Saudi Central Bank issues IT governance framework for financial bodies

Saudi Central Bank issues IT governance framework for financial bodies
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Updated 12 December 2021

Saudi Central Bank issues IT governance framework for financial bodies

Saudi Central Bank issues IT governance framework for financial bodies

RIYADH: The Saudi Central Bank on Sunday issued the IT governance framework to streamline functions of financial institutions operating in the Kingdom, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The framework will also be applicable to lending institutions, Saudi Payments and credit information companies.

It is part of SAMA’s responsibilities to effectively identify and address potential IT risks and threats.

In a circular, SAMA said the framework intends to improve IT governance practices as well as developing effective controls. 

The central bank is keen to improve the financial infrastructure that ensures optimizing utilization of available technological resources and minimizing IT-related risks. 

The central bank emphasized that compliance with the framework is mandatory for financial institutions.

It may be noted that the framework is a supplementary document to other regulatory guidelines issued by SAMA to ensure availability, resilience and security of IT infrastructures. The IT governance framework can be found on SAMA’s website.


Saudi Arabia to deposit $5bn in Turkiye’s central bank, finance minister confirms

Saudi Arabia to deposit $5bn in Turkiye’s central bank, finance minister confirms
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to deposit $5bn in Turkiye’s central bank, finance minister confirms

Saudi Arabia to deposit $5bn in Turkiye’s central bank, finance minister confirms

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will place a $5 billion deposit at Turkiye’s central bank within days, the Kingdom’s finance minister Mohammed al-Jadaan confirmed.

"There is great improvement in our relationship with Turkiye and we aspire for investment opportunities in Turkiye and other countries," he said.

Turkiye’s central bank has swapped deals in local currencies with several of its counterparts worth a total of $28 billion. It signed a deal with China for $6 billion, with Qatar for $15 billion, with the UAE for around $5 billion.

Similarly, last month, the Kingdom extended the term for a $5 billion deposit made to Egypt’s central bank back in March after the country came under increasing financial pressure following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The extension came at the directive of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and aims to enhance economic stability in Egypt. 

Turkiye is seeking more cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other countries as it plans to be an energy hub to Europe, its finance minister said. 

“Turkiye, from its geographical position, is an energy corridor from Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Any kind of natural gas or oil that is going to be transported or shipped, will cost less and will be more safely shipped,” Turkiye's Treasury and Finance Minister Nureddin Nebati told Arab News in an interview in October. 

Speaking on the sideline of the 6th edition of Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh, the minister didn’t elaborate further on how the two countries might cooperate but said that peace in the region will bring energy costs down. 

“Turkiye and Saudi Arabia are also assisting each other, which will bring peace in the region. That peace will bring more affordable gas prices, the energy prices, and will allow both countries to look ahead,” he added.

Turkiye’s economy has been badly strained by a slumping lira and soaring inflation of over 85 percent and a swap or deposit agreement could boost Turkiye’s diminished foreign currency reserves.

Analysts say this could also help President Tayyip Erdogan shore up support ahead of elections due by June 2023.


Saudi Arabia to launch regional center for Chinese factories as trade relations deepen

Saudi Arabia to launch regional center for Chinese factories as trade relations deepen
Updated 59 min 46 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to launch regional center for Chinese factories as trade relations deepen

Saudi Arabia to launch regional center for Chinese factories as trade relations deepen

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will host a regional center for Chinese factories as the Kingdom's strategic location among the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe is set to elevate the trade relationship between both countries in the energy supply chain, confirmed Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.  

He reaffirmed that Saudi Arabia will continue to be China's reliable partner in the energy sector, and added that the Kingdom is always keen to maintain stability in the oil market, reported Saudi Press Agency. 

Not just the energy sector, Prince Abdulaziz further added that Saudi Arabia has strong and close strategic relations with China in various other fields.  

Highlighting that China is the top destination for Saudi Arabia's oil imports, he said the volume of trade between the countries has been increasing steadily over the past five years.  

The energy minister also reviewed areas of cooperation where both China and Saudi Arabia can work together. This includes projects to convert crude oil into petrochemicals, renewable energy, clean hydrogen, electricity projects and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.   

