Engie reaches commercial close on Jubail 3B IWP

Engie reaches commercial close on Jubail 3B IWP
The consortium led by Engie, was awarded the Jubail 3B project in April.
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Updated 01 July 2021

Engie reaches commercial close on Jubail 3B IWP

Engie reaches commercial close on Jubail 3B IWP

Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC), in association with a consortium comprising the France-headquartered Engie (40 percent), Saudi-based Nesma Company Limited (30 percent) and Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan Sons for Commercial and Real Estate Investment Company (30 percent), has achieved commercial close on the Jubail 3B independent water project (IWP). Following the April 29 announcement by SWPC naming the Engie-led consortium as preferred bidder, a 25-year water purchase agreement between SWPC and the Engie-Nesma-Ajlan consortium was signed on June 22 in the presence of Abdulrahman Al-Fadli, chairman of the board of SWPC and minister of environment, water and agriculture. 

Located 65 km north of Dammam airport, the Jubail 3B IWP plant will produce 570,000 m3/day of potable water through reverse osmosis technology to supply the cities of Jubail and Dammam. The plant will include storage facilities for one operational day in addition to in-house renewable energy capacity to reduce grid electricity consumption throughout the desalination process. The project is part of the water schemes in Saudi Arabia developed under the public-private-partnership (PPP) structure. The consortium will develop and finance the desalination plant, which will be operated and maintained by Engie. The Jubail 3B project was awarded by SWPC as a build, own, operate (BOO) contract, with commercial operation expected in 2024.

Khalid Al-Quraishi, CEO of SWPC, said: “Despite the fluctuations, liquidity crises and changing global market conditions, the Saudi Water Partnership Company and the consortium succeeded in completing the financial closure procedures in close cooperation with the group of lenders, which indicates the company’s efforts. The SWPC will provide full support for investment projects, and to enhance private sector participation in sustainable development by providing the opportunity for local and foreign investors to participate in the implementation of these projects, thus achieving sustainable development, providing job opportunities for young people and supporting local products. This will help achieve the strategic objectives of Vision 2030 and the initiatives approved by the Saudi Council of Ministers to encourage private sector participation in economic development initiatives.”

Turki Al-Shehri, CEO of Engie in Saudi Arabia, said: “The Jubail 3B project represents another milestone achievement for Engie as a long-term positive energy partner to the Kingdom. We commend SWPC for continuing to encourage private sector participation to support the development of large-scale infrastructure projects. Through our projects, and in close coordination with our partners, Engie remains committed to providing value-added services and knowledge transfer to the local workforce.”

The consortium, led by low-carbon energy and service solution providers Engie, was awarded the Jubail 3B project in April, after submitting a successful bid with a tariff of SR1.591 ($0.42) per cubic meter of potable water. 

The Jubail 3B IWP will create direct and indirect job opportunities during both the construction and operation phases, with a targeted 90 percent Saudization rate during the operation period.


Four Seasons Riyadh sparkles in green for National Day

Four Seasons Riyadh sparkles in green for National Day
Updated 20 September 2021

Four Seasons Riyadh sparkles in green for National Day

Four Seasons Riyadh sparkles in green for National Day

Saudi National Day is a time to celebrate tradition and the Kingdom’s prosperity with a grateful spirit. Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Center will once again sparkle on Sept. 23rd in celebration of the 91st Saudi National Day. Shining bright in green against the city skyline, the hotel will join the celebrations with sumptuous culinary offerings, traditional dance shows and experiences perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

“This annual celebration is one of the most anticipated highlights of the hotel’s social calendar,” said Guenter Gebhard, senior general manager at Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh. “We will be offering a myriad of National Day-inspired experiences for our guests designed to celebrate this special occasion with our community, as well as introducing our international guests to the traditions of the city and country in which our hotel resides.”

Guests visiting Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh during the Saudi National Day week can expect:

Traditional favorites at Elements

Guests are invited to celebrate the special day by treating their family and friends to an exquisite dining experience at Elements. Traditional offerings specially curated by the hotel’s Saudi chefs and live stations featuring favorite dishes from the region promise something satisfying for every appetite, from Sept. 21-24 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The experience is priced at SR270 ($72) + 15 percent VAT.

A festive feast at The Grill

Families are invited to gather for a traditional feast at The Grill, expertly prepared by the hotel’s Saudi culinary team. A mouth-watering family-style set menu of traditional favorites will be complemented by a festive ambiance with live entertainment, on Sept. 23 from 7 p.m. until midnight. The price is SR325 + 15 percent VAT.

