Germany seals deal to obtain LNG from Qatar; Austria unveils $2.2bn energy subsidies: NRG matters

Germany seals deal to obtain LNG from Qatar; Austria unveils $2.2bn energy subsidies: NRG matters
Germany is looking to source LNG from Qatar (Getty)
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Updated 21 March 2022

Germany seals deal to obtain LNG from Qatar; Austria unveils $2.2bn energy subsidies: NRG matters

Germany seals deal to obtain LNG from Qatar; Austria unveils $2.2bn energy subsidies: NRG matters

RIYADH: Countries are still trying to cope with the conflict between Russia and Ukraine as well as soaring energy costs. Germany is seen sealing deals for alternative gas supplies while Austria is adding subsidies to shield the economy. On a micro level, Saudi Aramco is pursuing carbon centric goals while Gazprom struggles to find willing buyers.

Looking at the bigger picture: 

  • Austria has announced 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) worth of energy subsidies to cushion the economy from rallying prices, Bloomberg reported. The subsidies, which include tax cuts and employee compensation, were announced by Finance Minister Magnus Brunner and Climate and Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler.
  • Germany has finally sealed a deal to receive a long term liquefied natural gas, or LNG, supply from Gulf country Qatar, Bloomberg reported. This comes as the European country is looking to divert gas supply away from Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
  • Moreover, Germany is fast tracking two terminals to propel liquified natural gas shipments, Reuters reported, citing Qatar state owned company QatarEnergy.

Through a micro lens: 

  • Saudi Arabian public petroleum and natural gas company Saudi Aramco is planning to develop a major hydrogen export capability, Reuters reported. Founded in 1933, the Dhahran based firm aims to become a global leader in carbon capture as well as storage.
  • The UK energy supply arm of Russian majority state owned multinational energy corporation Gazprom is struggling to find willing buyers as major customers rush to exit post Ukraine’s invasion, The Times reported. American multinational fast food corporation McDonalds, German multinational conglomerate corporation Siemens, and UK waste management company Biffa are all in talks with the gas industry company about ending multi-million pound contracts.

 


Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 
Updated 15 sec ago

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Wednesday, rising by 1.39 percent to $24,340 as of 10:12 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,943.87 rising by 3.41 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Crypto hacking losses jumped 60% to $1.9bn in first seven months

According to Chainalysis’ blog post released on Tuesday, losses caused by cryptocurrency hacks surged nearly 60 percent in the first seven months of the year to $1.9 billion, Reuters reported.

The stolen funds from hacking totaled $1.2 billion during the same period last year.

Using DeFi applications, which are often based on the Ethereum blockchain, it is possible to provide crypto-denominated lending outside of traditional banking institutions.

Despite the $190 million hack of cross-chain bridge Nomad and the $5 million hack of several Solana wallets in the first week of August, Chainalysis believes the trend will not reverse anytime soon.

Chainalysis said in the blog: “DeFi protocols are uniquely vulnerable to hacking, as their open source code can be studied ad nauseum by cybercriminals looking for exploits and it’s possible that protocols’ incentives to reach the market and grow quickly lead to lapses in security best practices.”

North Korea’s “bad actors,” namely elite hacking units like Lazarus Group, are responsible for much of the money stolen from DeFi protocols, according to a US firm.

Chainalysis estimates that so far this year, North Korea-affiliated groups have stolen approximately $1 billion of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols.

As a result of the slump in digital assets prices, the blockchain intelligence firm saw a sharp 65 percent decline in crypto scams through July. In the year to July, scam revenue was $1.6 billion, down 65 percent from about $4.46 billion a year ago.

Celsius considers financing proposals amid bankruptcy

An attorney for bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network said Tuesday that the lender has received multiple offers to help fund its restructuring, according to Bloomberg. 

In a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday, Joshua Sussberg of Kirkland & Ellis said Celsius was considering financing packages of “various shapes and sizes,” Bloomberg said. 

