Saudi Arabia’s RPDC to launch first robot to drive offshore oil operations: CEO

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Updated 29 April 2022

Saudi Arabia’s RPDC to launch first robot to drive offshore oil operations: CEO

Saudi Arabia’s RPDC to launch first robot to drive offshore oil operations: CEO
  • RPDC, which helps local patent holders commercialize their ideas and turn them into products, worked with Saudi Aramco to develop its first robotic prototype to support offshore oil operations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Research Products Development Co., a subsidiary of PIF-owned TAQNIA, is launching its first robotic prototype this year to support offshore oil operations, its CEO said.  

“The robot will be used to inspect leakage in pipelines under the water,” RPDC CEO Abdulmohsen Almajnouni told Arab News.

RPDC, which helps local patent holders commercialize their ideas and turn them into products, worked with Saudi Aramco to develop this prototype.

“The prototype’s patent is owned by Aramco, and it’s developed and tested by RPDC’s team led by international robotic expert Nahid Sidki,” said Almajnouni. The robot will soon be ready for full-scale production.

Strategic alliances

RPDC was established as an effective technology development and commercialization engine by the Saudi Arabia Advanced Research Alliance.

SAARA is the first-of-its-kind alliance between leading organizations from the public and private sectors. The founding partners include Saudi Aramco, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, TAQNIA and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. 




RPDC CEO, Abdulmohsen Almajnouni 

RPDC aims to bridge the gap between national research and development and the market by developing technology innovation and patents into successful business opportunities.

The Riyadh-based company has successfully enhanced and developed technology innovation in the Kingdom and generated good revenue within eight years of its creation, Almajnouni said.

Before the creation of RPDC, patent applications in the Kingdom ended on the shelves, and no real action was taken to adopt them. Things changed after the company became operational.

Almajnouni added: “So, the idea was how can we establish an entity that takes the best practices in the world to develop this IP or even better advance the IP into a final product?”

Harnessing innovation

The company has been doing plenty of work on the intellectual property front for the last eight years and with great success.

“We have been doing this now over the last eight years. Of course, we have had a lot of challenges, but I can say proudly that recently we were able to kick-start three main projects and other various products,” Almajnouni said.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The robot will be used to inspect leakage in pipelines under the water.

• RPDC, which helps local patent holders commercialize their ideas and turn them into products, worked with Saudi Aramco to develop this prototype.

• The prototype’s patent is owned by Aramco, and it’s developed and tested by RPDC’s team led by international robotic expert Nahid Sidki.

He added that over the past five years, the company has grown successfully thanks to the support of the firm’s founders, shareholders, government support and Saudi Aramco’s scientific endeavors. “I can proudly tell you that we are a company with around 30 people, and I would have a stable income stream in tens of millions of dollars annually. We execute various projects depending on their stage of commercialization. In addition, RPDC conducted market assessments for new companies,” Almajnouni told Arab News.

Almajnouni stressed that the company generates income from its partners like Aramco and SABIC. 




Nahid Sidki, chief technology officer of Research Products Development Company.

“The income comes from our customers because we are part of the Public Investment Fund. So, we are obligated to be a profit center. That means we offer services to our clients, and they pay for the services,” he added.

The other service provided by the RPDC is a strategic partnership with consultant firms. “But the challenge has always been how to take an IP from the lab to the industry,” Almajnouni said.

“We assess these IPs,” he continued, “we evaluate them as to which one would ultimately lead to a product that is needed and can be sold. So, we do this service called the intellectual property or patent review on assessment.”

Taking it to the drawing board

Almajnouni noted that the product the company receives is tested thoroughly by the technical team before drawing up a business plan.

“It should be a product that you can take; you can test it and understand how it works. You can even further improve it.

FASTFACTS

• RPDC was established as an effective technology development and commercialization engine by the Saudi Arabia Advanced Research Alliance.

• SAARA is the first-of-its-kind alliance between leading organizations from the public and private sectors. The founding partners include Saudi Aramco, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, TAQNIA and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

The other thing we do is prepare a complete business plan for clients, which includes an assessment, a market review followed by prototyping.”

Almajnouni admitted that the IP market, in general, is quite challenging.

