G7 rejects Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles

Update G7 rejects Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles
G7 countries against Russia, Flags of G7 countries, Russia and map Ukraine with color flag.
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Updated 28 March 2022

G7 rejects Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles

G7 rejects Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles
  • Concerns over security of supply were enhanced after the demand, with companies and EU nations scrambling to understand the ramifications

BERLIN: The Group of Seven major economies have agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay for Russian natural gas exports in rubles, the German energy minister said Monday.

Robert Habeck told reporters that “all G-7 ministers agreed completely that this (would be) a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts.”

He said officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada met Friday to coordinate their position and that European Union representatives also were present.

Habeck said that “payment in ruble is not acceptable and we will urge the companies affected not to follow (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s demand.”

Putin announced last week that Russia will demand “unfriendly” countries pay for natural gas only in Russian currency from now on. He instructed the country’s central bank to work out a procedure for natural gas buyers to acquire rubles in Russia.

Economists said the move appeared designed to try to support the ruble, which has collapsed against other currencies since Putin invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 and Western countries responded with far-reaching sanctions against Moscow. But some analysts expressed doubt that it would work.

Asked by reporters earlier Monday if Russia could cut natural gas supplies to European customers if they reject the demand to pay in rubles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call that “we clearly aren’t going to supply gas for free.”

“In our situation, it’s hardly possible and feasible to engage in charity for Europe,” Peskov said.

Asked what happens if Russia turns off the taps now, Germany’s energy minister said, “We are prepared for all scenarios.”

“Putin’s demand to convert the contracts to ruble (means) he is standing with his back to the wall in that regard, otherwise he wouldn’t have made that demand,” Habeck said, adding that Russia needs rubles to finance its war at home, such as payments to troops.


Russia is working out methods for accepting payments for its gas exports in roubles and it will take decisions in due course should European countries refuse to pay in the Russian currency, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The Russian central bank, the government and Gazprom , which accounts for 40 percent of European gas imports, should present their proposals for rouble gas payments to President Vladimir Putin by March 31.

Poland’s PGNiG, which has a contract with Gazprom until the end of the year, has also said it cannot simply switch to paying in roubles.

The EU aims to cut its dependency on Russian gas by two-thirds this year and end Russian fossil fuel imports by 2027.

On Friday, the United States said it will work to supply 15 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European Union this year.

US LNG plants are producing at full capacity and analysts say most of any additional US gas sent to Europe would have to come from exports that would have gone elsewhere.

Russian gas exports to the EU were at around 155 bcm last year.

(With Reuters)

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 
Updated 28 November 2022

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

Oil Updates — Crude falls over $2; Chevron to expand production in Venezuela 

RIYADH: Oil futures fell more than $2 a barrel on Monday, with US West Texas Intermediate crude hitting an 11-month low, as protests in top importer China over strict COVID-19 curbs fueled demand concerns. 

Brent crude dropped $2.16, or 2.6 percent, to trade at $81.47 a barrel at 0230 GMT, after diving to $81.16 earlier in the session — its lowest since Jan. 11. 

US WTI crude slid $2.08, or 2.7 percent, to $74.20 a barrel. It fell as far as $73.82 earlier — its lowest since Dec. 27, 2021.  

Both benchmarks, which hit 10-month lows last week, have posted three consecutive weekly declines. Brent ended the latest week down 4.6 percent, while WTI fell 4.7 percent. 

Chevron can resume key role in Venezuela’s oil output, exports 

Chevron Corp. has received a US license allowing the second-largest US oil company to expand its production in Venezuela and bring the South American country’s crude oil to the US. 

The decision grants broader rights for the last big US oil company still operating in US-sanctioned Venezuela. However, it restricts any cash payments to Venezuela, which could reduce the oil available to export. 

License terms are designed to prevent state-run oil firm Petróleos de Venezuela, known as PDVSA, from receiving proceeds from Chevron’s petroleum sales, US officials said. The license lasts for six months and will be automatically renewed monthly thereafter, the US Treasury said. 

The US authorization “brings added transparency to the Venezuelan oil sector” and allows Chevron to benefit from sales of “oil that is currently being produced” by its joint ventures with PDVSA, the California-based company said in a statement. 

(With input from Reuters) 


BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region
Updated 27 November 2022

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region

BEEAH Group paves way for a sustainable future in the region
  • Group aims to help Sharjah achieve 100% landfill waste diversion: CEO

DUBAI: BEEAH Group, the UAE’s leading sustainability pioneer and digital expert, has achieved a waste diversion rate of 76 percent, the highest in the Middle East, and the remaining 24 percent was disposed of in landfills.

