Saudi sensitive data protected thanks to new IBM Cloud Satellite deal

Saudi sensitive data protected thanks to new IBM Cloud Satellite deal
The Edarat Group has selected the IBM Cloud Satellite system to enable clients to access secure services in any environment where their data resides. (Supplied)
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Updated 01 September 2021

Saudi sensitive data protected thanks to new IBM Cloud Satellite deal

Saudi sensitive data protected thanks to new IBM Cloud Satellite deal
  • Last month, IBM released an analysis claiming the Middle East region has the second highest average breach cost amongst the 17 regions surveyed for the study

One of Saudi Arabia's leading technology infrastructure firms has joined with IBM to allow its customers to run global workloads without highly-sensitive data leaving the Kingdom.

The Edarat Group has selected the IBM Cloud Satellite system to enable clients to access secure services in any environment where their data resides – allowing them to abide by local regulation.

However, the data itself will stay in Saudi Arabia. This is a key for regulated industries like financial services, telco, and healthcare, and can allow companies in these industries to run workloads in local and global data centres.

Last month, IBM released an analysis claiming the Middle East region has the second highest average breach cost amongst the 17 regions surveyed for the study.

These data breaches cost companies $6.93 million per breach on average, according to IBM.

Edarat's selection of the Cloud Satellite system comes a week after IBM joined with companies including Cisco, Oracle, and Microsoft to partner with the Saudi Arabian government in a $1.2bn tech initiative programme aimed at helping youngsters develop digital skills such as cybersecurity, programming, AI and gaming.


Saudi desalination corporation reveals environmental sustainability road map

Saudi desalination corporation reveals environmental sustainability road map
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi desalination corporation reveals environmental sustainability road map

Saudi desalination corporation reveals environmental sustainability road map
  • Kingdom’s plans for improving environment, combating climate change, reaching carbon neutrality shared at global industry forum

JEDDAH: A Saudi government institution responsible for the desalination of seawater has revealed its road map to achieving environmental sustainability at a major international industry conference.

Officials from the Saline Water Conversion Corp. shared their Saudi Green Initiative action plans — aimed at improving the environment, combating climate change, and reaching carbon neutrality ­— at a recent forum in London attended by more than 90 global leaders and investors.

By taking part in the event, the SWCC not only hoped to strengthen its world leadership role in the desalination industry, but also look at ways to further reduce production costs while increasing the involvement of relevant Saudi companies and organizations in current and future projects.

Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan was among forum delegates who heard how the corporation was focused on enhancing the use of clean energy sources in place of thermal heating systems.

Addressing the meeting, Saleh Al-Mana, the SWCC’s assistant deputy governor for technical affairs and projects, said that by reusing water and recycling filters in production systems, and developing engineering principles in technical designs for beneficiaries including the agriculture, industrial, and urban sectors, the transition to low carbon activated the circular economy.

The corporation has been working on initiatives to achieve environmental sustainability in all areas of desalination supply, from production to transportation.

At the Saudi Green Initiative forum held in Riyadh in October, the Kingdom revealed its blueprint for dealing with climate change by increasing the reliance on clean energy, protecting the environment, and offsetting millions of tons of carbon emissions annually by 2030.

The country was investigating more ways to produce, treat, and distribute water locally using energy systems that ensured sustainable growth.

The initiative aims to protect the marine environment by investing in zero liquid discharge systems, a wastewater management system that extracts salts and minerals and converts them into products of high economic value for use in the industrial sector.

Earlier this year, the SWCC set a world record for the lowest energy consuming desalination plant.

The transition to a low-carbon future will be a complex process. Alternatives will take significant time and sustained investment to meet the rising global energy demand.


Aramco signs $15.5bn gas pipeline deal with consortium led by BlackRock, Hassana Investment Co.

 Aramco signs $15.5bn gas pipeline deal with consortium led by BlackRock, Hassana Investment Co.
Updated 30 sec ago

Aramco signs $15.5bn gas pipeline deal with consortium led by BlackRock, Hassana Investment Co.

 Aramco signs $15.5bn gas pipeline deal with consortium led by BlackRock, Hassana Investment Co.

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco signed a $15.5 billion lease and leaseback deal involving its gas pipeline network with a consortium led by BlackRock Real Assets and Hassana Investment Co., said a statement.

Considered to be one of the largest energy infrastructure deals, it represents Aramco’s asset optimization program and is the second such infrastructure transaction by Aramco this year after the closing of the oil pipeline infrastructure deal earlier in June 2021.

Upon completion of the gas pipeline transaction, Aramco will receive upfront proceeds of $15.5 billion, further strengthening its balance sheet, the statement added.

