PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh

PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh
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Updated 23 September 2021

PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh

PwC to create over 6,000 jobs with new regional consulting HQ in Riyadh
  • PwC predicts its Riyadh HQ will attract other global firms to the Kingdom
  • The firm will also open a Digital Centre in the Saudi capital

RIYADH: PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Middle East will build a new regional consulting headquarters in Riyadh, hiring more than 6,000 staff in the region over the next five years.

“We will be establishing the regional consulting headquarters in Riyadh, where it will be based in KAFD [King Abdullah Financial District],” Riyadh Al Najjar, KSA country senior leader, told Arab News. 

Al Najjar said the new base would dovetail with the Vision 2030 growth plans across the Kingdom, allowing the professional services group to help clients take advantage of opportunities that arise.

“We wanted to ramp up our presence in Saudi Arabia and show our continued commitment given the massive transformation happening across the government and support the execution of Vision 2030 as it happens,” he said, adding: “I think our presence in Saudi, from an HQ perspective, can attract other global firms to be in Saudi and enhance the business environment."

He also said the firm was encouraged by new Saudi regulations that welcome international firms to the Kingdom.

PwC Middle East strategy & markets leader Stephen Anderson also told Arab News that the strength of the Saudi economy as it emerged from the pandemic was encouraging.

He said: “Coming out of the pandemic, the transformation we have seen in Saudi Arabia so far, which has been remarkable, is only going to accelerate.”

The Kingdom’s second-quarter economic data showed growth of 1.1 percent quarter-on-quarter. The oil sector grew by 2.5 percent quarter-on-quarter on the back of the unwinding of the 1 million barrels per day voluntary output cut that lasted from February to April. 

PwC’s Al Najjar said the firm was focused on government Giga projects that are key to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 growth plans.

Major projects in this scheme include the $8 billion Qiddiya Entertainment city, launched in 2018. The 8,400-acre site will include a theme park, water parks, motorsport tracks, cultural events, and holiday homes. 

The government has earmarked tourism as a priority, and PwC is working closely with clients on initiatives around this industry, according to Al Najjar.

Consulting Market

The consulting market size will continue to grow in Saudi Arabia, given the fact much of the Vision 2030 investment will require global expertise and people on the ground to help the government achieve its goals, Al Najjar said. 

“The consulting market in the GCC shrank by 12.4 percent to $2.68 billion in 2020 due to the global pandemic, however, it is expected to grow by around 17 percent in 2021,” he said citing The GCC Consulting Market 2021 report in March by Source Global Research.

“The Saudi market in particular fared best in the GCC during the pandemic only contracting by 11 percent in 2020, and is expected to grow by 19 percent by the end of 2021,” according to the report. 

Al Najjar added: “There is no doubt that Saudi from a regional perspective, with all of the Giga projects and all of the transformation that is happening across the sectors, is a huge market for us in PwC and is a significant one for the Middle East.”

Anderson emphasized the resilience of clients in the Middle East region during the pandemic who quickly adjusted to the health crisis. 

“During the pandemic, many of our projects continued and the quality of our work and delivery was as consistent remotely as was the case physically,” he said.

Anderson forecasts that growth will even continue beyond 2030 with “the ambition, the amount of change and transformation in place, which will only demand more service.”

“I think the pandemic introduced new strategies that reinforced and accelerated the Vision 2030 plans,” he said.

Anderson added that there are around 1,500 partners and staff based in Saudi Arabia, over 40 percent of whom are Saudi nationals, and the group has plans to significantly boost this ratio.

PwC has operated in Saudi since 1979, and has five offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar and Dhahran, and will soon launch a new base in Al Ula.

PwC "The New Equation"

PwC Middle East welcomed over 120 new graduates to its Saudi Offices in September as part of its regional graduate intake of around 326, with the boost in its hiring a result of its new global strategy, "The New Equation", the company said in a June 15 filing.

The number of recruits hired in Saudi Arabia represents 37 percent of the total regional intake, with around 90 percent being Saudi nationals. 

