EU blacklists Abramovich, targets energy, luxury sectors with new Russia sanctions

EU blacklists Abramovich, targets energy, luxury sectors with new Russia sanctions
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Updated 15 March 2022

EU blacklists Abramovich, targets energy, luxury sectors with new Russia sanctions

EU blacklists Abramovich, targets energy, luxury sectors with new Russia sanctions
  • Investment in Russia’s energy sector banned

BRUSSELS: The EU on Tuesday launched a new barrage of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, including bans on Russian energy sector investments, luxury goods exports to Moscow and imports of steel products from Russia.

The sanctions also freeze the assets of more business leaders who support the Russian state, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich and the head of Russian state TV Channel One Konstantin Ernst, who were added to a blacklist that already includes dozens of wealthy Russians.

The latest sanctions follow three rounds of punitive measures which included freezing of assets of the Russian central bank, the exclusion from the SWIFT banking system of some Russian and Belarusian banks, and the freeze of assets of oligarchs and top politicians, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

The European Commission said the sanctions included “a far-reaching ban on new investment across the Russian energy sector.”

The measures will hit Russia’s oil majors Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, who will be subjected to a transactions ban, but EU members will be still able to buy oil and gas from them.

Investment in energy projects within Russia run by other Russian companies, including gas giant Gazprom, will also be banned.

The investment ban applies to the whole energy sector, excluding nuclear energy, because some EU countries still rely on technology provided by Moscow for Russian reactors on their soil, the official said. Russia’s exports of several raw minerals, including fossil fuels and palladium, remain possible.

There will also be a total ban on transactions with some Russian state-owned enterprises linked to the Kremlin’s military-industrial complex.

The EU is trying to bolster exchange of information among EU states to facilitate seizures, as some members have limited staff and may also lack the political will.

The ban on Russian steel imports is estimated to affect €3.3 billion ($3.6 billion) worth of products.

EU companies will also be no longer allowed to export to Russia any luxury goods worth more than €300. Exports of cars costing more than €50,000 will also be banned.

One EU official said the EU was in advanced talks with Washington for the adoption of similar measures by the US which is home to the world’s top agencies, “otherwise the measure will have very little effect.”

The EU also agreed to strip Russia of its “most-favored nation” trade status, opening the door to punitive tariffs on Russian goods or outright import bans.


GAC approves Zamil Development Co.’s acquisition of Itqan Capital

GAC approves Zamil Development Co.’s acquisition of Itqan Capital
Updated 13 sec ago

GAC approves Zamil Development Co.’s acquisition of Itqan Capital

GAC approves Zamil Development Co.’s acquisition of Itqan Capital

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition on Tuesday announced its approval for Zamil Development Co.’s acquisition of Itqan Capital.

Itqan Capital is a Saudi closed joint-stock company. 


South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion

South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion
Updated 16 min 19 sec ago

South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion

South Korean group join hands with Aramco for Mideast expansion

RIYADH: South Korea’s steel firm SeAH Group has partnered with Saudi Aramco to boost its expansion plans in the Middle East, according to the Korea Economic Daily. 

The group’s special steel maker, SeAH Besteel Corp. has established the joint venture SeAH Gulf Special Steel Industries with the Saudi oil giant.

The JV is set to start building the factory, with an annual capacity of 17,000 tons, in the fourth quarter of 2022. Commercial operations are likely to begin in the first half of 2025.

“We will actively explore the Middle East market with various products such as stainless steel precision tubes and seamless stainless steel pipes,” said a SeAH Changwon official.


Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China

Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China
Updated 09 August 2022

Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China

Biden signs bill to boost US chips, compete with China

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a landmark bill to provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for US semiconductor production and research and to boost efforts to make the US more competitive with China’s science and technology efforts.

“The future is going to be made in America,” Biden said, calling the measure “a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.”

Biden touted investments that chip companies are making even though it remains unclear when the US Commerce Department will write rules for reviewing grant awards and how long it will take to underwrite projects.

Some Republicans joined Biden on the White House lawn to attend the signing of the chips bill that was years in the making in Congress.

The chief executives of Micron, Intel, Lockheed Martin, HP and Advanced Micro Devices attended the signing as did governors of Pennsylvania and Illinois, the mayors of Detroit, Cleveland and Salt Lake City, and lawmakers.

