Eni to work with Egypt on hydrogen production

Eni to work with Egypt on hydrogen production
Eni is working with Egypt on potential hydrogen projects. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 July 2021

Eni to work with Egypt on hydrogen production

Eni to work with Egypt on hydrogen production
  • he partnership aims to assess the technical and commercial feasibility of targeted green and blue hydrogen production projects in the country

RIYADH: Egypt has signed an initial agreement with Italy's oil and gas company Eni, to cooperate on 'green' and 'blue' hydrogen production in Egypt.
The partnership aims to assess the technical and commercial feasibility of targeted green and blue hydrogen production projects in the country, Asharq Business reported, citing a filing.
While the existing market for hydrogen is tiny today, it could be worth as much as $700 billion annually by 2050, according to BloombergNEF. It comes as a number of countries across the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, invest in new hydrogen projects.
Eni will work with Egypt on how to generate electricity from renewable energy sources while at the same time storing carbon dioxide in aging natural gas fields.
The study also includes identifying the potential local market for hydrogen as well as possible export opportunities.
Abu Dhabi National Energy Co. (TAQA) and Abu Dhabi Ports this week also signed an initial agreement to build a green hydrogen-to-ammonia project powered by a 2 GW solar array.
The companies plan to build the facility in Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, WAM reported.


IBM sets out vision to promote technology across the region

IBM sets out vision to promote technology across the region
Updated 15 sec ago

IBM sets out vision to promote technology across the region

IBM sets out vision to promote technology across the region

IBM’s strong belief in the Saudi Arabian market and its people has led the multinational technology group to invest in a number of initiatives ranging from a cybersecurity center to a training academy, one of its top officials has told Arab News

Fahad Alanazi, general manager of IBM Saudi Arabia, said his company's strategy of “is to make the national priority, our priority”. 

Alanazi was appointed earlier this year as the first Saudi GM of IBM for Saudi Arabia, and he is clear that he needs to learn the culture of the Kingdom. 

“In order to serve people of a country, you need to understand the way business is operated there,” he said.

With this in mind IBM has established a number of initiatives aimed at the Saudi youth. 

The most recent, a training academy, was announced in August as part of a series of technology initiatives aimed at improving the digital skills of 100,000 Saudi youngsters.

The initiatives tie in with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and are being delivered in partnership with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Education

Alanazi praised the Saudi education system, something which IBM is seeking to complement with digital training programmes. 

“On previous technology training programs conducted by us, the Saudi students scored the highest among other Middle Eastern students and that’s a good sign of the education system,” he said. 

IBM has a “digital nation” program with the Saudi Ports which focuses on providing online training and enabling the digital skills of Saudi port employees. There have also been agreements with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to train their employees, as well as other government officials.   

IBM has signed an agreement with Tuwaiq Academy to provide online courses to improve the digital skills of employees in the government and private sectors that are using AI data technology.

The courses to be offered through Tuwaiq will cover hybrid clouds, data science, AI technology, blockchain, and machine learning.

“We are measuring our success by our ability to create jobs via our ecosystem,” said Alanazi .

IBM sees its projects as win-win opportunities, not only because they feel responsible for spreading knowledge but also because investment in education will reap benefits from seeing growth in Saudi Arabia. “The more we train people, the more the country will be developing technologically and that means there is a return for us,” he said.

This approach also benefits the IBM ecosystem, he said, ensuring there are the right people to work for IBM and creating customers in the future.

“ We are committed to developing local talent, we have strong belief in the Saudi market and the Saudi youth,” said.

A sign of this commitment is that IBM’s only security operations center in the region is located in its Riyadh office, serving the whole of the Middle East. The center operates 24/7 to monitor security incidents and provides active alerts on any suspicious activities related to client data, said Alanazi.

Clouds

IBM is one of the leading firms working in hybrid clouds, which they believe to be an opportunity worth $1.3 trillion worldwide, according to Alanazi. 

Hybrid clouds combine on-premises IT infrastructure with private cloud services and the public cloud, and they are viewed as a way of moving faster while keeping costs in check and complying with local regulations. 

Nearly half of C-suite executives in the Kingdom see hybrid clouds as a preferential solution when it comes to disaster recovery, and 85 percent are pursuing or planning hybrid cloud strategies, according to a survey by IBM.