New graduates took part in a virtual induction attended by regional PwC leaders, and will now join the firm’s Middle East units such as consulting, assurance, deals, and tax & legal services, the company said. 

Anderson said: "We have close to 1500 people on the ground in Saudi. Our presence on the ground is giving us the confidence to invest and grow and we will be placing more people in Saudi over the next 12 months and beyond."

PwC is committed to hiring over 500 new graduates each year, and provides them with training and qualifications.

Al Najjar has been in consulting in Saudi for almost 30 years and said PwC is committed to local talent development programmes, such as Hemam, which recruits and develops future Saudi leaders in the firm, he said.

Anderson added there is great demand for Saudi talent from the public and the private sector. 

He said the firm saw it as its job to retain the best, but also to equip talented leaders working in those areas.

As part of its New Equation plan, PwC Middle East will also focus on digital, emerging technologies and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns.

This includes further investment in digital services through strategic acquisitions, emerging technologies, and establishing additional experience centres in the region, and an ESG centre of excellence.

ESG and Digital Centre

Al Najjar said: "From a Saudi perspective, this is absolutely the right time to look into ESG, as a key pillar of Vision 2030 is improving the quality of life.” 

PwC will establish a Digital Experience Centre in Riyadh, according to Anderson. 

Al Najjar said: "In these centres we combine our capabilities with the best of our technology from around the world to provide opportunities to our clients to collaborate, dream and co-create with us.” 


Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 13 sec ago

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US

Amazon investing in 274 renewable energy projects globally, adds 18 new projects in Europe and US
  • The projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers

Amazon today announced 18 new utility-scale wind and solar energy projects across the US, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK, totaling 5.6 gigawatts (GW) of procured capacity to date in 2021.

Amazon now has 274 renewable energy projects globally and is on a path to power 100 percent of its business operations with renewable energy by 2025 — five years earlier than its original 2030 commitment.


These new utility-scale wind and solar projects bring Amazon’s total committed renewable electricity production capacity to more than 12 GW and 33,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) when the projects become fully operational, or electricity output equivalent to powering more than 3 million US homes for a year.

The projects will supply renewable energy for Amazon’s corporate offices, fulfillment centers, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers that support millions of customers globally.

The projects will also help Amazon meet its commitment to produce the clean energy equivalent of the electricity used by all consumer Echo devices.

The amount of clean energy produced by these projects will avoid the equivalent of the annual emissions of nearly 3 million cars in the US each year, or about 13.7 million metric tons.


“We are moving quickly and deliberately to reduce our carbon emissions and address the climate crisis,” said Kara Hurst, vice president of worldwide sustainability at Amazon.

“Significant investments in renewable energy globally are an important step in delivering on The Climate Pledge, our commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Renewable energy projects also bring new investment, green jobs, and advance the decarbonization of the electricity systems in communities around the world.”


Following today’s announcement, Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the world, with 274 global projects including 105 utility-scale wind and solar projects and 169 solar rooftops on facilities and stores worldwide. 


“Amazon is wasting no time demonstrating that they are fully committed to a clean energy future for all,” said Gregory Wetstone, CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

“At COP26, the world agreed we needed bigger and bolder ambitions around global carbon reduction from all sectors. With hundreds of renewable energy projects already underway, Amazon is a model for the level of urgency and action we need from the private sector to combat the climate crisis.”


“Large-scale clean energy investments like these benefit us all and should be the new normal for industries of all shapes and sizes. They bring good-paying, green jobs to local communities and support progress toward our community’s goal of a 90 percent carbon-free US electricity system, said Miranda Ballentine, CEO of Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA).”


“Amazon’s procurement of 12 GW of renewable energy capacity globally is a strong testament to the company’s commitment to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040,” said Hannah Hunt, impact director at RE-Source, a corporate renewable energy sourcing platform in Europe.

“The company’s 10 new renewable energy operations across Europe will benefit communities, bring new green jobs, and help meet our commitments to curb the climate crisis.”


Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu

Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu
Updated 7 min 36 sec ago

Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu

Saudi leading online food delivery platform Jahez to list on Parallel Market Nomu

RIYADH: Jahez International Co. for Information Systems Technology, the Saudi leading online food delivery platform also known as Jahez, intends to proceed with IPO and list its ordinary shares on the Saudi Parallel Market, Nomu, according to a statement.

The Capital Market Authority approved on September 29, the Group’s application for the IPO of 1,363,934 shares, representing 13 percent of the Group’s share capital post-listing.

The final price for the shares to be announced at the end of the book-building period. 

Jahez is a homegrown Saudi business that utilizes disruptive technology to connect over 1.3 million active users with its platform’s network that includes over 12,000 merchant branches and more than 34,000 delivery partners in 47 cities across Saudi Arabia as of March 31st, 2021. 

 


Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022
Updated 4 min 24 sec ago

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Al Rajhi Capital expects a budget surplus for Saudi Arabia in 2022

Saudi Arabia is set for a fiscal surplus of around SR25-SR45 billion ($6.7-$12 billion) in 2022, according to a report from investment bank Al Rajhi Capital.

The Saudi-based firm said government revenues could amount to around SR1 trillion in 2022, made up of SR600 billion in oil revenues and about SR380-SR400 billion in non-oil revenues. 

This forecast goes against that made by the Saudi Ministry of Finance, which expects a deficit of SR52 billion, as shown in its pre-budget statement for 2022.

The ministry’s forecast for revenues was a lower SR903 billion, inducing their expected deficit.

Al Rajhi Capital assumed the same value of expenditures as the ministry, valued at SR955 billion.

Jadwa Investment, another investment bank in the Kingdom, had almost the same forecasts for oil and non-oil revenues, as well as expenditures, for 2022. Its budget surplus expectation was also similar at SR35 billion.

Al Rajhi Capital also said that VAT rates are likely to remain unchanged.

The Ministry of Finance is set to publish its budget statement for 2022 in December.


Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening
Updated 16 min 51 sec ago

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

Red Sea International rises 4% on Baker Hughes deal, TASI up amid omicron fears: Market Opening

RIYADH: The shares of Red Sea International Co.'s rose by four percent at 10:55 Riyadh after it signed a seven-year contract worth SR245.8 million ($65.5 million) with Baker Hughes to design, manufacture, supply and operate three camps in the Eastern region to support its oil drilling operations in the region, according to a bourse filing.

Saudi Arabia's stock market traded higher this morning even as concerns about the new omicron COVID-19 strain persisted.

The main stock index, TASI was up very slightly 0.86 percent, reaching 10,854.27 points at 10:55 Riyadh time.

Saudi’s parallel market Nomu almost flat as it's down by 0.13 percent.

Companies news:

Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co.’s shareholders approved the board of directors’ recommendation to increase capital to SR550 million from SR470.66 million through 16.86 percent bonus shares, according to a bourse filing.

This came during the extraordinary general assembly meeting  held on Nov. 30, the company said in a statement on Saudi Stock Exchange, Tadawul.

The capital increase will be executed by granting 0.1686 shares for every one share owned.

The National Agricultural Development Company, or NADEC, announces recent developments relating to the acquisition of the Second Milling Company with OLAM International Limited, Al Rajhi International for Investment Company and Abdulaziz Alajlan & Sons Company for Commercial and Real Estate Investment.

The Saudi Exchange announces that the fluctuation limits for Aljazira Takaful Taawuni Co. will be based on a share price of SAR 22.00

Saudi Telecom Co., or stc, approved its dividends policy for the next three years starting fourth quarter of 2021


Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
Updated 01 December 2021

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US
  • Saudi Arabia’s $100bn plan to become largest shale gas producer outside of the US

LONDON: Saudi Aramco’s award of $10 billion worth of contracts on its giant Jafurah project has finally fired the starting gun to develop what is thought to be the world’s biggest shale gas field outside of the US.
Having battled with America’s shale oil producers for market share over the last decade, the Kingdom is now adopting the advanced low-cost techniques of its fracking rivals and is set to spend up to $100 billion on Jafurah to rapidly increase its domestic gas production.
The Kingdom is estimated to be sitting on the fifth largest shale gas reserves in the world.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman earlier said the Jafurah gas field will place the Kingdom third in the world in natural gas production by 2030.
But does Saudi Arabia really have the potential to replicate the soaring success of US shale gas development?


Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Amin Nasser certainly thinks so. Announcing the contracts this week, he said: “It is a breakthrough that few outside the Kingdom thought was possible and which has positive implications for energy security, economic development and climate protection.”
Production is scheduled to begin within the next three years. The field will supply cleaner natural gas for domestic use in the Kingdom, along with feedstock for both petrochemical production, and crucially, low carbon hydrogen power.
Jafurah is expected to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s goal of producing half of its electricity from gas and half from renewables as it pursues its 2060 net-zero target. Indeed, Jafurah alone is forecast to replace up to 500,000 barrels of oil a day that would otherwise be used for domestic consumption.
All this serves the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to diversify the economy from crude oil and sharply reduce its carbon footprint, even if the scheme will enable the Kingdom to increase its crude exports.

The Kingdom, however, has no plans to export the gas from Jafurah as Prince Abdulaziz told reporter on Nov. 29 in Dhahran following the announcement of the new contracts to develop the basin.

We will keep our gas to ourselves

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman


But it was thought that fracking in Saudi Arabia will be more expensive than it is in the US, not least because the Kingdom is not renowned with an abundance of natural water, a critical component in the fracking process.
The fracking process requires pumping water, sand and chemicals into the fields at high pressure which fractures the shale rock and allows the hydrocarbons to escape.
“We managed to reduce drilling cost by 70 percent and stimulation cost by 90 percent since the 2014 cost benchmark, while increasing well productivity six-fold compared with the start of the program,” Nasser said on Monday.
Aramco plans to use seawater for fracking at Jafurah. Earlier this year, the company also invited bids for a water desalination plant at the field. Desalinated water is used in gas processing plants. An earlier bidding process was abruptly canceled last year and the current tender process has reduced the capacity of the desalination plant by around 20 percent.

Sadad Al Husseini, former EVP of Aramco


However, former Aramco Executive VP Sadad Husseini insists the “water issue” is a red herring.
He told Arab News: “The water issue was resolved years ago. We have aquifers that hold saline water and the Saudi oil industry has a long history of using this water for drilling.”
Husseini also dismissed cost comparisons with the US shale industry.
He said: “The cost of fracking depends on the depth of the reservoir. In the US, they work with shallower reservoirs, around 3,000 to 4,000 feet deep, which makes fracking less costly. In Saudi Arabia, the reservoirs will be 9,000 to 10,000 feet deep. It’s technically more challenging, but unlike the US, those deep wells are not just producing gas, they’re also producing a lot of condensates, most notably ethane, along with gas, and that is profitable and makes the economics of this field work. Ethane feeds the petrochemical industry.”
He added: “It’s a challenging development but it wouldn’t have advanced if the issues hadn’t been resolved.
Developing shale gas reserves outside the US has not been particularly successful, partly due to environmental concerns - particularly in large population centers in Europe, a lack of infrastructure, and difficulties accessing and disposing of water used in the process.
However, Jafurah is close to the Gulf coast with relatively easy access to seawater, and is also adjacent to the world’s largest oilfield, Ghawar, and its substantial energy infrastructure.
Production at Jafurah is expected to commence in 2024 and is forecast to reach up to 2 billion cubic feet per day of sales gas, 418 million cubic feet per day of ethane and about 630,000 barrels per day of gas liquids and condensates by 2030. Investment over that period will amount to $68 billion, but is expected to total more than $100 billion overall.
Domestic employment, another key plank of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, is also central to the scheme. It is understood that along with fields under development in North Arabia and South Ghawar, the Jufarah project will create more than 200,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Kingdom.
The scheme will also incorporate new technology, most notably using industrial internet of things and video analytics.
The Jafurah project will not only aid the Kingdom’s environmental ambitions but will also support its petrochemicals industry. “Its ethane and liquified natural gas are highly valuable feedstocks for the Kingdom’s petrochemical’s industry,” the Aramco chief said.