Larry Fink, chairman and CEO of BlackRock, said: “BlackRock is pleased to work with Saudi Aramco and Hassana on this landmark transaction for Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure. Aramco and Saudi Arabia are taking meaningful, forward-looking steps to transition the Saudi economy toward renewables, clean hydrogen, and a net-zero future.”

As part of the transaction, a newly-formed subsidiary, Aramco Gas Pipelines Company, will lease usage rights in Aramco’s gas pipelines network and lease them back to Aramco for a 20-year period. In return, Aramco Gas Pipelines Company will receive a tariff payable by Aramco for the gas products that will flow through the network, backed by minimum commitments on throughput. Aramco will hold a 51 percent majority stake in Aramco Gas Pipeline Company and sell a 49 percent stake to investors led by BlackRock and Hassana, which is the investment management arm of the General Organization for Social Insurance.

Saad Al-Fadly, CEO of Hassana Investment Company, added: “We are particularly excited about this deal as it comes in line with Hassana’s strategy to create enduring value for GOSI and further strengthen our long-lasting partnerships with strong and reputable players such as Aramco and BlackRock.”

According to the statement, Aramco will continue to retain full ownership and operational control of its gas pipeline network and the transaction will not impose any restrictions on Aramco’s production volumes. 

Aramco CEO said: “With gas expected to play a key role in the global transition to a more sustainable energy future, our partners will benefit from a deal tied to a world-class gas infrastructure asset.”

The announcement follows a $12.4 billion lease and leaseback transaction concluded in June with a consortium led by EIG Global Energy Partners, which involved Aramco’s stabilized crude oil pipeline network.

Abdulaziz M. Al Gudaimi, Aramco Senior Vice President of Corporate Development, said: “We are pleased that we are concluding the second transaction, seeking long-term partners who understand and appreciate the industry.”

The gas pipeline transaction is expected to close as soon as practicable, subject to customary closing conditions, including any required merger control and related approvals.


Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse

Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse
Updated 30 min 29 sec ago

Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse

Yemen replaces central bank governor, deputy governor amid currency collapse

RIYADH: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi reconstituted the country’s central bank board on Monday, replacing the governor and the deputy governor amid an unprecedented collapse in the local currency.
Ahmed bin Ahmed Ghaleb Al-Maabqi was appointed as governor, and Muhammad Omar Banaja as his deputy, a presidential decree published by state news agency SABA said.


Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition

Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition
Updated 06 December 2021

Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition

Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition
  • US oil CEOs also stress need for fossil fuels despite push for cleaner energy

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nassir on Monday rejected what he called a “deeply assumption” that the entire world can run on alternatives and the vast global energy system can be totally transformed, virtually overnight.

He was speaking at a global energy conference devoted to future technologies and low-carbon strategies in Houston.

The Aramco chief said several highly unrealistic scenarios about the future of energy are clouding the picture such as investments worth “roughly $115 trillion will be made in less than 30 years.”

“Energy security, economic development, and affordability imperatives are clearly not receiving enough attention,” he said.

“There are still no truly viable alternatives to conventional fuels in aviation, shipping, and even trucking.”

His global counterparts at the World Petroleum Conference also affirmed the need for more oil for decades to come. 

“We in fact are going into a period of scarcity. And I think that for the first time, in a long time, we will see a buyer looking for a barrel of oil, as opposed to a barrel of oil looking for a buyer,” said Jeff Miller, CEO of energy services firm Halliburton.

World fossil fuel demand has rebounded sharply in 2021, with natural gas already at pre-pandemic levels and oil nearing levels reached in 2019. That comes even as large global majors, especially those based in Europe, are limiting exploration and production in an attempt to shift to renewable power development and as governments promote efforts to reduce cut carbon emissions to deal with rising worldwide temperatures.

The Aramco chief said due to the mounting pressure to stop all investments in oil and gas, the upstream capex has fallen by more than 50 percent between 2014 and last year, from $700 billion to $300 billion.

“Consequently, supplies have started to lag. This is also hurting spare oil production capacity, which is declining sharply. Yet this is happening against the backdrop of healthy demand growth.,” Nasser said.

Oil rose 3 percent a barrel to about $72 on Monday on hopes the omicron variant would be less damaging to oil demand.


IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday

IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday
Updated 06 December 2021

IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday

IMF delegation arrives in Lebanon, to meet PM Mikati on Tuesday

BEIRUT: A delegation from the International Monetary Fund arrived in Lebanon on Monday and will meet Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday, the prime minister’s office said on Twitter.
The delegation, led by Ernesto Ramirez, will stay for few days during which they will meet with Lebanese officials and the ministerial committee negotiating with the IMF.
They will discuss strategies to be built on early next year, when an expanded mission will come to negotiate the details of an expected economic and financial recovery program for Lebanon.