He also assured collaboration in China's Belt and Road Initiative, as well as investment in integrated refining and petrochemical complexes in both countries.  

The comments from the energy minister come while Chinese president Xi Jinping is in the Kingdom for three days to attend multiple summits including the Saudi-Chinese Summit, the Riyadh Gulf-China Summit for Cooperation and Development, and the Riyadh Arab-China Summit for Cooperation and Development.  

Xi's visit to Saudi Arabia is expected to further strengthen the trade relationship between the two countries as well as the Middle East as Beijing is looking to increase its influence in the region.   

It should be also noted that the Kingdom was the biggest recipient of Chinese investments in the Arab World between 2005 and 2020, accounting for more than 20.3 percent of the total regional investments, worth $196.9 billion, SPA reported. 

It added that both countries are expected to sign more than 20 initial agreements worth over SR110 billion ($29.3 billion) during Xi's visit. They are also expected to enter into a strategic partnership deal to harmonize the implementation of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and economic diversification project with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.  


Abu Dhabi energy giants complete landmark deal to acquire stakes in Masdar 

Abu Dhabi energy giants complete landmark deal to acquire stakes in Masdar 
Updated 08 December 2022

Abu Dhabi energy giants complete landmark deal to acquire stakes in Masdar 

Abu Dhabi energy giants complete landmark deal to acquire stakes in Masdar 

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi's energy giants have completed a transaction that will see them consolidate their renewable energy and green hydrogen efforts into a single global clean energy powerhouse under the Masdar brand. 

Abu Dhabi National Energy Co., known as TAQA; Mubadala Investment Co. and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. have become shareholders in Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. or Masdar – Abu Dhabi’s flagship clean energy company. 

TAQA will head up Masdar’s renewable business with a 43 percent shareholding, with Mubadala retaining 33 percent and ADNOC holding 24 percent, the companies announced in a filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange on Thursday. 

The deal comes in alignment with the UAE's plans to invest 600 billion dirhams ($163 billion) by 2050 in renewable and clean energy capacity and achieve net-zero emissions in the next three decades. 

Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, CEO of ADNOC and chairman of Masdar said: “As the founding CEO of Masdar, I am excited to see Abu Dhabi’s energy leaders coming together to take Masdar to the next level. The Masdar clean energy powerhouse will unlock a new chapter of growth, development, and opportunity for renewable energy and green hydrogen projects, both in the UAE and worldwide.” 

In the filing, the companies said Masdar has an ambitious target of at least 100-gigawatt renewable energy capacity and the production of up to 1 million tons of green hydrogen by 2030, with aspirations to grow its renewable energy portfolio to more than 200GW. 

The filing said as part of the deal, TAQA, which paid $1.02 billion in cash for its stake, will offer to contribute its ownership interests in future Abu Dhabi renewable power projects to Masdar.  

Mohamed Hassan Alsuwaidi, chairman of TAQA said: Over the next decade, Masdar will rapidly expand its renewable energy and green hydrogen investments to accelerate decarbonization.”  

Last year, he said TAQA committed to a renewable energy share of 30 percent of its total power generation capacity by 2030. “Our stake in Masdar is a key part of delivering on this target, while supporting the UAE’s ambition to cut greenhouse gas emissions and be a driving force in the global energy transition." 

Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s primary sustainable urban development, will continue to remain under Mubadala’s ownership as the sole shareholder. 

Masdar was established by Mubadala in 2006 to lead the UAE's role in the global energy sector and drive the country's climate action agenda. 

It is active in over 40 countries and has developed and invested in global projects with a combined value of $20 billion. 


Oil Updates — Crude steady; Chevron raises 2023 project spending budget to $17bn

Oil Updates — Crude steady; Chevron raises 2023 project spending budget to $17bn
Updated 08 December 2022

Oil Updates — Crude steady; Chevron raises 2023 project spending budget to $17bn

Oil Updates — Crude steady; Chevron raises 2023 project spending budget to $17bn

RIYADH: Oil prices steadied in early Asian trade on Thursday after sinking to their lowest level this year as US production and gasoline inventories ticked up at the same time concerns grew that economic slowdowns would weaken fuel demand.

