South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation

South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week at Dubai Expo 2020 in Dubai on Monday. (AP)
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Updated 17 January 2022

South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation

South Korea seeks to boost clean energy efforts with UAE cooperation
  • Seoul and Abu Dhabi reach landmark $3.5 billion defense agreement — largest in South Korea’s arms history
  • President Moon Jae-in scheduled to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday

SEOUL: South Korea is seeking to increase hydrogen cooperation with the UAE in a bid for a sustainable future and carbon neutrality, President Moon Jae-in said on Monday in Abu Dhabi during his Middle East tour to explore business opportunities in the region.

Moon arrived in the UAE on Saturday for a three-day visit as part of his week-long Middle East trip. From Abu Dhabi he will fly for talks in Riyadh.

“Through hydrogen cooperation between the UAE and Korea, I hope that we can move forward in a sustainable future and carbon neutrality,” he said while addressing the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

As South Korea wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, Moon said Seoul wants to bolster cooperation with the UAE in the development of carbon-capture technologies to create what is known as blue hydrogen — a form of the fuel obtained from natural gas in a process that stops carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere.

The UAE is one of the world’s foremost pioneers in the field.

Prof. Jung Sang-ryul of the Institute of Middle Eastern Affairs at Myungji University in Seoul told Arab News that with UAE-Korean hydrogen cooperation, the industry “can make a greater leap forward.

“The hydrogen industry is a field for future cooperation,” he said. “The UAE has strengths in the production of green and blue hydrogen, whereas South Korea (has) in utilization, storage and distribution, including hydrogen-powered vehicles, charging stations, fuel cells and liquid transportation.”

During Moon’s visit, Seoul and Abu Dhabi also reached a landmark $3.5 billion defense agreement on Sunday, under which the UAE will purchase KM-SAM surface-to-air-missiles, known as Cheongung II. It is the largest deal in the history of South Korea’s arm exports.

“The UAE is the first foreign nation to operate the Cheongung II,” Kang Eun-ho, commissioner of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, Seoul’s arms procurement agency, said in a statement. “The deal is the result of the bilateral defense cooperation based on mutual trust and will serve as a watershed moment for the two nation’s strategic defense partnership.”

The KM-SAM was developed with technical support from Russia to replace the older Hawk surface-to-air missiles that had been in service in 1964. Equipped with a multi-function phased array 3D radar, the interceptor can “hit-to-kill” hostile missiles coming in at altitudes below 40 km.

On the sidelines of the missile acquisition contract, the two countries also signed a memorandum of understanding on collaboration in defense technologies, including the potential development of weapons systems.

The UAE is South Korea’s top export market and biggest partner in human resource exchanges in the Middle East.

South Korean firms have participated in the development of Emirati oil fields and the Barakah nuclear power plant — the first nuclear power station in the Arabian Peninsula, which started operations last year.

On Tuesday, the South Korean president will continue his trip to Saudi Arabia.

His office said in a statement that Moon is scheduled to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The leaders of the two nations are expected to discuss energy and infrastructure, as well as health care, science and technology, hydrogen, intellectual property and education,”the office said.

On Wednesday, Moon is scheduled to meet Gulf Cooperation Council secretary-general Nayef bin Falah Al-Hajraf to discuss the resumption of negotiations for a free trade agreement between Seoul and GCC.

South Korea and the GCC started talks on a free trade deal in 2007, but negotiations had stalled and were suspended in 2010.


EU working on gas deal with Egypt, Israel to support supplies

EU working on gas deal with Egypt, Israel to support supplies
Updated 13 sec ago

EU working on gas deal with Egypt, Israel to support supplies

EU working on gas deal with Egypt, Israel to support supplies
  • Since the EU imported about 40 percent of its gas from Russia last year, it will need to tap into multiple fuel sources

RIYADH: The EU is working on a deal to import Israeli gas through Egypt, as the bloc accelerates to reduce its dependence on Russian supplies, Bloomberg reported. 

The fuel will be converted into liquefied natural gas at processing plants in Egypt, before being shipped to the EU, according to Bloomberg. 

The agreement will boost European market opportunities for Israel, where domestic gas prices are much lower than the prices it could charge on the continent.

Since the EU imported about 40 percent of its gas from Russia last year, it will need to tap into multiple fuel sources, in addition to increasing production of renewable energy to meet demand.

The EU, Israel, and Egypt will also work to increase cooperation on clean energy projects.


