Italy has ‘high expectations’ for Saudi, Middle East green initiatives: Italian deputy foreign minister

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Updated 24 October 2021

Italy has ‘high expectations’ for Saudi, Middle East green initiatives: Italian deputy foreign minister

Italy has ‘high expectations’ for Saudi, Middle East green initiatives: Italian deputy foreign minister
  • Manlio Di Stefano calls for more EU funding of Middle Eastern green energy schemes

ROME: Italy had “high expectations” about the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative events in Riyadh along with the Kingdom’s engagement in green energy production, a leading Italian MP has said.

Manlio Di Stefano will be representing his government at the Middle East Green Initiative Summit being held in the Saudi capital, and he told Arab News that his country attached “a lot of importance to this event.”

The 40-year-old Italian undersecretary (deputy minister) for foreign affairs and international cooperation is from the Five Star Movement, the populist party founded by comedian Beppe Grillo which has been central to the last three years of coalition government in Italy.

After graduating in computer engineering in Sicily, Di Stefano worked as an IT consultant for an American company and was a volunteer for an Italian NGO operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guatemala working on sustainable development projects.

He said: “We believe this is the time where at a global level every country has to put some effort into engaging with climate change.”

The politician pointed out that promoting green energy was a “means to create a market, to create infrastructure, to create the storytelling about climate change, where it is taking place, and the solutions to tackle it.

“This event in Riyadh will be focused on how to tackle the situation with solutions and therefore we’re ready to support it,” he added.

Di Stefano noted that Italy was one of the leading European countries in terms of its energy production links with the Middle East and North Africa region and said the EU should provide more funding to Middle Eastern countries, such as Egypt, to help finance environmental protection schemes.

He added that Italy and Egypt had collaborated on a number of projects and that the strategic interconnection was important to his country.

“We have to work more with countries that can generate renewable energy in the future. We have a lot of projects going on in northern Africa and Middle Eastern countries for energy production.

“And we think that Italy could play a strategic role in that, because we can really bridge the MENA region with the northern part of Europe, where there may not be so many green energy capabilities.

“Saudi Arabia, and this has been stated very clearly by that government, is really pushing a lot on green energy production, and Italy is at the forefront with our own industries,” he said.

Di Stefano expected cooperation between Italy and Saudi Arabia, already strong through the G20 Troika, to develop further.

“I think we can do more because there is a huge complementarity among our countries which sometimes is undervalued. We are obviously really set on European values and market characteristics, and we ask for the same understanding when we deal with other countries. Nonetheless, this is a bilateral relationship that is fundamental for us.

“Saudi Arabia is one of the most important countries in the MENA region, and Italy already has good cases of cooperation, such as in the G20. When we come together at the table, we are talking the same language,” he added.


Aljazira Takaful raises capita, Red Sea International and Baker Hughes signs deal: Pre-market wrap

Aljazira Takaful raises capita, Red Sea International and Baker Hughes signs deal: Pre-market wrap
Updated 13 sec ago

Aljazira Takaful raises capita, Red Sea International and Baker Hughes signs deal: Pre-market wrap

Aljazira Takaful raises capita, Red Sea International and Baker Hughes signs deal: Pre-market wrap

RIYADH: 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.

Other news:

Red Sea International Co. 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.

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 11 min 9 sec ago

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.

 


China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
Updated 30 November 2021

China links key to success of African free trade initiative: Egyptian president

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. (AP file photo)
  • El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has highlighted the importance of working with China to the success of an African free trade initiative.

Speaking virtually during a meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation — attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and a number of African leaders — he said that effective partnership with China was vital to implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

The Egyptian leader noted that under its current presidency of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa organization his country would be looking to attract foreign investment, promote integration between African and foreign private sectors, and expand digital transformation and e-commerce.

In a statement, an official spokesperson for the Egyptian Presidency said that forum members had discussed ways to consolidate links between the African continent and China, including cooperation on economic recovery schemes following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

El-Sisi pointed out the importance of the forum in strengthening joint trade and investment initiatives, including debt relief programs and help for small- and medium-sized enterprises to overcome the economic crises brought about by the global virus outbreak.

He told the meeting that further investment in infrastructure projects was needed to complete the continental linkup between African countries and added that it was important to learn from the experiences of other nations in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic through prevention, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The Egyptian president lauded the vaccine manufacturing work of Egypt and China that had seen his country become the first African nation to possess the capabilities to produce vaccines against COVID-19. And he also stressed the need for joint coordination between Africa and China on issues related to strengthening peace and security.

 


ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees
Updated 30 November 2021

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

ENGIE to train Saudi Industrial Development Fund’s employees

RIYADH: The Saudi Industrial Development Fund on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with Paris-based ENGIE to provide training to the fund’s employees, the SIDF tweeted.

Under the deal, the French multinational utility company will train the fund’s employees at its headquarters in Paris. The SIDF employees will receive training in business development, commercial activities, and project implementation. 

ENGIE operates in the fields of energy, transition, electricity generation and distributions.  


Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car
Updated 30 November 2021

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

Developmental Opportunities sells shares in Theeb Rent a Car

RIYADH: Developmental Opportunities Trading Co. sold its 21percent shares in Theeb Rent a Car Co. to institutional investors, Al-Arabiya reported on Tuesday.

EFG Hermes and Saudi Fransi Capital, in their capacity as bookrunners and brokers, executed the sale for the trading company.

According to a joint press statement, the total number of offered and sold shares reached 9,030,000.

The shares were offered to a group of institutional investors, and they were implemented through 19 negotiated deals at a price of SR53 per share, so that the value of the deal amounted to SR478.6 million ($127.57 million).