Speaking to Arab News, Group CEO Khaled Al-Huraimel said that BEEAH Group aims to help Sharjah achieve 100 percent landfill waste diversion in 2022, up from 76 percent currently.

BEEAH Group launched the UAE’s first waste-to-energy facility earlier in 2022 as part of its efforts to achieve zero waste, he added.

The facility, located in Sharjah, would divert over 300,000 tons of non-recyclable waste from landfills annually and generate 30 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power almost 30,000 homes.

“Once the facility reaches full operational capacity, Sharjah will become the first city in the Middle East to achieve zero waste,” Al-Huraimel said

All of this is due to BEEAH Group’s operations in Sharjah with 10 different plants.

There are 10 dedicated recycling facilities that process materials such as paper, plastic, tires, old vehicles, metals, construction and demolition waste, organic waste, industrial wastewater, maritime waste and commercial and industrial waste.

Al-Huraimel said BEEAH was established in 2007 to address the environmental challenges the region was facing, including waste. However, at the beginning of 2022, the company changed its name to BEEAH Group and adopted the structure of an investment holding company and a new visual identity. This is part of the group’s strategy to diversify its core business into new sectors.

The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have the highest waste per capita in the world. Therefore, this was the immediate challenge, he added.

“We started in waste management, and today, we’re proud to say we became the first to reach zero waste in the emirate of Sharjah, and today we are also active across the UAE,” he said. “Our new structure as an investment holding group has seen us launch several new business verticals that will capitalize on business opportunities across different industries and countries.”

BEEAH places sustainability and digitization at the heart of the business. This can be seen across several verticals, including BEEAH Tandeef for waste collection and city cleaning and BEEAH Recycling for waste processing and material recovery. There is also BEEAH Energy for clean and renewable power and BEEAH Environment Services for consulting, research and innovation.

Additionally, there is BEEAH Digital for future technologies and digital ventures, BEEAH Transport for green mobility and autonomous transportation, and BEEAH Education, an environmental education and awarding organization for businesses and individuals.

The various verticals will benefit from the collective experience of the BEEAH Group while having more room to grow within their respective industries.

BEEAH Group encourages collective responsibility for sustainability through education and awareness programs. In 2010, BEEAH Group launched the BEEAH Academy of Sustainability to promote environmental education. Today, the academy reaches a network of more than 252,000 students, 6,500 teachers, and 700 schools. Across its areas of operation, the group aims to improve quality of life through a twin-pillared approach that focuses on sustainability and digitalization.

Digitalization of BEEAH Group

During a private meeting at BEEAH Group’s recently built headquarters, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, Al-Huraimel remarked, “It was one of the last buildings she designed.” 

Our new structure as an investment holding group has seen us launch several new business verticals that will capitalize on business opportunities across different industries and countries.

Khaled Al-Huraimel, BEEAH Group CEO

According to him, the organization’s brand-new headquarters reflect BEEAH Group’s identity as a sustainable icon.

The BEEAH Group headquarters is a command center for all BEEAH Group operations, as it has more than 10,000 employees and is growing. “This building is one of the smartest and most sustainable buildings in the region,” he added.

A primary area of focus for BEEAH Group is technology, and the organization believes that technology has many tools to help it achieve its goals, Al-Huraimel said. In that sector, BEEAH Group has three companies: Evoteq, re.life, and One Data Center, a recent joint venture with Khazna to build Sharjah’s first data center.

He said the BEEAH Group headquarters operates using hundreds of artificial intelligence use cases.

At Tandeef, BEEAH Group’s waste collection business, the vehicles are all tracked, and the routing is also optimized by artificial intelligence.

The commercial and industrial recycling facility, a recent facility launched by BEEAH Recycling this year, has a robot with AI vision that can segregate different types of waste.

“So, we believe and embrace technology as it can help us create a better future and meet our targets,” Al-Huraimel said.

As part of its efforts in facilitating digital transformation, BEEAH Group also partnered with Khazna Data Centers recently to build Sharjah’s first Tier 3 data center.

Commenting on their JV with Khazna, the group CEO said that data centers have become necessary with the growth of cloud computing. This requires a great deal of data storage.

He added that Sharjah also needs a data center to support shortages and digitalization and become a more innovative city.

“In today’s world, it’s important to build a strong digital foundation and infrastructure,” said Al-Huraimel.

By harnessing the power of technology and innovative sustainable solutions, the BEEAH Group is paving the way for a better quality of life across the MENA region.

COP27 delegation

BEEAH Group has commenced operations in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, including sustainable waste management services during the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27.