Because this is a very challenging market, IP development is risky. I’m not sure how any company can grow easily because many of these IPs will take time,” he said.

A patent may not hit the market, or maybe it will. But what cannot be stopped is an idea whose time has come.


Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives
Updated 13 sec ago

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives

Zain Group boss is top Kuwait-based CEO on Forbes Middle East list of top executives
  • The magazine ranked Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi in 35th place on its list of the top 100 CEOs in the region

LONDON: Forbes Middle East has named Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, the CEO of Zain Group. as one of the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East for 2022.

He is ranked 35th and leads a number of other Kuwait-based executives on the list, including Sheikha Dana Al-Sabah of the KIPCO Group, Essam Al-Sager of the National Bank of Kuwait, Tareq Al-Sultan of Agility, Elham Mahfouz of the Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Mohammed Al-Osaimi of Boursa Kuwait, and Talal Al-Ajmi of VI Markets.

Al-Kharafi was appointed vice chairman of Zain Group in 2014 and CEO in 2017. He is also the chairman of the board for the executive committee of Boursa Kuwait, a board member of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and a founder of BNK Holding, a privately held shareholding company.

The CEOs ranked on the Forbes list come from 26 countries in the region. Companies in the UAE leads the way with 19 entries, followed by Egypt with 16 and Saudi Arabia with 15.

In 2021, the bosses on the list managed more than $1 trillion in revenues and the combined worth of their companies is more than $5 trillion. The sector with the most CEOs on the list is banking and financial services, with 27, followed by telecoms with eight, and energy and logistics with seven.

“Irrespective of the economic environment, market conditions, and other factors, it is the CEO who bears most of the responsibility for the success or failure of the company they lead,” Forbes Middle East wrote.

“This is becoming more apparent in the Middle East, where corporate governance has been improving for several years. There is now a clear separation between ownership and management in companies throughout the region.

“This trend is particularly strong in government-owned businesses, with even sectors such as defense and utilities now being incorporated and even being listed on stock exchanges. This has made CEOs focus more on long-term benefits that stem from innovation, technology, and ESG (environmental, social and governance) initiatives.”

In 2021, when Forbes Middle East published its first list of the top CEOs in the region, the magazine found that the mood among executives was focused on safety and the protection of business.

“This year has seen a reversal in fortunes, with record profits, new investments, large IPOs (initial public offerings), and mega deals taking center stage,” according to the magazine.

“For example, so far in 2022 Amin H. Nasser has led Saudi Aramco to become the world’s most valuable company by market value again, usurping Apple. Meanwhile, Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber led ADNOC as it took three of its subsidiaries — ADNOC Drilling, Fertiglobe and Borouge — public, with Borouge’s $2 billion IPO becoming Abu Dhabi’s largest-ever IPO.”

The CEOs were ranked based on the effects they have had on the region, their country and the markets that they serve; their overall experience and time spent in their current role; the size of the company in terms of revenues, assets and market cap; their achievements and performance in the past year, and the innovations and initiatives they are responsible for.

To create the rankings, Forbes Middle East sent questionnaires and gathered data from stock market disclosures, industry reports, annual reports and financial statements, among other primary sources.


Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%


Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%

Updated 06 July 2022

Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%


Egypt In-Focus — PMI sees its biggest slump in 2 years; trade balance deficit falls by 53%


CAIRO: Sharply rising prices and currency devaluation have resulted in Egypt’s non-oil private sector’s biggest drop in two years in June. Additionally, the country’s trade balance deficit fell by 53 percent during April. 

Egypt’s non-oil private sector

Egypt’s non-oil private sector has seen its biggest drop in two years during the month of June, in the face of sharply rising prices and a devalued Egyptian pound, according to the S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index. 

The North African country’s PMI registered 45.2 in June, down from 47 during the month earlier. 

Trade balance deficit

Egypt’s trade balance deficit fell by 53 percent during April 2022 to reach $1.7 billion compared to April 2021’s $3.62 billion, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

According to CAPMAS’ monthly bulletin, the country’s exports rose by 54.2 percent to hit $4.94 billion during April, compared to $3.2 billion in the same period last year. 