MENA Project Tracker: Kuwait to start construction on $120m petroleum center, biggest of its kind worldwide

MENA Project Tracker: Kuwait to start construction on $120m petroleum center, biggest of its kind worldwide
Updated 6 min 21 sec ago

MENA Project Tracker: Kuwait to start construction on $120m petroleum center, biggest of its kind worldwide

MENA Project Tracker: Kuwait to start construction on $120m petroleum center, biggest of its kind worldwide

RIYADH: Kuwait is set to launch the world’s largest petroleum center yet. Saudi real estate firm Roshn to kick off second community development in Northern Jeddah. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has opened a pre-qualification round for a new mineral site. Contractors have also submitted bids for the third phase of Emaar’s Creek Beach in Dubai. Additionally, Saudi’s Modon and National Centre for Privatization and PPP are partnering to introduce three logistics parks in the Kingdom. Meanwhile, contractors are preparing bids for Saudi’s SABIC and Aramco’s petrochemicals plant in Yanbu.

·      Kuwait is on track to start construction on the largest petroleum research center worldwide worth $120 million before the end of 2022, MEED reported, citing the country’s oil ministry. The facility — which aims to develop advanced production and refining techniques — is set to have around 28 laboratories and will be located in Al-Ahmadi town. 

·      Public Investment Fund-backed Saudi real estate firm Roshn has unveiled its second community development to be located in Northern Jeddah, Trade Arabia reported. Also referred to as Al Arous, the new integrated community will be spread over a 4 million square meter area. It will entail an estimated 18,000 residential units as well as parks, walkways for foot travelers, bicycle paths, restaurants, cafes, schools, and mosques.

·      Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources has invited firms to submit prequalification documents for the Umm Ad Damar Exploration License site worth an estimated $533 million, according to a statement. The site — which will cover an area of over 40 square kilometers — will include copper, zinc, gold, and silver deposits, according to the ministry.

·      Contractors have submitted bids for the third phase of the Emaar Creek Beach project in Dubai. With Kuwait-based architecture and engineering consultant SSH acting as the project’s consultant, the scope of the work includes the building of 14 medium-rise buildings to cater to an estimated 900 residential units. Contractors include domestic Al-Basti, Mukhta, ASGC, among others.

·      The Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, also known as Modon, is collaborating with the National Centre for Privatization and PPP to launch three logistics parks in Saudi Arabia’s northern region, MEEED reported. UK-based multidisciplinary professional services organization EY has signed the contract for the project to develop the three logistics parks. The contract also includes the construction of four buildings for Modon employees in addition to the parks.

·      Contractors are preparing bids for Saudi chemical manufacturing company SABIC and Aramco’s petrochemicals facility in Yanbu city, MEED reported. The bids involve the engineering, design, and feed works for the integrated facility. Bidders include America’s Fluor, UK’s Wood, and Australia’s Worley, among others.


Third gas link between Spain and France in 2.5 years; Qatar, UK sign energy deal: NRG matters 

Third gas link between Spain and France in 2.5 years; Qatar, UK sign energy deal: NRG matters 
Updated 9 min 48 sec ago

Third gas link between Spain and France in 2.5 years; Qatar, UK sign energy deal: NRG matters 

Third gas link between Spain and France in 2.5 years; Qatar, UK sign energy deal: NRG matters 

RIYADH: A third gas link between Spain and France is expected to be completed in two and a half years with the right push. Qatar and the UK sign a cooperation deal in the energy field. Also, natural gas in the US climbed over $9 for the first time since 2008. On another note, America’s Lucid Motors will launch one of three major electric vehicle plants in Saudi later this year. Meanwhile, the UK’s National Grid Plc has asked wind turbines to reduce output due to the lack of enough room for electricity storage.

Looking at the bigger picture: 

·      A third gas link between Spain and France that will be worth between 600 and 700 million euros ($640 and $746 million) is expected to be completed within two and a half years, if the correct procedures are facilitated, Reuters reported, citing the chief executive of Spain’s grid operator. This comes as interconnection projects have received great attention recently, as the EU attempts to drift away from Russian supplies.

·      Qatar and the UK have signed a memorandum of understanding in the energy field, MEED reported, citing state-owned petroleum company QatarEnergy. The cooperation deal aims to strengthen the Gulf country’s gas supply in Europe. In addition to this, Qatar is aiming to invest as much as $12.5 billion in the UK over the next five years, according to a statement from the UK government.

