Halt new hydrocarbon investment now, says IEA

Halt new hydrocarbon investment now, says IEA
Built using its industry network and energy modelling tools, the IEA’s roadmap lays out more than 400 milestones on the path to net-zero by mid-century. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 19 May 2021

Halt new hydrocarbon investment now, says IEA

Halt new hydrocarbon investment now, says IEA
  • Radical move by the International Energy Agency to tackle mankind’s ‘greatest challenge’

DUBAI: The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday called for an immediate halt on new investment in fossil fuels — oil, gas and coal — as part of a strategy to get to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The IEA made the radical proposal as part of a “roadmap for the global energy sector” which also demanded an end to sales of petrol engine cars by 2035, as well as an instant halt to “dirty” coal projects.

The IEA’s rejection of fossil fuel investment coincided with the price of global benchmark Brent crude moving above the $70 per barrel level, which it has only reached once since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our pathway requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies,” the IEA said. It calculated that $5 trillion of investment was needed in energy to get it to net zero levels, most of it in renewables like wind and solar.

Total global spend on energy is currently around $2 trillion, with the bulk spent on hydrocarbon investment, the IEA estimated.

“We find that the world has a viable pathway to building a global energy sector with net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050, but it is narrow and requires immediate action across all countries to begin an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used worldwide.

“In our pathway, no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects is needed, nor is (there) further investment for new unabated coal plants, and sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars are halted by 2035,” it added.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The IEA made the radical proposal as part of a ‘roadmap for the global energy sector’ which also demanded an end to sales of petrol engine cars by 2035, as well as an instant halt to ‘dirty’ coal projects.

• The IEA’s rejection of fossil fuel investment coincided with the price of global benchmark Brent crude moving above the $70 per barrel level, which it has only reached once since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said it was still possible to reach the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. “Our roadmap shows the priority actions that are needed today to ensure the opportunity of net zero emissions by 2050 — narrow but still achievable — is not lost. “The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal — our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5°C — make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced.”

The IEA, which was founded in the 1970s in the face of global oil spikes, has long been regarded as a defender of oil consumers. The new stance surprised some oil industry experts in the region. 

“They’ve been hijacked by the Europeans,” said one Saudi Arabia-based energy adviser who did not want to be named, pointing to the European-led movement to divest funds from fossil fuels.

Other investment experts said it was a recognition of a new guiding principle in global energy finance.

Tarek Fadlallah, managing director of Nomura Asset Management in the Middle East, said: “The IEA has taken the increasingly populist outlook that diminishes the outlook for oil.”

Saudi Arabia recently joined other big oil-producing countries to study the prospects for net zero in a forum that includes the US and Norway.

Birol said that he saw a “growing gap” between rhetoric about the need to tackle climate change and the facts of increasing global greenhouse gas emissions.


Suez Canal posts second-highest monthly revenue

Suez Canal posts second-highest monthly revenue
Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is seen in Egypt's Great Bitter Lake Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (AP)
Updated 52 sec ago

Suez Canal posts second-highest monthly revenue

Suez Canal posts second-highest monthly revenue
  • Tonnages amounted to 10.6 million in May, compared to 9.94 million tons during the same period last year, an increase of 11.8 percent

CAIRO: The Suez Canal Authority has posted May revenues of $530 million, the second-highest monthly revenue in the authority’s history.

Osama Rabie, head of the authority, said that it is prepared to confront any crises, and that a strategy has been prepared to handle repercussions of the pandemic.

He added that 1,712 ships transmitted through the canal during May, compared to 1,602 during the same month last year, an increase of 9.6 percent.

Tonnages amounted to 10.6 million in May, compared to 9.94 million tons during the same period last year, an increase of 11.8 percent.

Rabie stressed that these improvements attracted praise from trade bodies such as the Baltic and International Maritime Council, Sea Trade, Forbes, and Argos. The groups have lauded the authority for attracting container ships and gas and oil tankers coming from the East American coast in the direction of Asia.

