Projects amounting to $220m on track in the MENA region amid energy transition push: NRG matters

Projects amounting to $220m on track in the MENA region amid energy transition push: NRG matters
Indian government-owned coal mining and refining corporation Coal India is set to launch the biggest coal mine in the country in an attempt to combat the energy crisis. (Stock image)
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Updated 25 May 2022

Projects amounting to $220m on track in the MENA region amid energy transition push: NRG matters

Projects amounting to $220m on track in the MENA region amid energy transition push: NRG matters
  • Energy firms are also being urged to address windfall profits to ease the pain of rallying costs on consumers and further drive the green transition

RIYADH: Projects are being planned in the Middle East and North Africa region to advance the region’s energy transition journey. 

Namibia is considering green bonds for financing projects that are set to produce hydrogen. 

Energy firms are also being urged to address windfall profits to ease the pain of rallying costs on consumers and further drive the green transition. 

Elsewhere, Coal India announced it will launch the biggest mine in the country, while France’s TotalEnergies is on track to supply South Korea’s Hanwha Energy Corporation with liquified natural gas supply.

Looking at the bigger picture: 

·Several projects amounting to $220 billion are being planned across the MENA region in an attempt to further propel the energy transition journey, MEED reported. This comes as almost all countries in the region have pledged to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. 

·Namibia is contemplating green bonds as a financing tool for projects that will use clean energy to produce hydrogen for export purposes. This comes as the South African country is on track to construct several plants to take advantage of the ideal conditions in the country for solar and wind powered energy, Bloomberg reported, citing the government’s green hydrogen commissioner James Mnyupe. The plants under construction are expected to start generating output in four years’ time.

·Energy firms have been told to carry the weight of the energy crisis by addressing the major windfall profits that they are currently making, Bloomberg reported, citing the EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans. This comes as consumers are struggling to keep up with the rallying costs of living and surging energy bills. As it is, the situation is also hindering the path to green transition, the chief stressed. 

Through a micro lens:

·Indian government-owned coal mining and refining corporation Coal India is set to launch the biggest coal mine in the country in an attempt to combat the energy crisis, Reuters reported. Also referred to as the Siarmal mine, the mine — which is estimated to start operating between October and December — is projected to have a capacity of 50 million tons in five to seven years’ time, Reuters reported, citing Vinayak Jamwal, a spokesman from the corporation.

·French multinational integrated oil and gas company TotalEnergies has signed a long-term sale contract with South Korean comprehensive energy solutions firm Hanwha Energy Corporation to supply it with up to 600,000 metric tons of liquified natural gas a year, Reuters reported, citing the firm. For the upcoming 15 years, LNG will be sourced from TotalEnergies before being channeled to the South Korean firm. 

 


Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 

Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 
Updated 19 sec ago

Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 

Saudi National Bank profits surge 46.7% in 2022 

RIYADH: The Saudi National Bank reported a 46.7 percent surge in annual profits in 2022 on the back of a rise in operating income.  

Annual net profits of SNB reached SR18.6 billion ($5 billion) at the end of last year compared to SR12.7 billion in 2021, according to a bourse statement.  

It indicated that the bank saw a 16.9 percent increase in operating profit in 2022 compared to the year before.  

Operating income yielded profit as a result of an 18.4 percent increase in net special commission income, and a 21.1 percent increase in money from banking service fees.  

Additionally, other operating expenses fell by 12.4 percent, and the total operating expenses – including credit losses – fell by 15.2 percent in 2022.  

This was driven by a 13.5 percent drop in other general and administrative expenses, as well as a 57.4 percent drop in the net provision for expected credit losses. 

In 2022, the SNB’s assets reached SR945 billion showing a 3.4 increase, revealed the bourse statement.  

The bank’s earnings per share amounted to SR4.06 last year compared to SR2.99 the year before.  

SNB’s net provision for expected credit losses plummeted by 57.45 percent – from SR3.96 billion in 2021 to SR1.69 billion in 2022.  


Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP

Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP
Updated 18 min 46 sec ago

Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP

Factories in Saudi Arabia to increase by 50% in five years, says deputy minister at LEAP

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia plans to increase the number of factories by 50 percent in the next five years and pump SR1.4 trillion ($370 billion) into the industrial sector, said the deputy minister of industry and mineral resources.