·      Natural gas in the US climbed over $9 per million British thermal units on Wednesday reflecting the highest increase since 2008. The increase in prices is mainly attributed to the low inventory, which is consequently pushing prices up. Small output growth, high liquified natural gas exports, and storage levels that are 17 percent below the five-year average are all contributing to the surge in prices, CNBC reported, citing the head of natural gas and power services for North America at Argus Media, David Givens.

·      American electric vehicle manufacturer Lucid Motors, which is 60 percent wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, is on track to construct an electric vehicle assembly plant in the Kingdom later this year. The plant, which is anticipated to be one of three potential electric vehicle plants in the Kingdom, will have the capacity to produce as many as 150,000 vehicles per year.

Through a micro lens:

·      British multinational electricity grid operator National Grid Plc has asked several wind farms in Scotland that are connected to the local network to diminish output by 25 megawatts, Bloomberg reported. Despite record wind in Scotland, more electricity is being produced than the grid there can handle, also demonstrating that the UK is unable to deal with or store big amounts of electricity. 


Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand

Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand
Updated 24 min 2 sec ago

Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand

Alibaba beats revenue estimates as lockdowns spur online demand

China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. on Thursday beat market expectations for fourth-quarter revenue, powered by demand for its ecommerce and cloud services as lockdowns in the country’s biggest cities forced offices to shift to remote work.

US-listed Alibaba shares, which have lost roughly a third of their value so far this year, were up about 2 percent in premarket trading.

The e-commerce giant’s strong results come as Beijing extends support to its tech companies to avoid a hit from new COVID-19 outbreaks.

Demand for online services ranging from shopping to cloud-based products has skyrocketed in China as strict lockdowns prompt people to work, shop and keep themselves entertained from homes.

Overall, revenue rose 9 percent to 204.05 billion yuan ($30.35 billion) in the quarter.

Revenue in the cloud computing division rose 12 percent to 18.97 billion yuan in the reported quarter.

At the core commerce unit, its largest, revenue rose 8 percent to 140.33 billion yuan.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of 199.25 billion yuan, according to Refinitiv data.


Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis
Updated 30 min ago

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis

Kremlin says West is to blame for Ukraine grain crisis
  • The Kremlin says Ukraine had made commercial shipping impossible by mining its waters

LONDON: The Kremlin on Thursday said the West only had itself to blame for a brewing food crisis due to problems getting Ukraine’s grain out to world markets, demanding the United States and its allies scrap what it cast as illegal sanctions.

Besides the death and devastation sown by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war and the West’s attempt to isolate Russia as punishment have sent the price of grain, cooking oil, fertilizer and energy soaring, hurting global growth.

The United Nations, which says a global food crisis is deepening, is trying to broker a deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports though Western leaders have blamed Russia for holding the world to ransom by blockading Ukrainian ports.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected those accusations and said the West was to blame for the situation.

“We categorically reject these accusations and, on the contrary, accuse Western countries that they have taken a number of illegal actions that led to this,” Peskov told reporters.

“They (the West) must cancel those illegal decisions that prevent the chartering of ships, that prevent the export of grain, and so on” so that supplies can resume, Peskov said.

Russia has captured some of Ukraine’s biggest seaports and its navy controls major transport routes in the Black Sea, where extensive mining has made commercial shipping dangerous.

Sanctions have also made it hard for Russian exporters to access vessels to move commodities to global markets.

Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies.

Chicago wheat futures hit a record price in March on supply concerns, and are still up by 30 percent since Feb. 24.

Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, while Russia and Belarus — which has backed Moscow in the war and is also under sanctions — account for over 40 percent of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Time is running out to get some 22 million tons of grain out of Ukraine ahead of the new harvest as Russia continues to blockade the country’s Black Sea ports, Ukrainian lawmaker Yevheniia Kravchuk said on Wednesday.

“We have about maybe a month and a half before we start to collect the new harvest,” she told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos, adding there was not sufficient space to store the fresh harvest.

Ukraine has lost the ports of Kherson and Mariupol to Russian occupation, and fears Russia may try to seize a third, Odesa.

The Kremlin says Ukraine had made commercial shipping impossible by mining its waters.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen is among those who have accused Moscow of using food exports as a weapon, while Kyiv has said Russia has stolen hundreds of thousands of tons of grain in areas their forces have occupied.
“Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom, and he is essentially weaponizing hunger and lack of food among the poorest people around the world,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said during a visit to Bosnia on Thursday.