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)
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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.


Pakistani rupee drops to record low at 173.2 against US dollar

Pakistani rupee drops to record low at 173.2 against US dollar
Updated 6 sec ago

Pakistani rupee drops to record low at 173.2 against US dollar

Pakistani rupee drops to record low at 173.2 against US dollar

KARACHI: Pakistan’s rupee hit a record low on Monday of 173.20 in intraday trading against the US dollar before closing at 172.78, below the previous close of 171.18, after reports of a failure of talks with the International Monetary Fund, traders said.

The government's finance ministry on Monday dismissed reports by local media over the weekend that talks from October 4 to 15 for the release of a $1 billion loan tranche were inconclusive.

“Negotiations between Pakistan and IMF are moving forward positively. No timeframe was set at any stage for the conclusion of the talks,” a statement issued by Finance Ministry said.

In June, a similar round of talks between the two sides failed to bring agreement on conditions for the tranche.

“The uncertainty regarding the IMF program after news reports emerged that Pakistan and IMF have failed to agree on certain conditions has resulted in today’s depreciation of rupee,” Atif Zafar, chief economist and director at Topline Securities told Reuters.


Enterprise software firm Informatica eyes nearly $9bn valuation in U.S. IPO

Enterprise software firm Informatica eyes nearly $9bn valuation in U.S. IPO
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Updated 31 min ago

Enterprise software firm Informatica eyes nearly $9bn valuation in U.S. IPO

Enterprise software firm Informatica eyes nearly $9bn valuation in U.S. IPO
  • The company said it will be selling 29 million shares priced between $29 and $32 per share

Enterprise software developer Informatica Inc said on Monday it was seeking a valuation of up to $9 billion at the top end of its price range in its U.S. initial public offering.


The company said it will be selling 29 million shares priced between $29 and $32 per share. At the top end of that range, the IPO will rake in $928 million in proceeds.


Redwood City, California-based Informatica, which follows a subscription-based model, was taken private by a consortium that included private equity firm Permira Advisers Ltd and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.


Goldman Sachs & Co and J.P. Morgan are the lead underwriters for the IPO. 


Qatar signs comprehensive air transport agreement with EU 

Qatar signs comprehensive air transport agreement with EU 
Updated 31 min 1 sec ago

Qatar signs comprehensive air transport agreement with EU 

Qatar signs comprehensive air transport agreement with EU 

CAIRO: Qatar signed an air transport agreement with the EU on Monday, the Gulf country’s Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Said Ahmed Al-Sulaiti said. 

The agreement, which was finalized in Luxembourg, will provide airlines with easy access to markets, with fewer restrictions, and has replaced existing bilateral agreements.

“The agreement is a testimony to Qatar's notable profile in air transportation and that the national carrier has such an active role around the world,” Al-Sulaiti said.


ECZA, SIDF, Emaar EC signs deal to develop KAEC’s ‘Land and Loan’ program

ECZA, SIDF, Emaar EC signs deal to develop KAEC’s ‘Land and Loan’ program
Updated 43 min 37 sec ago

ECZA, SIDF, Emaar EC signs deal to develop KAEC’s ‘Land and Loan’ program

ECZA, SIDF, Emaar EC signs deal to develop KAEC’s ‘Land and Loan’ program

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority (ECZA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) and Emaar Economic City (EEC) to enhance the investment environment in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).

"The tripartite cooperation agreement aims to promote the industrial and logistics integration initiative at KAEC to further build on ‘Land and Loan’ program to attract valuable investments to KAEC’s logistics sector," according to a statement.


Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in EU to build 'metaverse'

Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in EU to build 'metaverse'
Getty Images
Updated 46 min 54 sec ago

Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in EU to build 'metaverse'

Facebook plans to hire 10,000 in EU to build 'metaverse'
  • Using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality Facebook plans to create a greater sense of "virtual presence"

Facebook Inc plans to create 10,000 jobs in the European Union over the next five years, the social media giant said on Monday, to help build the so-called metaverse - an online world where people can use different devices to move and communicate in a virtual environment.


Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has been talking up metaverse since July and the buzzy word, first coined in a dystopian novel three decades earlier, has been referenced by other tech firms such as Microsoft.


"No one company will own and operate the metaverse," Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post.

"Bringing this to life will take collaboration and cooperation across companies, developers, creators and policymakers."


Using technologies such as virtual and augmented reality Facebook plans to create a greater sense of "virtual presence", which will mimic the experience of interacting in person.


The coronavirus pandemic has shifted much of the office meetings online, leading to the rise of conferencing apps such as Zoom, and big tech companies are looking to capitalize on this shift.


Facebook, which has invested heavily in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), including buying companies like Oculus, intends to connect its nearly three billion users through several devices and apps.


Zuckerberg believes the metaverse would be accessible across VR, AR, PC, mobile devices and game consoles.


It has already committed $50 million for building the metaverse, and testing a new remote work app where users of Oculus Quest 2 headsets could hold meetings as avatar versions of themselves.


While Facebook did not say what roles it would hire for and where they would be based, the company has been facing antitrust probes in the region, and is often criticised over online safety and hate speech on its platform.


"We look forward to working with governments across the EU to find the right people and the right markets to take this forward, as part of an upcoming recruitment drive across the region," Clegg wrote.