The White House said the bill’s passage was spurring new chip investments. It noted that Qualcomm on Monday agreed to buy an additional $4.2 billion in semiconductor chips from GlobalFoundries’ New York factory, bringing its total commitment to $7.4 billion in purchases through 2028.

The White House also touted Micron announcing a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing, which would boost US market share from 2 percent to 10 percent, an investment it said was planned with “anticipated grants” from the chips bill.

Progressives argued the bill is a giveaway to profitable chips companies that previously closed US plants, but Biden argued on Tuesday “this law is not handing out blank checks to companies.”

HIGHLIGHTS

The White House noted that Qualcomm on Monday agreed to buy an additional $4.2 billion in semiconductor chips from GlobalFoundries’ New York factory, bringing its total commitment to $7.4 billion in purchases through 2028.

The White House also touted Micron announcing a $40 billion investment in memory chip manufacturing.

The legislation aims to alleviate a persistent shortage that has affected everything from cars, weapons, washing machines and video games. Thousands of cars and trucks remain parked in southeast Michigan awaiting chips as the shortage continues to impact automakers.

A rare major foray into US industrial policy, the bill also includes a 25 percent investment tax credit for chip plants, estimated to be worth $24 billion.

The legislation authorizes $200 billion over 10 years to boost US scientific research to better compete with China. Congress would still need to pass separate appropriations legislation to fund those investments.

China had lobbied against the semiconductor bill. The Chinese Embassy in Washington said China “firmly opposed” it, calling it reminiscent of a “Cold War mentality.”

Many US lawmakers had said they normally would not support hefty subsidies for private businesses but noted that China and the EU had been awarding billions in incentives to their chip companies. They also cited national security risks and huge global supply chain problems that have hampered global manufacturing.


NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services

NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services
Updated 09 August 2022

NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services

NRG Matters - Egypt adopts green energy strategy; DEWA adopts AI to improve services

RIYADH: On a macro level, the Egyptian government has devised a strategy to boost green energy production. Zooming in, UK’s Centrica signed a $8.4 billion agreement with Delfin Midstream to purchase liquefied natural gas. 

Looking at the bigger picture

• The Egyptian government is implementing a clear strategy for turning the country into a regional hub for green energy production and export, according to the State Information Service.

It noted that Egypt has signed several deals with global companies for green hydrogen production in the Suez Canal Economic Zone. 

Through a micro lens:

• The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s Research and Development Center has employed artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning to improve services, Emirates News Agency reported. 

The move aims to  reduce costs and carbon emissions and promote energy efficiency, smart grid integration and improve the performance of photovoltaic solar panels.

• British energy supplier Centrica has signed a £7 billion ($8.47 billion) agreement with US-based Delfin Midstream to buy liquefied natural gas from 2026, Reuters reported citing the firm.

This happens as countries across Europe seek to diversify their energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a drop in gas flows from Moscow to the bloc.


Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down
Updated 09 August 2022

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

Egypt In-Focus: Oil expansion project; Renewable energy; Stock market down

CAIRO: Egypt will expand its oil storage capacity by 2.52 million barrels at the El-Hamra Terminal — which is managed by Western Desert Operating Petroleum Co..

Located 120 kilometers west of Alexandria, the expansion will comprise four new facilities stretching along 504,000 square meters, each expected to hold a capacity of 630,000 barrels of crude, reported MEED

“The port’s expansion plan aims to turn it into a strategic center on the Mediterranean coast for the circulation of crude and petroleum products,” said Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El-Molla in a statement.

Renewable energy

Egypt is determined to become the region’s main exporter and producer of green energy.

Through $40 billion-worth of deals with international companies, projects in the Suez Canal economic zone are expected to flourish in the production of green hydrogen by 2030, reported Egypt today.

Moreover, the Benban Solar Park in Aswan is expected to produce more than 10,000 megawatts by 2023 , disclosed Ayman Hamza, Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy’s spokesman.

Stock market

While the Egyptian exchange index 30 was down by 0.75 percent, EGX 70 and EGX 100 were up by 1.08 and 0.49 percent respectively, reported Egypt today.

This came following sales from Arab and foreign institutions and investment funds, while local companies were purchasing stocks.