Saudi and Azerbaijan clinch $300m renewable energy projects

Azerbaijan’s energy minister says the deals are an ‘indication of confidence in the business climate in Azerbaijan.’ The country produces just under 600,000 barrels of oil per day under OPEC+ agreements. (AFP)
Azerbaijan’s energy minister says the deals are an ‘indication of confidence in the business climate in Azerbaijan.’ The country produces just under 600,000 barrels of oil per day under OPEC+ agreements. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 30 December 2020

Saudi and Azerbaijan clinch $300m renewable energy projects

Azerbaijan’s energy minister says the deals are an ‘indication of confidence in the business climate in Azerbaijan.’ The country produces just under 600,000 barrels of oil per day under OPEC+ agreements. (AFP)
  • Deal set to boost Kingdom’s green energy, high-tech profile as ACWA chair hails milestone

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan have signed groundbreaking agreements for $300 million worth of renewable energy projects in the Caspian country.

The Kingdom’s energy leader ACWA Power will develop Azerbaijan’s first wind power development in collaboration with local entities, in three deals that could herald further joint energy projects between the two countries.

At a virtual signing ceremony, Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, said that the collaboration was a further example of the “long-standing diplomatic and economic relationship” between the Kingdom and Azerbaijan.

“Saudi Arabia is delighted to be a partner in the future growth and development of Azerbaijan through helping it on its renewable energy journey. I am proud to say that the project has been made possible through Saudi expertise and capabilities,” he said.

“ACWA Power is a Saudi national champion in energy, and it will be leveraging its experience, and its track record in successful renewable projects, to help Azerbaijan deliver this strategically important development,” he added. 

HIGHLIGHTS

• The collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan is a further example of the long-standing diplomatic and economic relationship between the two countries, Saudi energy minister says.

• ACWA Power is a Saudi national champion in energy, and it will be leveraging its experience, and its track record in successful renewable projects, to help Azerbaijan deliver this strategically important development, he says.

ACWA, which is 50 percent owned by the Public Investment Fund, is one of the main agencies for the Kingdom’s initiatives in domestic and global renewable energy, and high-tech water desalination processes.

Its chairman, Mohammed Abunayyan, said that the agreements were a “milestone and a strong step on the road toward full realization of the potential renewable energy in Azerbaijan.”

Prince Abdul Aziz praised Azerbaijan for its commitment to cuts in oil supply during recent OPEC+ negotiations. “The Kingdom appreciates Azerbaijan’s role in fulfilling its obligations under the declaration of cooperation of OPEC+, and the high level of compliance it has achieved,” he said.

Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijan’s energy minister, said the deals were an “indication of confidence in the business climate in Azerbaijan, and will represent the next stage of economic cooperation between our two countries.”

The projects — in the Absheron and Khizi region of Azerbaijan — will help generate one billion KW hours of electricity annually and save 220 cubic meters of gas, as well as reduce emissions by 400 million tons annually, Shahbazov estimated.

“I am confident that other companies from Saudi Arabia will follow the example of ACWA and invest in Azerbaijan,” he added.

Azerbaijan produces just under 600,000 barrels of oil per day under OPEC+ agreements, but has said it would like to follow the example of Russia and some other producers in supporting an OPEC+ increase of a further 500,000 from February.


France wants end to US-Europe trade spat

France wants end to US-Europe trade spat
Updated 17 January 2021

France wants end to US-Europe trade spat

France wants end to US-Europe trade spat
  • All eyes on President-elect Biden to resolve disputes between partners

PARIS: The EU and the incoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden should suspend a trade dispute to give themselves time to find common ground, France’s foreign minister said in remarks published on Sunday.

“The issue that’s poisoning everyone is that of the price escalation and taxes on steel, digital technology and Airbus,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told Le Journal du Dimanche in an interview.

He said he hoped the sides could find a way to settle the dispute. “It may take time, but in the meantime, we can always order a moratorium,” he added.

At the end of December the US moved to boost tariffs on French and German aircraft parts in the Boeing-Airbus subsidy dispute, but the bloc decided to hold off on retaliation for now.

The EU is planning to present a World Trade Organization (WTO) reform proposal in February and is willing to consider reforms to restrain the judicial authority of the WTO’s dispute-settlement body.

The US has for years complained that the WTO Appellate Body makes unjustified new trade rules in its decisions and has blocked the appointment of new judges to stop this, rendering the body inoperable.

The Trump administration, which leaves office on Wednesday, had threatened to impose tariffs on French cosmetics, handbags and other goods in retaliation for France’s digital services tax, which it said discriminated against US tech firms.

Overturning decades of free trade consensus was a central part of Trump’s “America First” agenda. In 2018, declaring that “trade wars are good, and easy to win,” he shocked allies by imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from most of the world.

While Trump later dropped tariffs against Australia, Japan, Brazil and South Korea in return for concessions, he kept them in place against more than $7 billion worth of EU metal. The bloc retaliated with tariffs on more than $3 billion worth of US goods, from orange juice and blue jeans to Harley Davidson bikes, and took its case to the WTO.

While Biden promises to be more predictable than Trump, he is not expected to lift the steel tariffs immediately. Even if he wants to, he could run into reluctance from producers in “rust belt” states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania that secured his election win.

Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, director of trade think tank ECIPE, said the US was unlikely to award Europe a “free pass,” noting that countries that had offered concessions to have their tariffs lifted could complain if Europe won better treatment.

Resolving future trade disputes could become easier, if Biden reverses Trump policy that paralyzed the WTO by blocking the appointment of judges to its appellate body.