Speaking at the launch of the Sanaei platform at the second edition of the LEAP technical conference in Riyadh, Osama Al-Zamil said the Kingdom ultimately wants to see the current number of such facilities rise from 10,500 at present to 36,000 by 2035. 

He also said the Sanaei platform aims to facilitate the adoption of best practices fomenting the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The level of reliance on skilled personnel will increase the competitiveness and operational efficiency of factories, present investment opportunities in the sector and provide incentives,” said the official added.

He stated that the “Future Factories Package” aims to transform 4,000 factories into operationally and technologically advanced facilities to raise digital maturity, operating efficiency and industrial capabilities, thereby promoting the development of exports, improving the work environment in factories, and providing attractive quality jobs by adopting the technologies of the 4IR.

The program focuses on two tracks. The first ensures new factories are designed and constructed according to high manufacturing and production efficiency standard, while the second transforms existing factories into facilities of operational excellence and advanced technologies.


‘Clean’ energy technologies are not absolutely clean, says top expert at IAEE conference

‘Clean’ energy technologies are not absolutely clean, says top expert at IAEE conference
Updated 12 min 12 sec ago

‘Clean’ energy technologies are not absolutely clean, says top expert at IAEE conference

‘Clean’ energy technologies are not absolutely clean, says top expert at IAEE conference

RIYADH: Clean energy technologies which include solar and wind power are not completely clean as there could be lifecycle emissions associated with these power generation methods, according to Shihab Elborai, partner at consulting business Strategy& Middle East.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the 44th conference of the International Association for Energy Economics, Elborai said that fossil fuels are required to develop solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, transformers and cables for the grid, which may create a spike in carbon emissions if clean energy technologies are being rolled out at an exponential speed all across the globe.

“There are lifecycle emissions associated with clean energy technology. So, clean energy technologies are not really absolutely clean. There are 50 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt produced from solar panels. Around 10 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour are produced from wind turbines,” said Elborai.

He added: “If these (clean energy) technologies are deployed at an exponential rate without an equivalently rapid clean up of the supply chain, then we can end up with a situation where, in the short term, we have a spike of CO2 emissions, even though we are reducing emissions in the long term.”

According to Elborai, a large amount of carbon dioxide released while deploying clean energy technologies at a high pace will remain in the atmosphere, which will negatively impact the sustainable journey.

“Everybody understands the repercussions of acting too slow in the energy transition. There are impacts of also acting too fast,” he noted.

He added that the right rate of deployment is necessary for a smooth energy transition, void of unintended climate consequences.

During the talk, Elborai noted that technology has a huge role to play to reduce the carbon footprint in the supply chain.

Elborai further pointed out that the exact time required for energy transition cannot be determined, as the timeframe is dependent on several factors.

“I think this (time for energy transition) is something that needs to be studied and modeled. It is something that depends on the progress that is being made in developing technologies and in the deployment of carbon capture. It will change with time as these technologies evolve as well. So it’s something that needs to be constantly monitored and adjusted. It’s not a simple answer,” he said.

He also emphasized the role of recycling critical minerals to reduce emissions in the mining sector.

“There is also a role that recycling can play. If we are using materials that have already been mined, and we are closing the cycle at the end of life, then that can have a role to mitigate the impact. But really, the key measure that needs to be taken is to carefully think about the deployment of renewable technologies. Not too fast, not too slow, just right,” he added.

Elborai went on to say that carbon capture technology has a crucial role in accelerating energy transition in a sustainable manner.

“Using carbon capture as a means of removal or closing the cycle on the carbon is one of the very important measures for managing the spike in emissions during the transition,” added Elborai.

According to Elborai, Saudi Arabia has an advantaged position in both renewables and traditional sources of energy, as the world sails toward sustainability.

“The Kingdom is in a very advantaged position, as Saudi Arabia has a strong advantage in producing conventional (energy). It will be the last standing player or supplier of gas and oil. The Kingdom also has a huge advantage when it comes to solar, wind, and renewable resources,” said Elborai.

