Electromin eyes more charging stations Kingdomwide as CEO wants to end Saudis’ reluctance to EVs

Exclusive Electromin eyes more charging stations Kingdomwide as CEO wants to end Saudis’ reluctance to EVs
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Updated 07 June 2022

Electromin eyes more charging stations Kingdomwide as CEO wants to end Saudis’ reluctance to EVs

Electromin eyes more charging stations Kingdomwide as CEO wants to end Saudis’ reluctance to EVs
  • While it is a bold move, it is very timely, says Petromin’s group CEO Kalyana Sivagnanam
  • Range anxiety is one of the big obstacles to the adoption of EVs ... So we’re also launching a mobile charger. So if you’re stuck on the road, give us a call

RIYADH: Petromin’s new venture Electromin aims to kick-start confidence in customers’ minds to buy electric vehicles, even as the company recently opened 100 EV charging stations in Saudi Arabia, according to its group CEO.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Kalyana Sivagnanam, group CEO of Petromin, called it a bold move since customers in the Kingdom are still reluctant to buy EVs.

“While it is a bold move, I think it is very timely. We also have plans to expand this further beyond 100 stations and, in due course, we will make that announcement as well,” Sivagnanam told Arab News.




Petromin Group CEO (AN: Mohammed Albiejan)

Mobile charging solution

During the interview, Sivagnanam revealed that the most critical concern of people who wish to buy EVs is charging their vehicles if they run out of storage and get stuck on the road.

Addressing this concern, the company is providing a mobile charging service for EV users if they get stuck on the road.

SPEEDREAD

• Kalyana Sivagnanam predicted that the Kingdom would eventually need more charging stations as people will soon embrace EVs.

• By installing 100 EV charging stations, the company aims to possess a national network of electric vehicle chargers.

• The company also plans to introduce direct current fast chargers as the market grows and more customers start buying EVs in the Kingdom.

“Range anxiety is one of the big obstacles to the adoption of EVs. What if I run out of charge and get stuck on the road? So we’re also launching a mobile charger. So if you’re stuck on the road, give us a call. We will bring a mobile charger to assist you on the spot,” added Sivagnanam.

Strategic locations for charging

Sivagnanam predicted that the Kingdom would eventually need more charging stations as people will soon embrace EVs.

By installing 100 EV charging stations, the company aims to possess a national network of electric vehicle chargers.




Kalyana Sivagnanam, group CEO of Petromin talking to Arab News

“These 100 locations have been strategically mapped out. So, of course, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam would have a majority of these. But we are also ensuring that there’s national coverage,” he further added.

The road ahead

Sivagnanam further noted that the company considers Electromin charging stations a long-term investment in the Kingdom, as he strongly believes in the future of EVs.

“We see this as a strategic investment, something that is very long term and important to us as a company. We’ve always been leaders. We’ve always been pioneers. So it is only natural that we go from Petromin to Electromin,” he said.

Advent of DC chargers

The company also plans to introduce direct current fast chargers as the market grows and more customers start buying EVs in the Kingdom.

“We have started with AC chargers. As the market evolves and if there is a demand for DC fast chargers, Electromin will install them. As the demand grows and we see newer vehicles come into the market, we will upgrade our chargers,” added Sivagnanam.

Vision 2030 influence

Sivagnanam also made it clear that the adoption of electric vehicles in the country will be driven by government policy. He stated that the adoption of EVs in the Kingdom would be much higher than in other countries in the coming years.

“Vision 2030 talks about sustainability. Riyadh has said that they will go for a 30 percent sale of electric vehicles by 2030. We are guided by these numbers. We think there is a strong push for a sustainable ecosystem,” he further added.

Lubricant market will continue to grow

The company also expects the lubricant industry to grow during this EV transformation period.

“Petromin is a lubricant company. We are now evolving into a future industry. We also expect the lubricant market to continue to grow. The lubricant market is not just about automotive; lubricants are also industrial and commercial,” he said.

Sivagnanam added that Petromin wants to strengthen its existing portfolio, and the company is also making sure that it is well-positioned for the future.