He said that the organization and Egypt’s Green Planet, an environmental solutions company, signed a contract in September to provide waste management and city cleaning services under the 10-year contract.

“We were awarded the waste management contract for Sharm El-Sheikh, and we have commenced our services before COP27,” he added.

The BEEAH Group also attended COP27 and represented the UAE as part of the UAE delegation.

Besides showcasing the organization’s groundbreaking projects, such as the UAE’s first waste-to-energy plant and the region’s first fully AI-integrated office building, BEEAH Group introduced the conference attendees to its recycling facilities and zero-waste solutions.

“We were proud to participate in COP27 as part of the UAE delegation. As a frontrunner in climate action, the UAE has made huge strides toward zero emissions; we are pleased to show how we support these targets through clean energy, sustainable infrastructure, and integrated waste management solutions,” said Al-Huraimel.

“I believe the UAE and the region have strong sustainability goals. We see that in the UAE, Saudi, Egypt, and so on,” he said, commenting on BEEAH Group’s attendance at COP27.

As the group CEO pointed out, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are two key markets for BEEAH Group, which will continue to expand over the next 18 months.

Geographic growth and diversification have been the main ways the group has grown. BEEAH has diversified into digital, energy consulting and health care.

“We targeted Saudi Arabia and Egypt for future expansion, as they are the two biggest markets for us in terms of size and recognition of the relationship between our countries,” he said.

Currently, the group focuses on growing in Saudi Arabia and Egypt by offering waste management services in both countries.

BEEAH Group also hopes to consolidate its position as a regional leader in waste management while looking at other government and private contracts.

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 
Updated 27 November 2022

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

World tourism leaders gather in Riyadh as KSA gears up for WTTC Global Summit 

RIYADH: Global leaders in the tourism sector will gather in Riyadh for the World Travel and Tourism Global Summit from Nov. 28-Dec. 1 as the Kingdom steadily pursues its journey to evolve as a global tourist destination, in alignment with its Vision 2030 goals. 

Touted to be one of the biggest tourism events of the year, the global summit is being organized at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center under the theme “Travel for a Better Future."

During the event, industry leaders will share their thoughts about the future of the sector and the challenges that should be addressed to ensure a safer, more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable travel and tourism industry. 

According to a press release issued by WTTC, former British Prime Minister Theresa May will be one of the key speakers at the event, along with other prominent personalities in the sector including Jerry Inzerillo, group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, and Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai International Airports. 

South Korean diplomat Ban Ki-Moon, who served as the eighth secretary-general of the UN between 2007 and 2016, will also address delegates during the event. 

“We are delighted to have such influential speakers already confirmed for our global summit in Riyadh. Our event will bring together many of the world’s most powerful leaders in our sector to discuss and secure its long-term future, which is critical to economies and jobs around the world,” said WTTC's president and CEO Julia Simpson. 

Simpson also lauded Saudi Arabia’s tourism efforts and said that the Kingdom’s tourism sector will be the fastest growing one in the region by the end of this decade.

She added: “The government of Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in the recovery of the global travel and tourism sector following two years of crisis. Set to become a major tourist destination, our latest research shows that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector will surpass pre-pandemic levels next year and will see the fastest growth across the Middle East over the next decade.”

This year’s WTTC Global Summit is also supported by a metaverse experience created for potential investors to explore investment opportunities and take part in sessions virtually, according to a press release.

“WTTC will arrive in Riyadh as tourism enters a new era of recovery and we welcome the world to join them virtually in our metaverse,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmad Al-Khateeb.

He added: “Bringing together global leaders from both the public and private sector, the summit will be fundamental in building the better, brighter future the sector deserves and technology and innovation will be key to our collective future success.”

For the first time in history, this year’s WTTC Global Summit will be live streamed to the general public. 

The event in Saudi Arabia is timely with a new global consumer survey carried out by YouGov revealing that the appetite for international travel is now at its highest point since the start of the pandemic. 

According to the survey report, 63 percent of the respondents are planning a leisure trip in the next 12 months, a strong indication of the sector’s bounce back after the economic headwind triggered by the pandemic.

The report also noted that 27 percent of the participants are planning three or more trips in the next 12 months. Earlier in October, while speaking at the Future Investment Initiative, Al-Khateeb said that Riyadh is set to become the capital of the global tourism industry, and the tourist destinations in the Kingdom are being built and will operate in a sustainable manner.

“We have the vision, we put the plan, and we put all the resources, especially the financial resources to deliver the plan,” said Al-Khateeb. 

