using industrial internet of things and video analytics.
The Jafurah project will not only aid the Kingdom’s environmental ambitions but will also support its petrochemicals industry. “Its ethane and liquified natural gas are highly valuable feedstocks for the Kingdom’s petrochemical’s industry,” the Aramco chief said.


China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Updated 30 November 2021

China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
  • El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has highlighted the importance of working with China to the success of an African free trade initiative.

Speaking virtually during a meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation — attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and a number of African leaders — he said that effective partnership with China was vital to implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

The Egyptian leader noted that under its current presidency of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa organization his country would be looking to attract foreign investment, promote integration between African and foreign private sectors, and expand digital transformation and e-commerce.

In a statement, an official spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency said that forum members had discussed ways to consolidate links between the African continent and China, including cooperation on economic recovery schemes following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises to overcome the economic crises brought about by the global virus outbreak.

He told the meeting that further investment in infrastructure projects was needed to complete the continental linkup between African countries and added that it was important to learn from the experiences of other nations in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through prevention, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Egyptian president lauded the vaccine manufacturing work of Egypt and China that had seen his country become the first African nation to possess the capabilities to produce vaccines against COVID-19. And he also stressed the need for joint coordination between Africa and China on issues related to strengthening peace and security.

 


ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees
Updated 30 November 2021

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

RIYADH: The Saudi Industrial Development Fund on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Paris-based ENGIE to provide training to the fund’s employees, the SIDF tweeted.

Under the deal, the French multinational utility company will train the fund’s employees at its headquarters in Paris. The SIDF employees will receive training in business development, commercial activities, and project implementation. 

ENGIE operates in the fields of energy, transition, electricity generation and distributions.  


Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car
Updated 30 November 2021

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

RIYADH: Developmental Opportunities Trading Co. sold its 21percent shares in Theeb Rent a Car Co. to institutional investors, Al-Arabiya reported on Tuesday.

EFG Hermes and Saudi Fransi Capital, in their capacity as bookrunners and brokers, executed the sale for the trading company.

According to a joint press statement, the total number of offered and sold shares reached 9,030,000.

The shares were offered to a group of institutional investors, and they were implemented through 19 negotiated deals at a price of SR53 per share, so that the value of the deal amounted to SR478.6 million ($127.57 million).