Japan, UAE strike first fuel ammonia cooperation deal

A general view taken on May 29, 2019 shows the sea front promenade in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi with the ADNOC headquarters (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) office complex (C) in the foreground. (AFP/File Photo)
A general view taken on May 29, 2019 shows the sea front promenade in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi with the ADNOC headquarters (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) office complex (C) in the foreground. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 14 January 2021

Japan, UAE strike first fuel ammonia cooperation deal

A general view taken on May 29, 2019 shows the sea front promenade in the Emirati capital Abu Dhabi with the ADNOC headquarters (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company) office complex (C) in the foreground. (AFP/File Photo)
  • Japan plans to develop its supply chain of blue ammonia in the Middle East by the end of the decade, according to S&P Global Platts

DUBAI: Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) struck its first fuel ammonia cooperation deal with the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

On Jan. 14, the signing of the memorandum of cooperation took place during a virtual meeting between METI Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama and ADNOC CEO and the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Al-Jaber, METI said in a statement.

The two countries also agreed to further advance bilateral cooperation in areas including hydrogen and fuel ammonia. Japan plans to develop its supply chain of blue ammonia in the Middle East by the end of the decade, according to S&P Global Platts.

The UAE is Japan’s second-largest crude oil supplier, accounting for over 30 percent of oil imports right after Saudi Arabia.

READ MORE: Japan receives first shipment of blue ammonia from Saudi Aramco, SABIC

Abu Dhabi is pushing toward a clean energy initiative through ADNOC, which has a new unit that will focus on hydrogen.

“The directorate will also lead ADNOC activities to capitalize on the emerging global market for hydrogen, building on the company’s existing position as a major producer with existing infrastructure, partnerships and customer relationships,” ADNOC said in a statement on Jan. 13.

In September of last year, Japan received its first shipment of blue ammonia from Saudi Aramco, in partnership with Saudi Basic Industries Corporation. The shipment contained 40 tons of high-grade blue ammonia and is meant for use in zero-carbon power generation.


Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market
Updated 30 min 17 sec ago

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market

Indonesia campaign helps SMEs enter Saudi market
  • They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million

JAKARTA: Indonesia has launched a campaign to help small firms in the country compete for millions of dollars-worth of food trade in Saudi Arabia.

The government aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve the quality and competitiveness of their products to meet the Kingdom’s required standards, Indonesian trade and commerce officials have said.

Under normal circumstances, before the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, around 1.5 million Indonesians a year make the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah and hundreds of thousands work in the Kingdom.

They will be the main target of the export initiative, which is estimated by the Indonesian Ministry of Trade to be able to generate $60 million.

To meet the Saudi food regulator’s standards, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce (Kadin), the Ministry of Trade, and the Ministry of Cooperatives and Small-Medium Enterprises have teamed up to assist SMEs in improving products such as bottled chili sauce, soya sauce, coffee, tea, and sugar that are in highest demand among Indonesians in Saudi Arabia.

Kadin chairman, Rosan Roeslani, told Arab News: “We have facilitated five small-medium enterprises that produce soya sauce to obtain Saudi Food and Drug Authority approval for distribution, while nine tea and coffee producers are in the pipeline to also obtain a license. We have also submitted the application for four bottled chili sauce producers.”

While travel and pilgrimage restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, he said that the time before things get back to normal will be used to prepare the SMEs — which contribute 60 percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employ up to 90 percent of its workforce — for expansion into the Saudi market as soon as the pilgrimage sector resumes.

“We still have time to groom them as there are many aspects such as hygiene, and consistency in their product quality and quantity that they need to improve,” Roeslani added.

In 2014, the Ministry of Religious Affairs issued a regulation obliging catering companies that provided food and drink to Indonesian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia to source their products from Indonesian producers whenever possible.

Indonesia’s vice religious affairs minister, Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi, said that as each Indonesian pilgrim received food from caterers an average 75 times during his or her pilgrimage, demand was high but supply in Saudi Arabia remained limited and similar products from India and Thailand had been used instead.

Kasan Muhri, director general for export development at the Ministry of Trade, told Arab News that the program to prepare the SMEs had been in the making since 2017 and officials eventually decided to launch it this year despite the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Just because there are few Umrah pilgrims now and this year’s Hajj remains uncertain, it does not mean that the market is gone.

“People from around the world would still go to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage, not just Indonesians, so we are doing this to anticipate the market when the economy revives, and things are recovered. We don’t want to be left behind,” Muhri said.

Besides food and beverage products, officials say they are also looking into the possibility of exporting items such as goodie bags, prayer beads, and other pilgrimage accessories made by Indonesian SMEs.