He pointed out that the authority will always be a pioneer in adopting the latest methods and techniques of management and operation, as well as applying the mechanisms of integration between all elements of maritime transport.

Rabie said: “The Suez Canal Authority has prepared all scenarios to confront any emergency crises, which was clearly demonstrated when facing the coronavirus pandemic, which hit global trade and economic movement at the beginning of 2020, and negatively affected all areas related to international navigation and maritime transport in general, but this negative impact has been kept to a minimum thanks to an integrated proactive strategy prepared by the canal.”

 


Egypt, France sign transport, housing, energy agreements

Egypt, France sign transport, housing, energy agreements
Egypt's PM Mostafa Madbouli (C) looks on as France's Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (L) signs agreement with Egyptian Minister of Transportation Kamel el-Wazir (R) in Cairo on Sunday. (AFP)
Updated 8 min 26 sec ago

Egypt, France sign transport, housing, energy agreements

Egypt, France sign transport, housing, energy agreements
  • Projects offering development financing of around 1.7 billion euros ($2.06 billion) were agreed with 776 million euros coming from the French government and 990 million euros from the French Development Agency

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has highlighted the importance of his country’s strong relationship with France after the two nations signed a raft of cooperation agreements.

His comments came during a meeting with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire who also praised Egyptian-French economic and commercial links while passing on President Emmanuel Macron’s congratulations to Egypt for its efforts in helping negotiate a ceasefire in the recent Israel and Gaza conflict.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Le Maire witnessed the inking of a number of agreements between their two countries relating to the transport, housing, and energy sectors.

Projects offering development financing of around 1.7 billion euros ($2.06 billion) were agreed with 776 million euros coming from the French government and 990 million euros from the French Development Agency.

Two agreements worth 150 million euros were penned to support Egypt’s social protection sector and implement a universal health insurance system.

A deal to re-establish the French University in Egypt by constructing a fully equipped new campus was also signed with funding of 12 million euros and a grant of 2 million euros.

 


Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns

Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns
Updated 14 June 2021

Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns

Energy majors bid for Qatar LNG project despite lower returns
  • Qatar plans to grow its LNG output by 40 percent to 110 million tons per annum (mtpa) by 2026

