Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with plan to be world’s top ‘green hydrogen’ producer

Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with plan to be world’s top ‘green hydrogen’ producer
The hydrogen plant will be located in the planned megacity of NEOM. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 March 2021

Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with plan to be world’s top ‘green hydrogen’ producer

Saudi Arabia pushes ahead with plan to be world’s top ‘green hydrogen’ producer
  • The move comes as global demand for clean fuel surges, with superpowers such as China and Europe setting sights on the growing hydrogen business
  • Energy experts reportedly described Saudi Arabia as the one to watch in the global race in the hydrogen scene

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is building a $5-billion green fuel plant for export in a bid to become the world’s largest supplier of hydrogen, Bloomberg reported.
The hydrogen plant will be located in the planned megacity of NEOM, which lies north of the Red Sea. It will be powered entirely by sun and wind, the report said.
“There’s nothing I’ve ever seen or heard of this dimension or challenge,” Peter Terium, who heads the energy, water, and food sector at NEOM, said.
“I’ve been spending the last two years wrapping my mind around ‘from scratch,’ and now we’re very much in execution mode,” he added.
The move comes as global demand for clean fuel surges, with superpowers such as China and Europe setting sights on the growing hydrogen business, which Bloomberg predicts to be worth as much as $700 billion by 2025.
The European Union alone earlier dedicated $500 billion as investment to hydrogen production, but experts suggested there were still major obstacles that hinder a global energy transition.
Many countries have expressed a desire to use the gas more, including the UK, China, Japan, and the US, highlighting the potential of the industry.
Energy experts reportedly described Saudi Arabia as the one to watch in the global race in the hydrogen scene, which could be attributed to the Kingdom’s geographical characteristics – “perpetual sunshine and wind, and vast tracts of unused lands.”
Green hydrogen is produced by using renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, and producing a kilogram of the gas currently costs about $5.
Saudi Arabia could drive this cost down to $1.5 per kilogram by 2030, according to Bloomberg’s energy research arm.


Emirates begins trials of IATA’s digital travel pass

Emirates begins trials of IATA’s digital travel pass
Updated 18 min 33 sec ago

Emirates begins trials of IATA’s digital travel pass

Emirates begins trials of IATA’s digital travel pass
  • Passengers from Dubai to Barcelona on flight EK 185 on Thursday trialed the travel pass

DUBAI: Dubai carrier Emirates airline has started testing the COVID-19 digital travel pass, a mobile application that will help passengers manage their necessary travel requirements amid heightened security due to the pandemic.

Passengers from Dubai to Barcelona on flight EK 185 on Thursday trialed the travel pass, according to a company statement.

“The ability to process passengers’ COVID-19 relevant data for travel digitally will be the way forward,” Adel Al-Redha, chief operating officer of Emirates, said, as the global aviation industry slowly gets back up from the pandemic slump.

The airlines partnered with the maker of the travel pass, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to integrate the standardized process of verifying documents such as COVID-19 rest results and vaccination certificates into the airline’s operations.

The trial is ongoing on selected Emirates flights from the Dubai to Barcelona and London Heathrow to Dubai, and will be expanded soon to include other routes, the company said.

Other airlines in the region have teamed up with IATA to conduct trial runs of the application, including Saudi Arabia’s Saudia and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways.


Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets

Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets
Updated 15 April 2021

Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets

Moody’s warns on ESG risks for some structured finance assets
  • Sustainable investing has become a hot topic in Gulf markets over the last year with increased awareness in part springing from the coronavirus pandemic