However, fear of information leakage is slowing down their plans. Although the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology regulates the cloud, 80 percent of public and private sector leaders still prefer data to be held within the country for greater privacy.

It is a government requirement that all healthcare and financial personal data be held in the Kingdom. “We believe there will be some sort of acceptance to put them on the cloud system,” Al Anizi said, but for the time being there are clear instructions that valuable information needs to be inside the country. 

“We have the IBM cloud satellite installed here in Saudi Arabia, but we are committed in moving Saudi Arabia forward with hybrid cloud,” he said.

As with every other industry, data technology and AI have been affected by the pandemic.

“Delivery services, online banking, payment systems and other related sectors are growing. We have been part of that,” said Alanazi. 

This growth includes the recent launch of an instant payment system in cooperation with Mastercard. It is aligned with Saudi Payments’ aim to improve the Kingdom’s financial ecosystem through the adoption of faster payment systems and improvements to banking reconciliation, according to a report by IBM. 

Recent transformations in the way technology has been put to use was not determined by the pandemic, but Covid did accelerate investment and helped the process move faster, said Alanazi.

IBM first set foot in Saudi Arabia in 1947, when the first computer was installed at Aramco. The company does not yet plan to base its regional headquarters in Saudi Arabia and its existing office in Riyadh doesn’t only serve sales and marketing purposes, but also provides technical resources, consultancy services, and security expertise, he said.


European stocks rally for third day, Evergrande shares surge 30% in Asia

European stocks rally for third day, Evergrande shares surge 30% in Asia
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 30 min 41 sec ago

European stocks rally for third day, Evergrande shares surge 30% in Asia

European stocks rally for third day, Evergrande shares surge 30% in Asia
  • The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.6 percent earlier today and was now set to end the week with solid gains
  • Asian stocks rose after Evergrande's shares surged 30 percent in Hong Kong markets

European stocks rallied for a third day as the global mood brightened on easing concerns about cash-strapped developer China Evergrande, while investors awaited the latest batch of business surveys.


The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.6 percent earlier today and was now set to end the week with solid gains.


Asian stocks rose after Evergrande's shares surged 30 percent in Hong Kong markets as its chairman sought to reassure investors after the company's unit said it had "resolved" a coupon payment on an onshore bond. This interest payment is due today. 


However, Evergrande's Frankfurt-listed shares tumbled 20.4 percent.


Early reading of IHS Markit's September business surveys and the Bank of England's monetary policy decision are due later in the day, with investors looking for clues on growth and policy trajectory.

Meanwhile, Asian markets found solace in the Federal Reserve statement which signaled it may begin easing its extraordinary support measures for the economy later this year.


Shares rose in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Australia and Taiwan but fell in South Korea and Malaysia. U.S. futures were higher. Markets were closed in Tokyo for a holiday. Singapore equities headed for their best day in two months on Thursday, leading broad gains in emerging Asian stocks. 


Argentinian exchange gets $50m in latest funding round: Market wrap 

Argentinian exchange gets $50m in latest funding round: Market wrap 
Updated 22 September 2021

Argentinian exchange gets $50m in latest funding round: Market wrap 

Argentinian exchange gets $50m in latest funding round: Market wrap 

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded lower on Wednesday, falling by 1.185 percent to $42,270.82 at 4:26 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether, the second most traded cryptocurrency, traded at $2,939.71, down by 3.05 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.

Funding

Argentina-based Latin American exchange Ripio has successfully raised $50 million in its latest Series B funding round.

The exchange, which has a strong position in its home country and Brazil, will use these new funds to expand into other areas of South America, such as Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay later this year.

These funds will also help Ripio continue to grow its Latam brand, after it acquired Bitcointrade, one of the most popular exchanges in Brazil

"For us, this announcement is a natural step that allows us to continue expanding and consolidating our products in the region, with the mission of expanding access to the crypto world, building simple tools and offering quality information and resources to facilitate the path to the new digital economy,” Sebastian Serrano, CEO of Ripio said.

The round had the participation of bitcoin investor Tim Draper, Amplo (investors of Robinhood), Marcos Galperin (CEO of Mercado Libre), and Martin Migoya (CEO of Globant), led by Digital Currency Group (DCG).