Lively happenings at The Lobby Lounge

Light fare, an Arabic coffee station and a live marasea station await guests at The Lobby Lounge on Sept. 23 to celebrate this wonderful time of year. Traditional Saudi dance and live music entertainment will add a note of festivity to each gathering.

Rejuvenation at the spa

Serenity awaits at the hotel’s award-winning Spa and Wellness Center. Guests are invited to pamper themselves with signature treatments, therapies, or massages and get some well-deserved rest and relaxation during the Saudi National Day weekend, with 15 percent off treatments, from Sept. 22-24.

A fashion-filled staycation

This Saudi National Day, guests can explore the finest in luxury from the comfort of their suite and shop to their heart’s content from the global platform for luxury fashion, Farfetch. Celebrate this special occasion by enjoying a virtual styling session with a stylist, and access to Farfetch’s exclusive fashion concierge service.

To make the stay complete, complimentary breakfast, Skybridge tickets and a luxurious afternoon high tea experience are just some of the perks guests can enjoy during their stay.


Muvi to open five-screen cinema at Quwaieyah Mall

Muvi to open five-screen cinema at Quwaieyah Mall
Updated 20 September 2021

Muvi to open five-screen cinema at Quwaieyah Mall

Muvi to open five-screen cinema at Quwaieyah Mall

Saudi Investment Company, a developer, owner and operator of shopping malls in Saudi Arabia, recently signed an agreement with Muvi Cinemas, a homegrown cinema brand, to open a cinema complex at one of its malls, the Quwaieyah Mall, in Al-Quwayiyah city, Riyadh region. The state-of-the-art five-screen cinema, accommodating 650 moviegoers, will open in the summer of 2022.

Managing Director of SICO Sultan Fahad Al-Shathri said: “We are delighted to announce our plan to open a cinema complex in Quwaieyah Mall. This will strengthen our position as the market maker in providing special cinematic experiences to our patrons, enhancing their overall experience at our unique shopping mall.”

He added: “Taking a bold call in going to type B or C cities, our endeavor is to facilitate modern retailing and entertainment experience and boost engagement with the local population for employment/ business.”

CEO of Muvi Cinemas Sultan Fawaz Abdulaziz Al-Hokair said: “At Muvi, we believe people should experience movies and not just watch them, that’s why we brought you the best technology available, coupled with luxury and fun features for the entire family to enjoy.”

Muvi Cinemas is the first homegrown cinema brand in Saudi Arabia owned and operated by Muvi Cinemas Company. Muvi has an aggressive expansion plan over the next few months — by the end of 2021, the company plans to open an additional nine screens to have a total of 21 sites in eight different cities with a total of 209 screens, offering customers a vast range of unique experiences.

Al-Quwayiyah governorate is among one of the fastest developing regions, with a rapidly increasing population. Located prominently along the highway connecting Taif, Jeddah and Makkah, this governorate currently has 23 million square meters of new developments, undertaken by various ministries (approximately 60 percent are fully developed and the remaining 40 percent, including a new university, are expected to be ready in the next three years).

There are nearly 175,000 people residing in Al-Quwayiyah city and another 120,000 more people residing in nearby villages. Government support and promising living conditions are significantly helping local society at large.

Currently, Quwaieyah Mall is serving the needs of the city population, registering an increase in footfall month-after-month. The mall has been developed over a 70,000-square-meter area, having an outdoor parking space for nearly 800 vehicles. Currently, big brands such as Panda and Redtag are operating in the mall while the popular kid’s entertainment outlet Sparky’s is about to start their operations in November.


SABB named ‘Best Consumer Digital Bank’ in Saudi Arabia

SABB named ‘Best Consumer Digital Bank’ in Saudi Arabia
Updated 20 September 2021

SABB named ‘Best Consumer Digital Bank’ in Saudi Arabia

SABB named ‘Best Consumer Digital Bank’ in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi British Bank (SABB) has won the “Best Consumer Digital Bank” award in Saudi Arabia for 2021 from Global Finance. This award recognizes the bank’s efforts in developing digitally innovative solutions that provide customers with a cutting-edge digital experience.

The award was given based on a number of criteria, including the strength of the company’s strategy in attracting and supporting digital customers, growth in the number of digital customers, the success of digital initiatives, as well as the design and functionality of websites and mobile applications.