It is expected that several more proposals will be submitted, he said, without providing details about the existing proposals.

If Celsius is to avoid liquidation and restructure or sell its business, it needs to raise additional funds. In court papers, the company expects its liquidity balance to turn negative in October after reaching $66.4 million in August. 

Next week, Celsius will meet with the unsecured creditor's committee and will work expeditiously on the path forward, according to a tweet. The next hearing is slated for September.

Stronghold gives back 26,200 bitcoin mining rigs to reduce debt

With the help of New York Digital Investment Group and WhiteHawk Capital, Stronghold Digital Mining Inc. has eliminated more than half of its debt and added liquidity, according to Bloomberg. Moreover, the company will restructure its convertible note.

It will return about 26,200 Bitcoin mining machines to NYDIG, which will wipe out the outstanding debt of $67.4 million from the original contract, Stronghold said in a statement Tuesday. 

WhiteHawk committed to restructuring and expanding Stronghold’s current equipment financing arrangements, reducing near-term payments, and providing more borrowing capacity of $20 million.

In the wake of the collapse of cryptocurrency prices from record levels reached in November, Bitcoin miners are struggling to raise capital and repay loans backed by the token or their mining rigs. 

The company is the latest Bitcoin miner forced to pay off an outstanding debt with its mining machines.

(With inputs from Reuters) 


India In-Focus — New Delhi boosts Saudi oil imports; shares end higher

India In-Focus — New Delhi boosts Saudi oil imports; shares end higher
Updated 7 min 51 sec ago

India In-Focus — New Delhi boosts Saudi oil imports; shares end higher

India In-Focus — New Delhi boosts Saudi oil imports; shares end higher

RIYADH: India’s crude oil imports from Russia in July fell for the first time since March along with its overall purchase, while supplies from Saudi Arabia rebounded for the first in five months, data obtained from trade and industry sources showed.

Indian refiners lifted more term supplies from Saudi Arabia as prices were attractive while prices for Russian supplies have climbed on robust demand.

India shipped in 877,400 barrels per day oil from Russia in July, a decline of about 7.3 percent from June, with Moscow continuing as its second-biggest oil supplier after Iraq.

Overall India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer, shipped in 3.2 percent less oil in July at 4.63 million bpd from June as some refineries planned maintenance turnaround from August, the data showed.

India’s oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose by 25.6 percent to 824,700 bpd in July, the highest in three months, the data showed, after the producer lowered official selling price in June and July compared with May. Saudi Arabia stayed at No. 3 spot among India’s suppliers.

Indian shares end higher

Indian shares closed higher on Wednesday, as investors pinned their hopes on strong earnings data amid signs of cooling inflation, sending the S&P BSE Sensex above the key 60,000 level for the first time since April 5.

The NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.67 percent higher at 17,944.25 while the Sensex ended 0.7 percent higher at 60,260.13. Both indexes clocked their highest closing level in four months.

Indian rupee gains

The Indian rupee closed higher on Wednesday marking its biggest single-day gain in more than one week spurred by dollar inflows, as improved risk appetite drove a rally in equities while the greenback posted losses.

The partially convertible rupee closed at 79.4450 in its best session since Aug. 5. India’s foreign exchange markets were shut on Monday and Tuesday.

 

(With input from Reuters) 

 

 


Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 

Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 
Updated 13 min 17 sec ago

Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 

Ajlan & Bros eyes $2bn investment in Tashkent city project: Top official 

JEDDAH: Saudi conglomerate Ajlan & Bros Holding Group is eyeing an investment of $2 billion in a city project in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent as it signed multiple memorandums of understanding with Uzbek entities, the conglomerate’s CEO has confirmed. 

These MoUs were signed during the Saudi-Uzbek Business Council meeting in Jeddah on Wednesday. 

“The first agreement we signed was with the Tashkent city, the capital of Uzbekistan, and this is to cover multiple opportunities to develop infrastructure, commercial zones and industrial zones and retail zones in the city,“ Ali Al-Khatib, CEO of industrial manufacturing at Ajlan & Bros Holding Group told Arab News.