DUBAI: Changing regulations and consumer demand driven by environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues means that some structured finance asset classes are riskier than others, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Aircraft and tobacco asset-backed securities (ABS) as well as project finance and infrastructure collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) have “moderate vulnerability” to environmental risk, while most other asset classes have “low” environmental risk, Moody’s wrote in a report.
Student loan asset-backed securities are the only structured finance sector with “high” social risk, it said.
“Environmental and social risks vary across structured finance asset classes, reflecting the sector’s diverse array of transaction types and assets,” according to Moody’s Vice President Inga Smolyar. “Governance considerations, in contrast, are generally issuer specific.”
Sustainable investing has become a hot topic in Gulf markets over the last year with increased awareness in part springing from the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for ethical and sustainable investments is now on the rise and increasingly being adopted by a wide range of investors from socially aware individuals to family offices and sovereign wealth funds.
The Future Investment Initiative Institute’s “The Neo-Renaissance: Mobilizing ESG for a Sustainable Future” conference takes place online today between 3.30 p.m. and 5.30 p.m. Riyadh time.
Several high profile regional business leaders are due to speak at the event including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan who also chairs the institute.


Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals

Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals
Updated 15 April 2021

Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals

Top 20 Saudi Ramadan electronics deals
  • From smartphones to smart TVs

If you are looking to buy a new smartphone, TV or laptop, electronics items have some of the biggest discounts available this Ramdan. Here is a selection of some of the best deals available online and instore this week across the Kingdom, hand picked by Arab News editors.

Lenovo K12 Note

Lenovo K12 Note

NOW: SR569

WAS: SR899

SAVING: 36%

Available from Carrefour

Huawei Y8P

NOW: SR699

WAS: SR849

SAVING: 17%

Available from Carrefour

Samsung Galaxy A51

Samsung Galaxy A51

NOW: SR949

WAS: SR1199

SAVING: 21%

Available from Carrefour

iPhone 11 Pro 256GB

NOW: SR3999

WAS: SR4799

SAVING: 16%

Available from Carrefour

iPad 8th generation (2020)

iPad 8th generation (2020)

NOW: SR1499

WAS: SR1699

SAVING: 11%

Available from Carrefour

Ikon Tab-e learning tablet

NOW: SR399

WAS: SR549

SAVING: 27%

Available from Lulu

Ikon Portable bluetooth speaker

NOW: SR349

WAS: SR450

SAVING: 22%

Available from Lulu

Samsung 65-Inch Curved Smart QLED TV QA65Q8C Black

Samsung 65-Inch Curved Smart QLED TV QA65Q8C Black

NOW: SR6499

WAS: SR16999

SAVING: 61%

Available from noon.com

65 Inch UHD Smart Netflix Ready TV NETV65SM1 Black

NOW: SR2099

WAS: SR4669

SAVING: 55%

Available from noon.com

58 Inch UHD Smart Netflix Ready TV NETV58SM1 Black

NOW: SR1699

WAS: SR3779

SAVING: 55%

Available from noon.com

LG 65-Inch 4K UHD Smart AI ThinQ LED TV 65UN7340 Black

LG 65-Inch 4K UHD Smart AI ThinQ LED TV 65UN7340 Black

NOW: SR3199

WAS: SR5999

SAVING: 46%

Available from noon.com

Class pro 40-Inch Full HD LED TV BK40FHD Black

NOW: SR599

WAS: SR999

SAVING: 40%

Available from noon.com

Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi IP Day/Night Vision Dome 2MP 1080P FHD Stand Alone Camera

Xiaomi Mi Wi-Fi IP Day/Night Vision Dome 2MP 1080P FHD Stand Alone Camera

NOW: SR134

WAS: SR199

SAVING: 32%

Available from noon.com

10000 mAh Boost+ Power Bank Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 Fast Charging & PD (Small Size For Mobiles, Laptop, Tablets, Nintendo) Black

NOW: SR 37

WAS: SR 99

SAVING: 62%

Available from noon.com

Goui 30000 mAh Econ.30 Power Bank 5x9.9x3cm Black/Green

Goui 30000 mAh Econ.30 Power Bank 5x9.9x3cm Black/Green

NOW: SR149

WAS: SR299

SAVING: 50%

Available from noon.com

Energizer 10000 mAh Fast Charge Power Bank Dual USB- Pack of 2 Titanium Grey

NOW: SR 89

WAS: SR 150

SAVING: 40%

Available from noon.com

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar And Touch ID, 13.3-Inch Display

