Saudi Arabia sees over $200bn in savings from energy reforms plan

Saudi Arabia sees over $200bn in savings from energy reforms plan
Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed al-Jadaan gestures as he speaks during a news conference to announce the country's 2021 budget, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Dec. 15, 2020. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 25 April 2021

Saudi Arabia sees over $200bn in savings from energy reforms plan

Saudi Arabia sees over $200bn in savings from energy reforms plan
  • The world’s top oil exporter has embarked on an ambitious reforms program in recent years to modernize its economy

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia could save over $200 billion over the next decade by replacing liquid fuel used for domestic consumption with gas and renewable energy sources, the finance minister said, as the kingdom seeks to cut costs to fund investments.
The world’s top oil exporter has embarked on an ambitious reforms program in recent years to modernize its economy, create jobs, and reduce its dependence on oil revenues.
“One initiative we’re about to finalize is the displacement of liquids,” said Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan.
“This program would represent savings for the government of about 800 billion riyals ($213.34 billion) over the next 10 years which can be utilized for investment.”
Saudi Arabia this month signed power purchase agreements with seven new solar projects, part of plans to optimize the energy mix used for electricity production.
“Instead of buying fuel from the international markets at $60 and then selling it at $6 for Saudi utilities, or using some of our quota in OPEC to sell at $6, we’re going to actually displace at least 1 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in the next 10 years and replace it with gas and renewables,” said Jadaan.
Hit hard by lower crude prices and the coronavirus crisis last year, the kingdom has recently announced plans to accelerate domestic investment, in a multi-trillion-dollar spending push led by state oil giant Aramco and the powerful $400 billion sovereign fund, Public Investment Fund.
In an attempt to shift the burden of some of the planned investments away from the treasury, some companies have been asked to lower the dividends they pay to the government to boost capital spending.
“Between now and 2025, and possibly until 2030, fiscal sustainability is a priority for us. We believe that until we achieve all the targets that Vision 2030 has set, we need to maintain fiscal sustainability and control government expenditure,” said Jadaan.
Vision 2030 is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to shake up Saudi Arabia by weaning the economy off oil and building new industries and mega projects with the private sector to generate millions of jobs.
Unemployment was at 12.6% at the end of 2020, down from a record high of 15.4% in the second quarter last year when the economy was in the throes of the pandemic, but well above the 7% rate the kingdom wants to reach by 2030.
“We are maintaining our unemployment target for 2030 but because we are not out of the woods yet it is very difficult to say what the unemployment rate is going to be for 2021,” said Jadaan.
“Our aim is to reduce the number so we will end up the year below where we ended up in 2019, pre-COVID, but I can’t tell you this is going to happen for certain.”


Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
Updated 11 min 58 sec ago

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network

Bahrain probes $1.3bn Iranian money laundering network
  • Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012

RIYADH: Bahrain’s attorney general said that public prosecutors had uncovered a $1.3 billion money laundering racket linked to officials at Future Bank and other Iranian institutions — including its central bank.
Attorney General Ali bin Fadl Al-Buainain said the alleged offenses took place between 2008 and 2012.
Al-Buainain said that Future Bank officials, together with other Iranian bank officials and the Central Bank of Iran, were involved in the transfer of money through an unauthorized remittance system, Al Arabiya reported.
Officials concealed the source of the funds to enable banks that included Iran’s Melli Bank and Bank Saderat Iran, to complete transfers which would have otherwise been blocked.
Al-Buainain alleged that Future Bank and its controlling shareholders were involved in systematic and widespread violations of banking laws in Bahrain.

 


Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium
Updated 18 min 9 sec ago

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium

Oil firm OQ to develop Oman green fuels project with consortium
  • At full capacity the project will consist of 25 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind energy to produce the hydrogen

A consortium including Oman’s state-owned oil firm OQ will develop a renewable energy project in the Gulf state capable of producing millions of tonnes of zero-carbon green hydrogen per year, the developers said on Tuesday.

At full capacity the project will consist of 25 gigawatts of renewable solar and wind energy to produce the hydrogen.

So-called green hydrogen, created by splitting water into its two components using electricity from renewable energy sources, is increasingly viewed as a fuel of the future to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Other members of the consortium are Hong Kong-headquartered InterContinental Energy, a renewable energy project developer, and EnerTech, a clean energy investor and developer which is owned by the Kuwait Investment Authority.