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA
Updated 27 November 2022

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA

Dar Al Arkan bags contract to develop ROSHN’s residential units in SEDRA

RIYADH: Saudi developer Dar Al Arkan has won a contract to develop residential units in SEDRA, an integrated community project being developed in northern Riyadh by national developer ROSHN, a Public Investment Fund-backed company.

This brings two of the leading property developers in Saudi Arabia together as both look to combine their expertise to bring more variety to ROSHN’s housing offering at SEDRA. 

“We will deliver beautiful and well-appointed villas in the community that will further raise the bar for luxury residences in Saudi Arabia,” said Yousef Al Shelash, chairman of Dar Al Arkan.

Being developed in eight phases, SEDRA is set to add 30,000 residential units to Riyadh’s housing stock once completed in three years. The project is being constructed over 20 million square meters of neighborhoods. 

A flagship development of ROSHN, SEDRA recently won the ‘Residential Project of the Year’ award at the Construction Week Middle East 2022 Awards held in Dubai. 

The project will offer a diverse mix of residences built around a ‘work, live and play’ model, the company said in a press release, adding that it will foster a sustainable community.

ROSHN said it seeks to bring a new concept of integrated, human-centric, livable communities to the Kingdom.  SEDRA’s facades are influenced by the ‘Salmani’ style of architecture, it said. The company said the project will have a blend of tradition and modernity, while it will have natural features including a wadi and an acacia forest. 

“Bringing the ROSHN concept to life requires novel ways of thinking, new partnerships with the top entities in their fields, and innovative solutions to address the challenges of the future. As a development sector enabler, ROSHN leverages its partnerships to ensure we bring the highest quality homes to markets, across the Kingdom,” said ROSHN Group CEO, David Grover. 

Dar Al Arkan Properties is fast growing its portfolio across the Kingdom and expanding its international footprint. It boasts a track record of delivering 15,000 residential units and over 50,000 square meters of commercial space. 

ROSHN's ethos is to develop communities that look both to Saudi heritage and the evolving aspirations of the Saudi people. The master developer operates across a broad range of asset classes and land uses, including residential, retail, commercial, hospitality, and public and civic facilities.

TASI sheds 142 points on dampening business sentiment, closes at 10,796: Closing Bell 

TASI sheds 142 points on dampening business sentiment, closes at 10,796: Closing Bell 
Updated 27 November 2022

TASI sheds 142 points on dampening business sentiment, closes at 10,796: Closing Bell 

TASI sheds 142 points on dampening business sentiment, closes at 10,796: Closing Bell 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s benchmark index fell on Sunday as investors shied away from the market due to dampening business sentiment and uncertainty in global demand. 

The Tadawul All Share Index fell 142 points to close at 10,796, while the parallel market, Nomu, plunged 300 points to finish at 18,866. 

Of the 219 companies listed on TASI on Sunday, 33 advanced, while 173 declined. The total trading turnover closed at SR2.58 billion ($690 million). It had fallen to SR1.7 billion in the first three hours of trading on Sunday. 

The first important announcement on the bourse came from SNB Capital, the lead manager of Saudi Aramco Base Oil Co., also known as Luberef, intending to proceed with an initial public offering and listing of its ordinary shares on the primary market. 

The statement said the offer is expected to sell existing shares and result in a free float of 29.65 percent of Luberef share capital or 50.05 million ordinary shares. 

The offering price will be determined after the book-building period, the statement added. 

Middle East Paper Co. also announced the approval of its shareholders to its board’s recommendation to increase capital by 33.3 percent by granting one bonus share for every three shares held during an extraordinary general meeting on Nov. 24. 

The company shares, however, fell 2 percent to close at SR28.6 after reaching SR27.70. 

Meanwhile, Yaqeen Capital, the financial adviser and lead manager for the IPO of Molan Steel Co. on the Nomu-Parallel Market, announced that the issue was oversubscribed.  

The steel company offered 532,410 shares, representing 20.02 percent of its capital. The final offer price was set at SR 24 per share, the statement added. 

From an industry standpoint, the Pharma, Biotech & Life Science index fell for the bearish prowl as it fell 44 points to close at 3,015. Interestingly, the Healthcare Equipment & Services index rose 52 points to 8,872.  

Tourism Enterprise Co. has been under the spotlight in the top gainers’ list on TASI for a while now. It increased by 2.9 points to close at SR32.05. The other gainers included Dr. Sulaiman Al Habib Medical Services Group, Arabian Drilling Co and Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development. 

The top fallers were Malath Cooperative Insurance Co., United Wire Factories Co., Al Yamamah Steel Industries Co, Red Sea International Co. and Nama Chemicals Co.