MacBook Pro With Touch Bar And Touch ID, 13.3-Inch Display, Core i5, 8th Generation, 4 Ghz Quad Core Processor/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645/Retina Display, English Keyboard-2020 Space Grey

NOW: SR6499

WAS: SR 10078.60

SAVING: 35%

Available from noon.com

Rockstar Games Red Dead Redemption 2 (English) - Intl Version - Adventure - PlayStation 4 (PS4)

NOW: SR109.55

WAS: SR247

SAVING: 55%

Available from noon.com

EA FIFA 20: Standard (SPL) Edition (KSA- English/Arabic) - PlayStation 4 (PS4)

NOW: SR66.6

WAS: SR101

SAVING: 34%

Available from noon.com

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller For PlayStation 4

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller For PlayStation 4

NOW: SR147

WAS: SR315.56

SAVING: 53%

Available from noon.com


Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
Updated 15 April 2021

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic

Qatar steps up help for businesses battling pandemic
  • Central bank liquidity support to local banks has been extended
  • Loan repayment holidays have been extended to 2 years

DUBAI: Qatar’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to maintain central bank liquidity support for local banks as it stepped up its economic response to the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections.

Exemptions have been granted from electricity and water fees until the end of September for sectors closed due to the pandemic, Gulf Times reported.

The National Guarantees Programme at Qatar Development Bank has been extended until the end of September, while an exemption from interest under the National Guarantees Programme has been extended by one year to two years, followed by two years of interest at no more than the Qatar Central Bank rate plus 2 percent.

Qatar Central Bank first implemented a series of measures including a freeze on loan repayments and the National Guarantees Programme to provide financing to private-sector companies in March 2020.


A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage
Updated 15 April 2021

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage

A month of Iftars in Lebanon now more than double minimum wage
  • Cost of fattoush salad trebles
  • Collapse of pounds sends prices soaring

BEIRUT: After a year of economic meltdown in Lebanon, Hala Sheikh is sticking to a modest menu as she prepares the evening meal for her family to break their daily Ramadan fast.
Even the humble fattoush, a popular salad that she prepares for dinner, has tripled in cost since last year, leaving millions of Lebanese struggling to put food on the table in the Muslim holy month which is usually a time of celebration.
“We didn’t want to prepare unnecessary stuff,” Sheikh said as she got ready for the first Ramadan meal this week. “We prepared basic things like fattoush, soup and a main course — we will not prepare big meals like last year or the year before.”
A study by the American University of Beirut (AUB), dubbed the “Fattoush Index,” found that the cost of its ingredients — including lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, radish and bread — soared 210 percent in the last 12 months.
For Sheikh, a 50-year-old former nutritionist who moved from the US with her family, prices are a constant concern.
“During this bad economic situation you have to bear in mind the cost of making fattoush,” she said as she prepared the salad in her flat in Beirut’s Hamra district where she lives with her husband and four sons.
“This lettuce I’m cutting costs 3,000 pounds.” After the currency slumped 85 percent, that is worth barely 20 US cents. But in a country where the minimum wage has plunged to around $50 a month, costs quickly spiral.
AUB professor Nasser Yassine said that over the full month of Ramadan the cost of providing the fast-breaking Iftar meal for a family of five had risen to 1.5 million Lebanese pounds, more than double the monthly minimum wage.
It will be hard “for poor families who are below the poverty line and it will also be hard for them to secure and maintain their daily food,” he said.
Yassine’s Fattoush Index may even under-estimate the scale of the problem, with official consumer price data showing the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks jumped 417 percent in the year to February.
The runaway inflation is part of a broader economic collapse over the last two years which is fueling hunger and unrest, in the country’s gravest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
After decades of mismanagement and corruption, Lebanon’s leaders have failed to break their political deadlock and form a new government to tackle the crisis, which has only worsened with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port in August.
“We witnessed many wars, civil war and the Israeli invasion,” Sheikh said. “But this is the worst Ramadan we have ever been through.”