Aramco chief calls for a realistic approach to energy transition

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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.


UAE and South Korea sign agreements in defense, hydrogen cooperation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
Updated 16 January 2022

UAE and South Korea sign agreements in defense, hydrogen cooperation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, meets with President Moon Jae-in at Expo 2020 Dubai. (WAM)
  • The UAE is the first leg of the South Korean president’s tour that includes stops in Saudi Arabia and Egypt

LONDON: The UAE and South Korea signed several agreements on Sunday during President Moon Jae-in’s official visit to the Emirates to attend the “Day of Korea” ceremony at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE vice president and prime minister and ruler of Dubai, praised relations between the two countries and their keenness to further boost bilateral ties in various areas, Emirates News Agency reported.
“The strategic partnership between the UAE and Korea provides many opportunities to enhance cooperation in various fields, including economy, trade, food security, health, culture, space, energy and tourism,” he said, adding the Emirates is South Korea’s top trade partner in the region.
The volume of non-oil trade between the two countries reached $4.8 billion in 2020.

“Prominent strategic projects such as the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant are proof of the depth of relations between the two friendly nations,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “We also appreciate the active participation of the South Korea pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.”
During the meeting, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the UAE's Ministry of Defense and South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration on medium and long-term cooperation in the fields of defense industries and technology.
UAE’s Tawazun Economic Council (Tawazun) signed an MoU with Korea’s LIG Nex1 Co. and two MoUs with Hanwha Systems Co.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed three agreements with a number of Korean entities, and they include a framework agreement between ADNOC and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.
A joint study agreement was signed between ADNOC, the Korea National Oil Corporation and SK Gas on hydrogen, and another agreement between ADNOC and KNOC on ammonia cargo.
“During the next phase, we plan to draw up plans to further expand cooperation in areas of common interest, as well as explore development opportunities in priority sectors,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
Moon will meet Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on Tuesday and the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Al-Hajraf on Wednesday, when he is expected to announce the resumption of Gulf free-trade talks. He will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo on Thursday, South Korean news agency Yonhap said.


Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009
Dubai skyline
Updated 16 January 2022

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate sales in 2021 record highest value since 2009

Dubai real estate deals were worth approximately 151 billion dirhams ($41.1 billion) in 2021, their highest value since 2009.

The total number of deals last year reached 61,241, the largest number since 2013, according to Al Arabiya.

This value jumped by 110 percent compared to 2020, while the total number of deals increased over the course of 2021 by 74 percent compared to 2020.

Of these deals, ready made properties accounted for 60 percent of total real estate transactions in Dubai in 2021, while the rest was made up of off-plan properties.


Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 
Updated 16 January 2022

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

Egypt sees first private issuance of green bonds 

A Norwegian clean energy company Is working on what wiuld be the first private issuance of green bonds in Egypt. 

Norway's Scatec plans to issue around $340 million in green bonds, secured by its six solar energy plants in Benban complex that has a production capacity of 390 megawatts, Alarabiya reported citing banking sources. 

This comes amid Egypt’s boom in clean infrastructure projects during the last decade.  

 


China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
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Updated 16 January 2022

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 

China plans to increase consumption during the holiday season: Macro snapshot 
  • German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020

Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases, China is planning to uplift consumption during the holiday season, the country’s National Development and Reform Commission said.

China will still maintain pandemic control, yet its effect would be mitigated through the fine-tuning of those regulations to each area, Bloomberg reported.

The commission also called on e-commerce vendors and online entertainment channels to introduce more sales promotions during the season.

South Korea Interest Rates

In a bid to combat inflation, the Bank of Korea decided to raise its interest by 0.25 percent to the pre-pandemic level of 1.25 percent.

The bank also signaled that further hikes would take place in the remainder of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. The country’s annual inflation rate reached 3.7 percent in December, noticeably above the central bank’s target of 2 percent.

Inflation is set to remain above the 3 percent mark for a while and would average more than 2.5 percent for the full year, the bank’s governor, Lee Ju-yeol, said.

German GDP growth

German gross domestic product rose by 2.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, according to first calculations by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).


“Economic development has been largely dependent on the infection rates of Covid-19 and associated preventive measures also in 2021,” said Dr. Georg Thiel, head of the Federal Statistical Office, at the press conference on the 2021 GDP in Wiesbaden. 

“Despite the continuing pandemic situation, more delivery bottlenecks and material shortages, the German economy has managed to recover from the sharp decline last year, even though the economic performance has not yet reached the pre-crisis level agai,” Thiel continued.

Moreover, GDP in 2021 was still 2.0 percent lower than it was in 2019 the year before COVID-19 started.

UK economy

Britain's economy grew 0.9 percent faster than expected in November, before the latest wave of coronavirus infections and restrictions on many businesses, and was 0.7 percent larger than it was in February 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.


“It's amazing to see the size of the economy back to pre-pandemic levels in November – a testament to the grit and determination of the British people,” finance minister Rishi Sunak said.


Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
Updated 16 January 2022

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  

Government deposits with SAMA in biggest monthly drop since 2016  
  • Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent

The government’s deposits with the Saudi Central Bank fell by SR74.7 billion ($19.9 billion) during December to reach SR538, preliminary data posted by SAMA revealed.

This change represents the biggest monthly drawdown of government deposits with SAMA since November 2016 when they fell by SR90.3 billion.

At the same time during December 2021, net foreign assets held by the Saudi Central Bank dropped by 2 percent from November to SR1.64 trillion, according to preliminary data.

Compared to December 2020, SAMA's net foreign assets fell 2.4 percent.

In addition, the Kingdom’s monetary base – which is the sum of currency outside banks, cash in vaults and bank deposits with SAMA – edged up by 0.5 percent in December on a month-on-month basis to reach SR356 billion.