Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says

Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says
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Updated 30 November 2021

Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says

Jordan to begin oil exploration in two areas in February, energy minister says

Jordan will begin oil exploration in two areas, Al-Jafr and Al-Sarhan, in February, the country's energy minister Saleh Al-Kharabsheh said on Tuesday, as reported by Jordan state television.


A detailed study is currently underway to consider drilling three medium-depth wells at the Al-Jafr site, the minister added, which will be conducted in cooperation with Jordan's National Petroleum Company.


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

Lebanon’s new electricity deal with Syria and Jordan is a long way from being switched on
Updated 16 sec ago

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

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

Plagued by constant power shortages, Lebanon’s new agreement with Jordan and Syria could be seen as a turning point for the energy-poor nation.

Yet the deal — which will see electricity flow from Syria — will not provide an immediate solution to the country’s energy problems, according to Lebanese oil and gas expert Laury Hatayan.

Speaking to Arab News, Hatayan says there are still plenty of hurdles to jump before the agreement — brokered by the US and expected to be partially financed by the World Bank — begins to help the country with its power outages.

“The deal doesn’t mean Lebanon will be provided with electricity tomorrow, as we are hearing that the World Bank has conditioned finalizing the arrangement on reforms to the electricity sector,” Hatayan said.   

The deal would supply Lebanon with 700 Megawatts of electricity in total: 250MW from Jordan and 450MW from Egypt.

With the Iraqi fuel supplies that have already kicked in and future supply by Egypt, Lebanon will be able to get a total of 10 hours of electricity per day.

This much-needed boost does not come without strings attached, according to Marc Ayoub, energy researcher and program coordinator at the American University of Beirut’s Issam Fares Institute.

“The World Bank is asking for a comprehensive reform plan of the electricity sector including loss reductions, improving bill collection and increasing electricity tariffs,” he said.

The World Bank’s regional director, Saroj Kumar Jha, has said that the exact amount of financing has not yet been determined, but the government’s initial request was $250 million, he told L’Orient Today.

Lebanon will also have to conduct repairs to the Lebanese side of a pipeline needed to import gas from Egypt, at a cost of $1million.

Additionally, Jordanian electricity to Lebanon will come at a cost of $200 million a year. 

Other hurdles are political in nature, such as US sanctions on Syria. Washington has so far ensured regional players that the deal does not fall under the Caesar Act sanctions or other US sanctions on Syria because the Syrian government will not receive any financial compensation but will be paid in kind.   

“The Egyptians are keen on getting guarantees against the Cesar Act. The Jordanians are not as wary given their strategic relations with the US,” adds Hatayan.

The deal and any electricity reforms must be approved by Parliament, which is known for its inefficiency and dissensions. 

The announcement by former PM Saad Hariri of his plan to retire from political life has cast doubt as to the fate of his current political bloc. Hariri heads the Future movement, the biggest Sunni bloc in parliament.

“For now, no reforms mean no money and deals can remain just deals (without being implemented),” highlights Hatayan.

If financing is finally secured Ayoub believes that Jordanian electricity is expected to flow to Lebanon by April or May.


Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom
Updated 50 min 12 sec ago

Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

Petrochem profits jump almost fivefold amid sector-wide boom

RIYADH: Saudi-listed National Petrochemical Co., better known as Petrochem, saw its profits surge almost fivefold in 2021.

As the Kingdom’s chemical sector grew, profits of the homegrown firm hit SR1.4 billion ($370 million), compared to SR230 million a year earlier.

The company attributed the hike in profits to higher product prices and drops in Zakat expenses, according to a bourse filing.

On a wider scale, data by Gastat earlier showed that outgoing chemical shipments picked up pace significantly, prompting Saudi non-oil exports growth to hit an annual rate of 26.1 percent in November.

Established in 2008, Petrochem operates in the Kingdom’s petrochemical sector. It owns 65 percent of Saudi Polymer Co., located in Jubail Industrial City.

 


Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 
Updated 26 January 2022

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

Oman partners with Virgin Orbit for satellite launch platform 

RIYADH: Oman-based International Emerging Technologies Co. signed an agreement with the US-based Virgin Orbit to prepare satellite launch platforms in Oman.

Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology has supported the agreement to reinforce the Sultanate’s interest in the space science sector and related logistics services, it said in a statement. 

As per the agreement, the establishment of satellites in low Earth orbit will be studied to conduct scientific research, capture high-resolution images of space, and use the latest solutions to digitally analyse data and images collected from orbit.

The partnership will empower local talents and open investment opportunities for universities through academic exchange programs, according to the statement. 

This happens as Oman seeks to accelerate the space industry in the Sultanate. 


Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report

Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report
Updated 26 January 2022

Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report

Saudi Arabia gaming consumption expected to hit $6.8bn by 2030: BCG report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is poised to take a leading role in the gaming and Esports industry as consumption is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030, up from $959 million in 2020, according to a Boston Consulting Group report.

The report expected an average annual compounded growth rate of 22 percent for the Saudi gaming consumption.

“Despite the Kingdom being a relatively recent entrant to this space, the industry is vibrant and fast-growing, nevertheless,” Povilas Joniskis, a partner at BCG, said.

“Passionate gamers are primarily powering its growth and popularity at present, and it is more than feasible for them to embark on full-time careers and become involved on the international stage,” he added.

Saudi Arabia accommodates 23.5 million gaming enthusiasts, amounting to 67 percent of the national population, the report showed.

Despite the growth potential of the Kingdom, challenges await due to the landscape being in an early development stage compared to other international markets.

The report also revealed that lack of funding to compete full-time, scarcity of local competition, no clear pathway for gamers to become professional, and social stigma associated with choosing a career in gaming and Esports, constitute key barriers to the industry.


Saudi NEOM, Jordan seek cooperation to run projects across vital sectors

Saudi NEOM, Jordan seek cooperation to run projects across vital sectors
Updated 46 min 5 sec ago

Saudi NEOM, Jordan seek cooperation to run projects across vital sectors

Saudi NEOM, Jordan seek cooperation to run projects across vital sectors

The Saudi Arabian planned city NEOM is seeking cooperation with Jordan to propel the advancement of economically feasible projects across vital sectors, the Jordanian agency Petra reported. 

The news comes following a visit by NEOM Co.'s CEO Nahdmi Al-Nasr to Jordan's Prime Minister. The meeting was attended by officials from Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and NEOM's executives.

Under the terms of the collaboration, both parties will work side by side to establish projects and partnerships that could potentially benefit both sides across crucial and strategic sectors, especially the energy and water desalination sectors on the Red Sea.

NEOM CEO and Jordan's Prime Minister

This will follow further research from the concerned ministers in Saudi Arabia and Jordan along with officials of NEOM regarding the scope and economic feasibility of the projects.

Established in 2019 and owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, NEOM Co. aims to develop the relevant area residing northwest of the Kingdom.