Basha’ar Al-Qunaibet, deputy managing director, retail banking and wealth management at SABB, said: “We are honored to receive this award, especially during this challenging year, which reinforces SABB’s ambition to be the best bank in the Kingdom, especially post the historic successful merger between SABB and Alawwal Bank. Considering that digital banking is one of our main pillars to support competitive strength and to improve customer experience, SABB will continue to focus on expanding its digital banking and developing solutions to provide customers with a pioneering banking experience.”

SABB has recently achieved a significant increase in the number of digital channel users, and has successfully migrated a wide range of services and manual processes to its digital platform, which has resulted in the bank’s strong position in attracting customers to its digital services and offers. Notably, SABB’s active digital customers reached 78 percent of the total active customers, with SABB’s mobile application accounting for 85 percent of total active digital customers. The bank’s adoption of digital mobile payments is also developing positively, with more than 1 million cards via mobile wallets.

In addition to that, the bank is working to strengthen its relationship with fintech companies, and is actively working with more than 15 companies in various areas of digital banking.


Yas Island offers special packages for National Day

Yas Island offers special packages for National Day
Updated 19 September 2021

Yas Island offers special packages for National Day

Yas Island offers special packages for National Day

In partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, Yas Island Abu Dhabi, one of the world’s leading leisure and entertainment hubs, will be covered in green in celebration of the 91st National Day of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 23. In addition, the destination is offering a 20 percent discount to travelers from Saudi Arabia when booking hotel stay with theme parks access, directly through www.yasisland.ae.

The spectacular array of fireworks will be open for public viewing from selected hotels and restaurants on the island. Enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures are in place at the selected destinations to guarantee an enjoyable experience for all guests while ensuring their health and safety. Festivities are due to kick off at 9 p.m. with the fireworks live streamed on Yas Island’s Instagram page @yasisland as public gatherings are prohibited.

Moreover, attractions around Yas Island, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, CLYMB Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, Yas Plaza Hotels, W Abu Dhabi — Yas Island and Etihad Arena, will be washed with green light in recognition of 91 years since the foundation of Saudi Arabia in 1930.

Yas Island — situated just 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai — offers holidaymakers a diverse mix of award-winning leisure and entertainment experiences, from one-of-a-kind theme parks, world-class shopping and dining, to a links golf course, exciting water and motor sports, and musical and family events, all within the 25-square-kilometer island.

It is home to Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, more than 160 dining experiences, seven hotels, and indoor and outdoor concert venues — all of which are complemented by a range of visitor services that connect all attractions to one another.


VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber

VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber
Updated 19 September 2021

VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber

VFS Global launches services at Najran chamber

VFS Global has announced that a memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Najran Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city of Najran, to provide end-to-end visa and passport services. Moving forward, the chamber’s members and employees will benefit from the availability of these services on its premises, providing ease and convenience and ensuring they do not have to visit a visa application center.

Mohaimeed Saleh Al-Salem, chairman of the Najran Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Sumanth Kapoor, regional head — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, VFS Global, signed the MoU on Sept. 7 at the chamber’s headquarters. 

“We are proud to partner with VFS Global to provide unmatched convenience to our members and employees for their visa and passport requirements. Through this joint initiative, we offer Indian and Philippine residents an additional avenue to renew their passports. Furthermore, the revolutionary doorstep visa service will provide much relief to people living in Najran as they can now apply for a visa in comfort at a preferred location.” said Al-Salem.

“The need to receive services ‘at your doorstep,’ irrespective of location or time, is very crucial in today’s world. Our doorstep visa service offering is of immense benefit to those who reside in cities away from the existing centers and spend time traveling to the nearest center. Our partnership with Najran chamber will bring ease and convenience to customers living in the Najran province,” added Kapoor.

VFS Global services are expected to launch at the chamber’s premises by October. The following services will be available to customers from Sunday to Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

1. Indian passport renewal — Application form filling assistance, form submission and collection of renewed passport.

2. Philippine passport renewal — Application form filling assistance, form submission and collection of renewed passport.

3. Doorstep visa services – Application form filling assistance, form submission and biometric enrollment. This service applies to Schengen and UK visa applicants and can be availed at the premises or other locations of choice, such as the employee’s residence. 

VFS Global also provides a range of optional services, including travel insurance, COVID-19 test booking and document scanning.