‘Saudi diplomacy helped save COP26 talks,’ says Kingdom's energy minister

‘Saudi diplomacy helped save COP26 talks,’ says Kingdom's energy minister
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman
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Updated 18 November 2021

‘Saudi diplomacy helped save COP26 talks,’ says Kingdom's energy minister

‘Saudi diplomacy helped save COP26 talks,’ says Kingdom's energy minister
  • A Saudi proposal on wording originally agreed at the Rome G20 conference last month had helped save the day in Glasgow, says the Energy Minister

ABU DHABI: Saudi Arabia helped break the logjam to reach a deal at last week’s crucial climate change talks at COP26, the Kingdom’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told a conference in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

Prince Abdulaziz said that contrary to allegations from environmental groups, a Saudi proposal on wording originally agreed at the Rome G20 conference last month had helped save the day in Glasgow.

The final declaration at COP26 saw compromise reached on the key issue of coal usage, with some phrases changed in order to allow a deal encompassing the biggest coal consumers, India and China.

“That language was introduced by us,” the energy minister said at the ADIPEC 2021 energy forum, indicating that the wording had been used by Saudi negotiators and accepted at the G20 leaders’ summit.

He was responding to a question from moderator John Defterios about allegations that Saudi Arabia’s stance on climate change amounted to “greenwashing” and skepticism whether the Kingdom's ambitious climate change strategy could be effectively implemented.

“Because we are a major producer of oil and gas, I can understand the skepticism, but I would refer those skeptics to what we agreed just two days ago. The new agreement talks about committing countries to coming out every year and reporting on what they actually have accomplished and what they have done,” said the minister.

He pointed out that the Saudi and the Middle East green initiatives are going to be annual events, where the Kingdom’s efforts toward mitigating global warming would be judged alongside regional peers.

“This region will become a role model for what we mean by sustainable development,” he added.

Saudi Arabia’s strategy for energy transition centers on three pillars, he said: Energy security, sustainable economic development and measures to combat climate change.

To applause from the audience in the opening session of the forum, he highlighted the achievements of the OPEC+ in countering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“The 23 responsible countries delivered, more remarkable than any other group on planet Earth, including the central bankers. They delivered sustainability, predictability and transparency, in a long term plan looking 1.5 years ahead. They have delivered a stable, less volatile oil market,” he said.

Prince Abdulaziz added that climate change policy should look at “emissions, not fuel sources,” and should seek to mitigate all forms of greenhouse gas, not just CO2. He also said that climate change policies should take into account the differing national and economic circumstances of all countries in the world, especially less developed countries.

ADIPEC 2021 began on Monday Nov. 15  and will run to Nov. 18, with the participation of ministers, leaders and experts in the energy sector from around the world.


Lebanon in power deal with Jordan

Lebanon in power deal with Jordan
Updated 27 January 2022

Lebanon in power deal with Jordan

Lebanon in power deal with Jordan
  • The agreement is part of a wider plan to pump Egyptian gas to a power station in northern Lebanon

BEIRUT: Lebanon signed a deal on Wednesday to import electricity from Jordan through Syria after US assurances that the agreement was not in breach of sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria.
The deal is expected to supply Lebanon with two hours of power a day, double what is currently available from EDL, the state electricity generating company. Electricity from Jordan will cost Lebanon about $200 million a year.
“This is an important, historic moment for Lebanon ... not because of its impact but because of its symbolism,” Energy Minister Walid Fayad said. He said the deal was a “modest but very important agreement for the Lebanese people, who need every extra hour of electricity.”
Lebanon has not had 24-hour mains power since its civil war ended in 1990, but the country’s economic meltdown has led to power cuts of up to 23 hours a day, and most people have to rely on expensive private generators.


ANALYSIS: Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on 


The deal with Jordan was funded by the World Bank, and must be approved by Lebanon’s parliament. It is expected to be implemented in the next two months.
The agreement is part of a wider plan to pump Egyptian gas to a power station in northern Lebanon via a pipeline that runs through Jordan and Syria.
“The Jordanian electricity and Egyptian gas could provide around six hours of electricity,” energy policy consultant Jessica Obeid said.
However, she described the deals as “a quick fix that does not solve any of the sector’s problems, which are deeply rooted in politics and governance.”


Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference

Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference
Updated 27 January 2022

Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference

Who’s coming to Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference
  • The event will host workshops and sessions based around the future of IT including, education, financial technology, electric cars and smart cities

RIYADH: Organizers of the LEAP conference in Saudi Arabia will host more than 400 speakers across six conferences during the three-day event.

Speakers will attend from a range of international and local organizations — such as Visa, Ericsson, JP Morgan, Cisco, and Huawei, as well as stc, NEOM, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

The event will host workshops and sessions based around the future of IT including, education, financial technology, electric cars and smart cities. Other specialized sessions, called Orbital Talks, will host speakers on these specific industries and topics:

• FinTech

• Future energy

• Creative economy

• Health technology

• EduTech

• Smart cities

• Retail

• The fourth industrial revolution

There will also be a startup pitch stage that will see entrepreneurs bid to attract seasoned investors. The winner of the pitch contest will receive a cash prize for their new business.