He added: “So, at every point in that transition, the Kingdom can actually produce the product that meets the requirements of the end users of energy globally. The Kingdom is definitely a winner when it comes to the energy transition.”


Ericsson and Mobily deploy AI-based solutions to enhance network performance in Kingdom 

Ericsson and Mobily deploy AI-based solutions to enhance network performance in Kingdom 
Updated 07 February 2023

Ericsson and Mobily deploy AI-based solutions to enhance network performance in Kingdom 

Ericsson and Mobily deploy AI-based solutions to enhance network performance in Kingdom 

RIYADH: Saudi telecom operator Mobily has deployed a new artificial intelligence-based technology with Swedish firm Ericsson to enhance network performance across the Kingdom.   

The ‘Ericsson AI-based network solution’ is expected to enhance end-user experience by providing 5G network diagnostics and root cause analysis, according to a press release. 

The announcement about the new technology, which will help cater to the needs of the growing number of mobile phone users, was made during the LEAP 23 international technology conference in Riyadh.  

“Ericsson’s artificial intelligence-based solution enables our customers to enjoy superior and uninterrupted 5G connectivity to stay connected with loved ones or to document key moments anytime, anywhere,” said Mobily Chief Technology Officer, Alaa Malki. 

The network diagnostics capabilities within the software suite are expected to provide ‘proactive network optimization’, allowing the operator to identify and resolve network anomalies, along with providing reliable connectivity, the press release noted.  

Ekow Nelson, vice president at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “Our success relied on Ericsson’s artificial intelligence-based network solution built with machine learning models that learn from the live network using the multiple sources of data to deliver near real-time improvements, thus avoiding interruptions during critical and peak times.”  

Both companies also announced the launch of Mobily Pay, a mobile financial service, during the ongoing LEAP 23 international technology conference. The new solution will allow all the users in the Kingdom to conduct personalized financial transactions like contactless payments, money transfers, international remittances, digital card payments, cash-back, bill payments, and mobile top-ups. 


Saudi Arabia sees 54% jump in investment licenses to 4,358 in 2022  

Saudi Arabia sees 54% jump in investment licenses to 4,358 in 2022  
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi Arabia sees 54% jump in investment licenses to 4,358 in 2022  

Saudi Arabia sees 54% jump in investment licenses to 4,358 in 2022  

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia issued 4,358 investment licenses in 2022, up 53.9 percent compared to 2021, as the Kingdom steadily emerges as an investment destination in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.  

According to a monthly report from the Kingdom’s Ministry of Investment, the number of licenses approved in the fourth quarter of 2022, excluding those granted under the “Tasattur” anti-concealment campaign, rose 30.7 percent year-on-year to 1,276. 

“This increase reflects the growing position of Saudi Arabia as an attractive investment destination with competitive advantages including a stable and business-friendly investment environment,” said MISA in the report. 

The ministry further revealed that the government’s total revenues increased to SR283.8 billion ($75.64 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2022, recording 5.4 percent growth over the same period in 2021. 

MISA expects that figure to reach SR1.23 trillion in 2022, up by 27.8 percent on an annual basis. 

The government also managed to reduce its expenditures by 1.8 percent to SR331.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 on an annual basis, the MISA data revealed.  

However, it expects government expenditures to reach about SR1.13 trillion in 2022, up by 9 percent compared to 2021. 

Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, known as Tadawul All Share Index, showed a decrease of 7.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 on an annual basis, while the parallel market Nomu registered a decrease of 25.2 percent during the same period. 

The MISA report attributed the decrease in these indexes to global economic uncertainties and fluctuations in oil prices. 

Saudi Arabia’s inflation rate also rose to 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. 

The MISA report attributed the rise in inflation rate to a number of factors including the increase in prices of housing, water, electricity, gas, and other fuels by 5.6 percent, and food and beverages by 4.0 percent. 

The Kingdom’s Real Estate Price Index increased by 1.6 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2022, primarily driven by the increase in the prices of residential real estate prices by 2.6 percent. 

According to the report, the Real Estate Price Index for the full year 2022 showed an increase of 1.1 percent on an annual basis.