Acquisition

Cairo-based real estate developer Sixth of October for Development and Investment Co., or Sodic, has submitted a non-binding offer to acquire up to 100 percent of the share capital of state-owned developer Madinet Nasr Housing & Development.

The transaction could value the company, to be acquired, at $328 million, according to MEED.

This comes in line with Sodic’s strategy to expand its portfolio of mixed-use residential communities in Cairo.

Sodic is majority-owned by a consortium comprising Abu Dhabi-based Aldar and ADQ. 

 


US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network

US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network
Updated 06 July 2022

US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network

US targets Iranian oil and petrochemical trade network
  • The US Treasury Department said the network used a web of front companies based in the Gulf

WASHINGTON: The US on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a network of people and entities it accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia, applying pressure on Tehran as Washington seeks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
The US Treasury Department in a statement said the network used a web of front companies based in the Gulf to facilitate the delivery and sale of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the products from Iranian companies to East Asia.
In Doha last week, indirect talks between Tehran and Washington ended without a breakthrough over how to salvage Iran’s 2015 JCPOA nuclear pact.
“While the United States is committed to achieving an agreement with Iran that seeks a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, we will continue to use all our authorities to enforce sanctions on the sale of Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in the statement.
Among those designated in Wednesday’s move was Iran-based Jam Petrochemical Company, which the Treasury accused of exporting petrochemical products worth hundreds of millions of dollars to companies throughout East Asia, many of which the Treasury said were sold to Iran Petrochemical Commercial Company for shipment to China.


Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries

Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries
Updated 06 July 2022

Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries

Oil drops to 12-week low on recession worries

NEW YORK: Oil prices dropped to a 12-week low in volatile trade on Wednesday, extending Tuesday’s heavy losses as growing fears of demand destruction from a global recession outweighed supply concerns.

Brent futures for September delivery fell $2.99, or 2.9 percent, to $99.78 a barrel by 10:57 a.m. EDT (1457 GMT), while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $3.19, or 3.2 percent, to $96.31.

That puts WTI and Brent on track for their lowest closes since April 11, after Brent fell 9 percent and WTI fell 8 percent on Tuesday.

It also put both benchmarks in technically oversold territory with a relative strength index below 30 for a second day in a row. If Brent closes at that level, it would be the first time it remains in oversold territory for two days since December 2021.

Oil prices were also knocked down by a soaring US dollar , which rose to a near 20-year high against a basket of other currencies.

A stronger US dollar makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies, which can curb demand.

In China, the world’s biggest oil importer, the market worried that new COVID-19 lockdowns could cut demand.

China’s crude oil imports from Russia, meanwhile, soared 55 percent from a year earlier to a record level in May. Russia displaced Saudi Arabia as the top supplier as refiners cashed in on discounted supplies amid sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

Adding to downward pressure on oil prices, Equinor ASA said all oil and gas fields affected by a strike in Norway’s petroleum sector are expected to be back in full operation within a couple of days.


NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant


NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant

Updated 06 July 2022

NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant


NRG Matters: Egypt, UAE agree to establish 10 GW wind power project; Shell to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant


RIYADH: On a macro level, Egypt and the UAE agreed to establish a 10GW wind power project. Zooming in, British oil firm Shell has decided to build Europe’s largest hydrogen plant from renewable power. 

Looking at the bigger picture

• Egypt and the UAE have agreed to establish a 10 GW wind farm, Ahram newspaper reported citing Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker. 

Without providing further details, Shaker added that the deal is set to be signed after the Eid Al-Adha holidays. 

• The EU plans to become the top investor in the world’s tallest dam in Tajikistan, Reuters reported citing EU officials.

It is part of the strategy aimed at helping the Central Asia cut its reliance on Russian energy. 

Through a micro lens:

• South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction will implement Saudi Aramco’s estimated $500 million Jafurah cogeneration independent steam and power plant project, according to MEED.

• British oil firm Shell has decided to build Europe’s largest plant producing hydrogen from renewable power, according to Bloomberg. 

The Holland Hydrogen I will include 200 MW of electrolyzers, powered by a wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands, which is 10 times the size of the largest existing green hydrogen facility in Europe.