“The project will help transform Oman’s skills base and technical expertise in renewable energy, providing a significant number of high value jobs during site construction and operation,” the statement said.

Gulf oil-producing countries are trying to diversify their economies by creating new sectors and revenues, including through a big push in renewable energy.

Abu Dhabi plans to produce and export hydrogen as fuel and Saudi Arabia is working on a $5 billion hydrogen project in the NEOM high-tech business zone.


The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet
Updated 18 May 2021

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet

The electric Lamborghini is coming . . . but not just yet
  • First hybrid series production car to hit the market in 2023, with all its models “electrified” by the end of 2024

MILAN: Italian sports car maker Lamborghini on Tuesday unveiled Tuesday a €1.5-billion ($1.8 billion) electrification plan for its luxury vehicles, joining a global push away from fossil fuels at the risk of upsetting fans.
The company, which is owned by Volkswagen subsidiary Audi, said its first hybrid series production car would hit the market in 2023, with all its models “electrified” by the end of 2024.
But a battery-only model won’t be released until the second half of the decade, Lamborghini said.
The plan is “necessary in a context of a radically-changing world,” CEO Stephan Winkelmann said in a statement.
“We want to make our contribution by continuing to reduce environmental impact,” he added, saying the investment plowed into electrification is the company’s largest-ever.
By 2025, the company should reduce carbon emissions by half, it said.
The global trend toward electrification has been more challenging for the makers of the fastest sports cars than for mass-market producers.
Some have speculated that the brands’ fans may reject the different torque and driving experience of an electric vehicle compared to traditional combustion engines.
Following in Ferrari’s footsteps, Lamborghini in 2019 unveiled its first foray into electrification with the Sian supercar, capable of accelerating from 0 to 62mph (110 km/h) in less than 2.8 seconds.
The Sian, which means “lightning” in Bolognese dialect, cost over €3 million and only about 60 were built.
Lamborghini’s well-heeled customers helped it to record profit in 2020 despite the coronavirus-related challenges that hurt the automobile industry as a whole.
The company sold 7,430 cars last year, compared to its record of 8,205 vehicles in 2019.
Lamborghini shut down production for 70 days last year at the height of the coronavirus crisis in Italy.


Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia
Updated 18 May 2021

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia

Dubai desert tour outfit to expand in Saudi Arabia
  • The joint venture, signed at the Arabian Travel Market, will establish a full-service destination management company in Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Saudi family conglomerate Aljan and Brothers Holding Group is bringing Dubai’s Desert Adventures Tourism to the Kingdom, as international tourism is expected to boom.
The joint venture, signed at the Arabian Travel Market, will establish a full-service destination management company in Saudi Arabia, modeled on the Desert Adventures Tourism operation in the UAE.
“Despite the challenges of the past eighteen months we have seen considerable growth in visitation and spend across many regions of the country and we are optimistic about the future of tourism in Saudi,” Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, said.
Aljan and Brothers is one of the largest private sector conglomerates in the Middle East, with businesses in textiles, real estate, logistics, and entertainment.
“Through this partnership, we will not only become a market leader in this sector but also create new jobs and support elevating the Kingdom as a prime tourism destination,” the group’s sponsor of tourism and hospitality Fahad bin saad Alajlan said.


Major Jeddah stormwater project contract awarded

Major Jeddah stormwater project contract awarded
Updated 18 May 2021

Major Jeddah stormwater project contract awarded

Major Jeddah stormwater project contract awarded
  • Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Company (AWPT) was awarded a contract worth SR115.32 million

DUBAI: The Jeddah Municipality has awarded a contract to manage stormwater drains and reduce ground water levels.
Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Company (AWPT) was awarded a contract worth SR115.32 million ($30.7 million), the company said in a stock exchange filing on Tuesday.
The 3-year contract covers stormwater networks and ground water level reduction in North Jeddah, the company said.
A number of major drainage projects are planned across the Kingdom with some cities being prone to flash flooding during heavy rains.
It comes a decade after the Saudi port city was hit by devastating floods that caused widespread damage and the loss of 122 lives.