LONDON: Six top western energy firms are vying to partner in the vast expansion of Qatar’s liquefied natural gas output, industry sources said, helping the Gulf state cement its position as the leading LNG producer while several large projects around the world recently stalled.
Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, TotalEnergies and ConocoPhillips, which are part of Qatar’s existing LNG production were joined by new entrants Chevron and Italy’s Eni in submitting bids on May 24 for the expansion project, industry sources told Reuters.
The bids show energy giants continue to have appetite for investing in competitive oil and gas projects despite growing government, investor and activist pressure on the sector to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
Unlike Qatar’s early LNG projects in the 1990s and 2000s when the country relied heavily on international oil companies’ technical expertise and deep pockets, the country’s national oil company Qatar Petroleum (QP) has gone ahead alone with the development of the nearly $30 billion North Field expansion project.
It is, however, seeking to partner with the oil majors in order to share the financial risk of the development and help sell the additional volumes of LNG it will produce.
“I don’t think QP need the IOCs expertise in the upstream or midstream construction of the project but they will be glad to see someone take some LNG volumes off their hands,” a senior source in one of the bidding companies said.
Qatar plans to grow its LNG output by 40 percent to 110 million tons per annum (mtpa) by 2026, strengthening its position as the world leading exporter of the super-chilled fuel.
An Eni spokesperson confirmed the company is participating in the bidding process. QP, Shell, Chevron, TotalEnergies, Conoco declined to comment.
Exxon said it did not comment on market rumors, but added: “We look forward to continuing success in future projects with our partners Qatar Petroleum and the State of Qatar. ExxonMobil affiliates are working with Qatar Petroleum to identify international joint venture opportunities that further enhance the portfolio of both.”
Leading energy companies see natural gas as a key fuel in the world’s efforts to cut carbon emissions and replace the more polluting coal, although the International Energy Agency said in a report last month that investments in new fossil fuel projects should stop immediately in order to meet UN-backed targets aimed at limiting global warming.
Activists say that expansion in natural gas delays a transition to renewable energy that is needed to meet UN-backed targets to battle climate change. The European Union is in the midst of a debate about what role gas should take in the energy transition.
The outlook for global LNG supplies tightened sharply in recent months after Total suspended its $20 billion LNG project in Mozambique due to a surge in violence.
It followed a string of delays of LNG projects in North America as COVID-19 hobbled demand last year.
Global LNG demand has increased every year since 2012 and hit record highs every year since 2015 mostly due to fast-rising demand in Asia. Analysts have said they expect global LNG demand will grow about 3-5 percent each year between 2021 and 2025.
Lower returns
The interest from companies in the Qatari expansion comes despite relatively low returns.
QP offered international bidders returns of around 8 percent to 10 percent on their investment, down from around 15 percent to 20 percent returns Exxon, Total, Shell and Conoco have seen from the early LNG facilities, according to sources in three companies involved.
Qatar project returns have never previously been disclosed.
The six companies and QP declined to comment on the terms of the bids.
“Clearly Qatar has become more competitive,” a source said. “But it remains very low risk from the resource perspective.”
The results of the tender process are not expected to be announced before September, two of the sources said.
In March, QP said it will take full ownership of Qatargas 1 LNG plant when its 25-year contract with international investors including Exxon and TotalEnergies expires next year, in a sign of its growing confidence.
Qatar is also in talks to make Chinese firms partners in the project, sources told Reuters last month.
QP last month hired international banks for a multi-billion dollar debut public bond sale by the end of June, two sources said, to help in part development the Northern Field project.


Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city

Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city
Updated 14 June 2021

Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city

Cash will not be used in Saudi energy industry city
  • SPARK announced in March that 80 percent of the project’s first phase was officially complete

RIYADH: A new city being developed in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province will be cashless according to Riyad Bank CEO Tareq Al-Sahdan.
King Salman Energy Park (SPARK), located between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, is being built on an area of 50 square kilometers and will include a dedicated logistics zone and dry port. SPARK announced in March that 80 percent of the project’s first phase was officially complete.
A new agreement signed between Riyad Bank and the King Salman Energy City (SPARK) aims to fully transform the project into a fully digital city, Al-Sahdan told Al Arabiya.
“We aspire that Spark City will be completely digital, since it is a new city, where cash is not used, and there will be payment solutions for all uses and a special pass card used in shops and services,” he told Al Arabiya.
An agreement between the pair, which includes ten initiatives, aims to support the Kingdom’s ranking in ease of doing business and the digital economy.

 


Abu Dhabi’s ADIA said to review property strategy

Abu Dhabi’s ADIA said to review property strategy
Updated 14 June 2021

Abu Dhabi’s ADIA said to review property strategy

Abu Dhabi’s ADIA said to review property strategy
  • ADIA may consider cutting its exposure to some troubled sectors, the sources said

RIYADH: The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world’s biggest property investors, is considering changes to its real estate strategy after some of its major holdings suffered during the pandemic, Bloomberg reported citing people with knowledge of the matter.
ADIA may consider cutting its exposure to some troubled sectors, the people said, asking not to be identified.
The state-owned sovereign wealth fund has been making more direct property investments in recent years, and has amassed just under $700 billion in assets, according to estimates from data provider Global SWF.
Real estate traditionally accounts for about 5 percent to 10 percent of that overall portfolio.
ADIA could shift its focus for future deals and increase exposure to areas like warehouses, life sciences properties, technology hubs and affordable housing, one of the people said.
The fund has also invested more in private equity investments, which have outperformed during the pandemic, the people said.
The review is ongoing, and ADIA hasn’t made any final decisions on the changes it will make, Bloomberg reported.