Foundation stone laid for wind power project implemented by ACWA Power worth SR1.1 billion

Foundation stone laid for wind power project implemented by ACWA Power worth SR1.1 billion
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev celebrate the laying of the foundation stone for a wind power plant on Jan.13, 2022. (@minenergyaze)
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Updated 13 January 2022

Foundation stone laid for wind power project implemented by ACWA Power worth SR1.1 billion

Foundation stone laid for wind power project implemented by ACWA Power worth SR1.1 billion
  • The plant will have a capacity of 240 megawatts (MW) and has an investment value of SR1.125 billion
  • The project is the first and largest of its kind with foreign investment in the energy sector in Azerbaijan to date

RIYADH: Azerbaijan’s ministry of energy and Saudi company ACWA Power celebrated the laying of the foundation stone for a wind power plant project in the country on Thursday.

The plant will have a capacity of 240 megawatts (MW) and has an investment value of SR1.125 billion ($300 million).

The laying of the foundation stone came after agreements were signed to purchase power, invest in it and transfer it according to an independent power producing project model.

The Kingdom's Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev attended the ceremony celebrating the project, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The project is the first and largest of its kind with foreign investment in the energy sector in Azerbaijan to date, and will contribute to achieving the country’s goals of generating 30 percent of energy from renewable energy sources.

By the fourth quarter of 2023, the project will provide about 3.7 percent of the total capacity of the electric power network in Azerbaijan by feeding 300,000 housing units with electric power and reducing 400,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

Prince Abdulaziz stressed that the project reflects the partnership between the Kingdom and Azerbaijan in various fields, foremost of which is the energy sector.

He said that in addition to the two countries sharing diplomatic ties and economic relations, cooperation between them has been enhanced in recent years by Azerbaijan joining the OPEC+ agreement group.

The minister said that this confirms the depth of the relationship and understanding between the two countries, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic during which Azerbaijan stood side by side with other participants in the agreement, playing an important role in enhancing the stability and balance of global oil markets during the crisis.

Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said: “We are pleased to attract private companies from outside Azerbaijan to invest in our country, given the many benefits that these investments provide by benefiting from global expertise, applying international best practices, and supporting efforts to develop local human capital.”

“The participation of local suppliers and contractors in the implementation of this project will contribute to upgrading national capabilities in the field of green projects and providing the local workforce with the expertise they need to enhance their global competitiveness,” he added.


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 13 sec ago

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 1 min 55 sec ago

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.


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 8 min 41 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 58 min 37 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.