Some of the conference star speakers include:

Börje Ekholm

• President and CEO of Ericsson

• Appointed on Jan. 16, 2017

• Board member of Alibaba, Nasdaq, Trimble, and Royal Institute of Technology

Olayan Al-Wetaid

• Group CEO of Saudi Arabia’s stc

• Has over 22 years of experience in telecom

• Has held multiple board positions across several stc subsidiaries

Roberto Carlos

• FIFA World Cup-winning football player

• Former Real Madrid player

• Launched Ginga Scout, a software system connecting players with coaches across the globe

Joseph Bradley

• CEO of NEOM Tech & Digital Co.

• Served in senior roles at Cisco Systems for over 15 years

• Also worked for C3 Communications, AT&T, and Pacific Bell

Stephen Carter

• Group CEO of Informa

• Former UK minister of communications

• His career has spanned the private and public sectors

Ahmad Al-Khowaiter

• Chief technology officer of Saudi Aramco

• Joined Aramco in 1983 and has since held various technical roles in oil and gas production

Eugene Kaspersky

• CEO and co-founder of Kapersky

• Renowned cybersecurity expert

Tony Chan

• President of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST

• Has a PhD in computer science from Stanford University

Siim Sikkut

• Government chief information officer of Estonia

• In charge of the country’s digital government and innovation work


Iconic London store Fortnum & Mason looking to expand into Qatar in time for World Cup

Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, wants to expand into Qatar. (Shutterstock)
Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, wants to expand into Qatar. (Shutterstock)
Updated 26 January 2022

Iconic London store Fortnum & Mason looking to expand into Qatar in time for World Cup

Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, wants to expand into Qatar. (Shutterstock)
  • 315-year-old store counts Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles among its customers

LONDON: One of London’s most popular department stores is in talks to open a branch in Qatar ahead of this winter’s FIFA World Cup, according to a Sky News report.

Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket shop in Piccadilly that counts Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles among its customers, is believed to be discussing a franchise opportunity with partners in the country.

The company’s chief executive, Tom Athron, wants to continue the brand expansion which took place under his predecessor, Ewan Venters, which included a first outlet in the Gulf, in Dubai, which closed in 2017.

The 315-year-old store, which is owned by a branch of the Weston family, already has a store in Hong Kong, and partnerships in Australia and Japan.

“As part of our strategy, we are exploring opportunities to expand both online and internationally, the Gulf being a region we’d like to look at again,” a spokesman for Fortnum & Mason said.

Fortnum’s business was hit badly during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has seen strong growth in its online business, and the firm hopes expanding into Qatar ahead of the World Cup in November could raise the brand’s global profile.


US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months
Updated 26 January 2022

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

US car makers and medical suppliers warn chip shortage will last for more than six months

RIYADH: US businesses are worried that the global semiconductor supply shortage is set to last for at least six more months, according to report put together by the country's Department of Commerce.

The White House was urged to push ahead with a $52 billion plan previously submitted to Congress to stimulate semiconductor makers and encourage them to build factories in the US, Bloomberg reported.

The report, released on Tuesday, was based on information taken from more than 150 companies in the semiconductors supply chain, and stated that the global shortage of chips will persist until the second half of 2022 as: “there is a significant, persistent mismatch in supply and demand for chips.”

The most affected industries by the shortage include automakers, consumer electronic, medical devices, broadband, and auto industries.

Even though the government does not have many alternatives in hand to solve the current issue, US officials will focus on resolving bottlenecks in those supply chains, and investigate claims of chips price gouging for some types of semiconductors, the report said.

Average inventory level fell from 40 days to fewer than 5 days, resulting in no room for error, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a briefing with reporters discussing the findings of the report. The median demand for chips was 17 percent higher in 2021 than in 2019, coupled with disproportionate increases in supply.

Disruption in the supply of semiconductors, which plays a key factor in determining the country’s inflation level, could threaten to help swing Congress to Republican control in November’s midterm elections.

Many firms have been recently expanding their operations in the US, with Intel Corp. announcing it is building the world’s biggest silicon-manufacturing site in Columbus, Ohio, worth $20 billion, and expected to become operational in 2025.


Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power

Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power
Updated 26 January 2022

Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power

Saudi, Iraq electrical connection to generate 1GW of power

RIYADH: Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced that the electrical connection between Saudi Arabia and Iraq will generate one gigawatt of power initially, according to the Iraqi News Agency.

This comes after Iraq has signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the matter with the Saudi side.

Nevertheless, “the Iraqi-Saudi cooperation is not limited to the electrical connection only, but rather it is the beginning of a joint collective action,” Iraqi News Agency reported, citing the Prince.

Bilateral models need to be further developed and strengthened on a regional and Arab scale, he added.