Brent crude futures were up 67 cents or 0.87 percent at $77.84 per barrel by 08.10 a.m. Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures gained 73 cents or 1.01 percent to $72.74 per barrel.

Brent had settled on Wednesday below the year’s previous closing low touched on the first day of 2022, while US West Texas Intermediate crude had fallen to a fresh yearly low.

Chevron raises 2023 project spending budget to $17 billion

Chevron Corp. on Wednesday said it increased its 2023 capital spending budget by a double-digit percentage from this year to $17 billion, as inflation drives up energy production costs and the firm pours cash into low-carbon fuel projects.

Like other US energy companies that profited from this year’s rise in fuel prices, Chevron faces mounting pressure from the White House to invest more in fossil fuel supplies. The company is also preparing to expand operations in Venezuela.

Chevron indicated it will keep spending within a $15 billion to $17 billion range, despite this year’s surge in oil prices that generated all-time high profits and allowed for record amounts of cash distributions to shareholders.

“We’re maintaining capital discipline while investing to grow both traditional and new energy supplies,” said Chevron CEO Michael Wirth.

US tells Turkiye no need for additional checks on oil tankers

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal in a call on Wednesday that the price cap on Russian oil does not necessitate additional checks on ships passing through Turkish territorial waters, the US Treasury Department said.

A Turkish measure in force since the start of the month has caused a logjam by requiring vessels to provide proof they have insurance covering the duration of their transit through the Bosphorus strait or when calling at Turkish ports.

 


Pentagon splits $9 billion cloud contract between 4 firms

Pentagon splits $9 billion cloud contract between 4 firms
Updated 08 December 2022

Pentagon splits $9 billion cloud contract between 4 firms

Pentagon splits $9 billion cloud contract between 4 firms

WASHINGTON: Google, Oracle, Microsoft and Amazon will share in the Pentagon’s $9 billion contract to build its cloud computing network, a year after accusations of politicization over the previously announced contract and a protracted legal battle resulted in the military starting over in its award process.
The Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability is envisioned to provide access to unclassified, secret and top-secret data to military personnel all over the globe. It is anticipated to serve as a backbone for the Pentagon’s modern war operations, which will rely heavily on unmanned aircraft and space communications satellites, but will still need a way to quickly get the intelligence from those platforms to troops on the ground.
The contract will be awarded in parts, with a total estimated completion date of June 2028, the Pentagon said in a statement.
Competition is intense to snap up big corporate and government cloud contracts — awards to build global computing networks where information is stored, shared and secured over the Internet instead of on local computer systems. The Pentagon’s award is seen as one of the most coveted because it’s a stamp of approval in a market where ensuring a client’s data security is important.
“It’s the most important cloud deal to come out of the Beltway,” said analyst Daniel Ives, who monitors the cloud industry for Wedbush Securities. “It’s about the Pentagon as a reference customer. It says significant accolades about what they think about that vendor, and that’s the best reference customer you could have in that world.”
Last July, the Pentagon announced it was canceling its previous cloud computing award, then named JEDI. At the time, the Pentagon said that due to delays in proceeding with the contract, technology had changed to the extent that the old contract, which was awarded to Microsoft, no longer met DOD’s needs.
It did not mention the legal challenges behind those delays, which had come from Amazon, the losing bidder. Amazon had questioned whether former President Donald Trump’s administration had steered the contract toward Microsoft due to Trump’s adversarial relationship with Amazon’s chief executive officer at the time, Jeff Bezos.
In July when the cancelation was announced, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, John Sherman, said it was “likely” both Amazon and Microsoft would get some portion of the business in a new award.
A report by the Pentagon’s inspector general did not find evidence of improper influence, but it said it could not determine the extent of administration interactions with Pentagon decision-makers because the White House would not allow unfettered access to witnesses.
Forrester analyst Devin Dickerson said awarding the contract to four companies instead of one shows a “multicloud strategy” that could improve the Pentagon’s bargaining position with major cloud providers and make it easier for individual offices within the Defense Department to acquire cloud technologies and services.