 Al-Khatib noted that the Tashkent city project is currently in its planning stage and things will be finalized soon after discussions with partners. 

The second agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan focuses on investments in the farming and agricultural sector. 

“We are also exploring the strategic red meat sector, where we aim to invest in the sector in Uzbekistan, and later bring it back to the Kingdom’s markets,” Al-Khatib added. 

He added that the investments in the agricultural sector could range between $50 million to $100 million.


Saudi-Uzbekistan council signs 10 investment agreements worth $12bn

Saudi-Uzbekistan council signs 10 investment agreements worth $12bn
Updated 19 min 11 sec ago

Saudi-Uzbekistan council signs 10 investment agreements worth $12bn

Saudi-Uzbekistan council signs 10 investment agreements worth $12bn

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have signed over 10 investment agreements, worth over SR45 billion ($12 billion), during the Saudi-Uzbek Business Council in Jeddah on Wednesday.

The agreements cover various sectors and include number of deals between Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and ACWA Power, a developer, investor, co-owner and operator of a portfolio of power generation and desalinated water production plants. 
“Over 10 agreements were signed between the Kingdom and Uzbekistan in several sectors, with a value exceeding SR45 billion,” Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih said. 


Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2

Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2
Updated 22 min 58 sec ago

Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2

Saudi Arabia issues over 4.4k licenses, attracting $932m investment in Q2

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has recorded a massive jump of 673.4 percent in the number of investment licenses, with 4,455 licenses issued in the second quarter of 2022 in comparison to 576 in the same period last year, the latest government data showed. 

The five leading sectors which accounted for most of these licenses include wholesale and retail with 2,713, construction with 528, manufacturing with 349, accommodation and food services with 276, and professional, scientific and technical services with 153 investment licenses, reveals the Economic and Investment Monitor report by the Ministry of Investment, known as MISA.

A company willing to engage in financial activity within the country has to acquire an investment license, which is issued by the state body of the country— the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, known as SAGIA, in this case.

While Saudi Arabia is pumping huge investments into the domestic economy from its state coffers, the Kingdom is also pushing to attract more foreign direct investments and partnerships while enhancing the business environment within the country as part of a wider diversification strategy under Vision 2030. 

These efforts have seen Saudi Arabia sealing 49 deals in the second quarter of 2022, up from 37 deals in the first quarter, generating an additional SR3.5 billion ($932 million) in investments and creating 2,000 new jobs.

When looking at the data, the sectors with the highest closed deals were the entrepreneurship and innovation sector which had 34 deals to its name, followed by education and training with six deals. The real estate sector followed that with four deals.

Among the top countries that are investing in Saudi Arabia, the UK leads the list followed by the UAE, Jordan and the US. 

The Kingdom has put forth many efforts to attract investors to its highly competitive and safe business environment, and the goal has been achieved, the report stated.

As part of the strategy to offer seamless services to investors, MISA — since its establishment in February 2021 — has been offering e-services which have gone up to 42,000 in the second quarter of this year, up from 18,000 during the same period in 202O.

Moreover, MISA said it helped raise awareness and draw investors to the diverse Saudi market through organizing and attending more than 15 events in the second quarter.

Its efforts also included introducing and incorporating new legislative laws, making Saudi Arabia a great place for investments, the report added.

These efforts played a part in Saudi Arabia claiming high ranks highly in various global indicators, such as Global Innovation Index, Consumer Confidence Index, and Edelman Trust Index, the report said.

While Saudi Arabia is growing at a massive pace, it wants to achieve its goals in tandem with the 2030 Vision — the core of which has been sustainability. The country is focusing on many sustainable and environmental projects which will continue to attract investors from all over the world, the MISA report said.

With projects such as the Green Riyadh, the water desalination, and the Sakaka solar power plant on their way, the report projects that the future of investments and growth in Saudi Arabia will be promising.