 

Bye-bye Binance

Meanwhile, amid worldwide regulatory scrutiny, global crypto exchange Binance has announced that it will stop offering futures contracts, options and leveraged tokens to Australian users within 90 days.

"Effective from 24 September, 9 a.m. (UTC), existing Australian users will have 90 days to reduce and close their positions for these products," Binance explained.

 

Iran urged to change policy 

In Iran, some parliamentarians have set out to change the government’s regulatory stance toward cryptocurrencies, citing opportunities to use them to improve the country’s economy.

They also expressed concerns about Tehran’s restrictive policies toward innovations. 

After the release of a study that recommended a new approach to the crypto industry, lawmakers have called for the adoption of friendlier regulations.

“Taking a restrictive approach only pushes innovative solutions underground,” a spokesman for the council's economic committee, Gholamreza Marhaba, told Iranian media.

He also said: “Our studies show that 50 percent of crypto activities are in the informal market. This is while supportive regulations can help enhance contribution of the digital currency to the economy.”


Al-Falih invites Greek investors to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia

Al-Falih invites Greek investors to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia
Updated 22 September 2021

Al-Falih invites Greek investors to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia

Al-Falih invites Greek investors to explore opportunities in Saudi Arabia
  • An agreement was signed to establish the Saudi-Greek Business Council

RIYADH: Saudi Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih on Wednesday said the Kingdom seeks to benefit from Greece’s vast experience in the logistics, tourism and hospitality sectors.

Al-Falih, who is visiting Greece, held a meeting with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Maximos Mansion in Athens.

During the meeting, they discussed bilateral ties and explored ways of expanding growing cooperation between the two countries in various areas.

“The Kingdom’s economy is opening up to the world at an unprecedented pace and volume, and it offers promising investment opportunities for investors from all over the world,” Al-Falih said in a statement.

He invited Greek investors and companies to explore the opportunities in the Kingdom and further strengthen bilateral ties.

“This visit is to confirm that together we can take our current relationship to even greater heights, and I look forward to welcoming more Greek investors to the Kingdom,” he said.

An agreement was signed to establish the Saudi-Greek Business Council, which will work to facilitate bilateral trade and exchange information on investment opportunities.

 


PIF first sovereign wealth fund to issue green bonds, Al-Rumayyan says

PIF first sovereign wealth fund to issue green bonds, Al-Rumayyan says
Updated 22 September 2021

PIF first sovereign wealth fund to issue green bonds, Al-Rumayyan says

PIF first sovereign wealth fund to issue green bonds, Al-Rumayyan says
  • The PIF has been given the mandate to develop nearly 70 percent of renewable projects in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will be the first sovereign wealth fund to issue green bonds, PIF Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan said at an event organized by the Future Investment Initiative Institute on Tuesday.

The issuance is part of the fund’s plan of shifting toward green investments.

“The Kingdom aims to deploy 50 percent of its investments in renewable and sustainable power sources,” Al-Rumayyan said.

The PIF has been given the mandate to develop nearly 70 percent of renewable projects in Saudi Arabia through its portfolio companies, the organization’s chief said.

Utilities and renewables are among the 13 sectors identified by the fund as part of its Vision 2030 strategy.

Saudi Arabia has seen a surge of interest in initiatives related to environmental, social, and governance amid growing awareness among global investors about ESG risks.

Al-Rumayyan said PIF was working with BlackRock on the ESG framework.

“We’re working with many partners from all over the world, domestically and internationally, to have better ESG compliance (in) all the things that we do,” Al-Rumayyan said.

One of the companies PIF owns, the Red Sea Development Co. which is building a new beach resort in the kingdom, secured a $3.8 billion green loan earlier this year for new hotels powered by renewable energy.

Saudi Arabia will announce its “Green Initiative” next month, followed by the “Middle East Initiative,” which includes planting 50 billion trees, Al-Rumayyan said.

“We have long-term views. We don’t want to exploit all of our resources overnight,” he said.

The PIF governor said Saudi oil has the lowest emission in the world. “Our oil is the best when it comes to emission,” Al-Rumayyan added.

Saudi Arabia is now more interested to invest in lower impacting energies toward the environment.

“We are one of the most efficient when it comes to sustainability and renewable energy. So today, as I said, our solar power production is costing us only 1.2 cents per kWh versus some other pretty restrictions, it’s over $0.15,” Al-Rumayyan said.