Talking about sustainability, he said, “Petromin will continue reducing carbon footprint. On the other hand, Electromin, as a company focused purely on EVs, will continue toward a zero-emission sustainable world.”

Toward newer horizons

Sivagnanam also added that Petromin is planning to expand into different segments and geographies. Calling India a big market, he revealed that the company is looking at opportunities in the region besides assessing prospects in Africa and other Arab markets.

“As a Saudi company, we also have a big presence outside Saudi Arabia. Petromin exports lubricants to over 40 countries. We have big ambitions to grow into many other markets. So the core business will continue to expand. We have new markets, we have growth markets, and we have new segments. Lubricants are being used in a variety of industries, and that business will continue to grow,” added Sivagnanam.

 


MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant

MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant
Updated 13 sec ago

MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant

MENA Project Tracker — Bids on Saudi radiological services project; Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC; JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant

CAIRO: Saudi-based Quantum Switch Tamasuk— a specialist in designing and building data centers —has collaborated with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on the $2 billion data center project.

The first phase has already begun in King Salman Energy Park in Dammam, and it comprises building 60MW of data center capacity out of the 300MW capacity by year-end, reported Tamasuk.

According to the four-year plan, Riyadh, Jeddah, and NEOM will also benefit from their own data centers by 2026.

“QST’s data centers will be designed and built to meet the demands of hyper-scale cloud service providers, international gaming and media platforms, and global content delivery networks, with a view to attracting them to locate their main regional hubs in the Kingdom,” stated QST.

Bids on Saudi radiological services project

Pre-qualified companies in the health sector will place bids on the Saudi Ministry of Health's radiological services project—the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia.

Eight companies are to reveal their bids on the project on Aug. 18.

The scope of work includes supplying and operating radiological services and medical nuclear images services to top-notch hospitals in the region, reported MEED.

This is part of the $2 billion healthcare projects in the Gulf Cooperation Council being achieved through a public-private partnership model.

Spetco lands $172m contract with KOC

Kuwait-based Spetco International Petroleum Co. has signed a 53 million Kuwaiti dinar ($172 million) contract with state-owned Kuwait Oil Co. to provide and operate sucker rod pumps at oil fields.

This is the third contract out of $389 million worth of contracts, where the other two were tendered to Contracting & Marine Services and Fawares Petroleum Services Co, disclosed MEED.

The bids were conducted through a mumarasa tendering system, which is a reverse auction where each company puts forth its lowest price until the lowest bidder wins.

Tadweer partners with KEO for Al-Dhafra feasibility study

Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre, known as Tadweer, has partnered with KEO International Consultants on a feasibility study to extract greenhouse gases from the Al-Dhafra landfill.

The project will convert the toxic gasses into sustainable energy, according to MEED.

This study will include detecting the local market’s needs, and how to benefit from the exerted greenhouse gases using the most efficient and environmentally friendly methods. 

JPMC begins work on $85m phosphate plant in Jordan

Jordan Phosphate Mines Co., in collaboration with Ideal Development Co. for Manufacturing Industries, has started work on the planned $85 million phosphate washing factory in Shidiya, Maan governorate of Jordan.

It is to be completed in 15 months, whereafter the project will use washing and floating methods to convert low-quality phosphate into high-quality phosphate, reported MEED.

Not only will the project generate profits of 100 million Jordanian dinars ($140.9 million), but it will also create over 2,000 jobs in the transport and logistics sector, according to Mohammed Thneibat, JPMC chairman.

Qatar to receive first Typhoon fighter Jet

Qatar will receive its first Typhoon fighter jet from UK-based BAE Systems by the end of this month, reported MEED.

This is part of a £5 billion ($6.5 billion) deal in 2018, which entails BAE Systems providing Qatar with 24 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

“The first Typhoon has been delivered on schedule and will ferry from the UK to Qatar later this month,” BAE Systems said.

“Typhoon will provide critical support for the Fifa World Cup, which will be held in the state from 20 November,” the British multinational aerospace company added.


Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report

Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report
Updated 15 min ago

Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report

Dubai office market records strong rental growth in 7 years: Report

DUBAI: Dubai’s office market has seen rental growth for the first time since 2016’s first quarter, according to CBRE’s UAE Real Estate Market Review Q2 2022 report.

Looking at the office sector figures in the second quarter, Dubai-based commercial Ejari contracts increased by 28.1 percent year-on-year, according to the report. 

Average Prime and Grade A rents in Abu Dhabi fell by 6.9 percent and 1.1 percent, whereas the Grade B segment of the market saw average rents increase by 4.5 percent.

The UAE’s real estate sector continued to record strong activity and performance in the first half of the year, it said. 

Prime, Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C rents increased by 7 percent, 7.2 percent, 3.9 percent, and 3 percent, respectively, in the second quarter. 

According to CBRE, the market will continue to outperform Prime and Grade A assets due to the limited availability of quality stock.

Residential sector 

There was an increase of 2.2 percent in property prices in Abu Dhabi in the 12 months to June 2022, with an increase of 2.1 percent for apartments and 2.2 percent for villas. 

In the year to June 2022, apartment rents in the capital increased by 0.6 percent, while villa rents declined by 2.3 percent. A total of 33.2 percent of sales transactions took place in this period, primarily on Reem Island, Yas Island, and Saadiyat Island. 

Dubai’s average property price increased by 10.1 percent in the year to June 2022.

There was an 8.7 percent increase in average apartment prices and a 19.3 percent increase in average villa prices during this period. In the year to June 2022, average apartment and villa rents increased by 21.2 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively, the highest growth rate since July 2014. 

Over this period, 39,269 transactions have been recorded, the highest total since 2009. Over the year to June 2022, total transaction volumes were up 54.5 percent, with off-plan and ready transactions up 72.3 percent and 43.3 percent, respectively.

Hospitality sector 

CBRE reported that the UAE’s key performance indicators continued to show significant improvement in 2022.

 As of June 2022, the average occupancy rate had increased by 10.3 percentage points year-over-year.

Revenue per available room across the UAE now stands 16.9 percent above 2019 levels on a year-to-date basis through June 2022.

The growth has primarily been driven by Fujairah, Dubai, and Sharjah, where RevPAR has grown by 26.7 percent, 20.6 percent, and 10.5 percent, respectively. 

The report said it predicted a steeper decline in performance than usual during the summer. Despite this, the project has not materialized as expected. 

According to the report, local and regional events are likely to boost performance for the remainder of the year.

Retail sector 

The number of retail visits in Abu Dhabi and Dubai exceeded their respective pre-pandemic baselines by 13 and 12.3 percent, respectively. 

A total of 6,540 new retail Ejari contracts were registered in Dubai in the second quarter of 2022, up 1.8 percent from the same period last year, and 10,193 contracts were renewed, up 16.1 percent.

Retail operators in Abu Dhabi are still hesitant to acquire new space due to COVID-19 regulations, and existing occupiers are content to maintain their existing footprints and lock in rents. 

The average retail rent in Abu Dhabi remained flat in the year to Q2 2022, while it increased by 22.0 percent in Dubai.


Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya

Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya
Updated 47 min 36 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya

Saudi Arabia to maintain gasoline price ceiling in medium-term, official tells Al-Arabiya

RIYADH: The Saudi government will continue to implement a ceiling on gasoline prices in the medium-term, the Kingdom’s deputy minister for macro-fiscal policy at the Ministry of Finance told Al-Arabiya. 

Thamer Al-Jared said the Kingdom’s objection to the International Monetary Fund’s proposal to raise the ceiling of gasoline prices comes in line with the government’s policy. 

He said with the current policy the government seeks to keep inflation under control. 

Global inflation exceeded 8 percent in many countries, while it is still at 2.3 percent in Saudi Arabia, which reflects the success of the Kingdom’s policies in this regard.


Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report

Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report
Updated 51 min ago

Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report

Arab economies expected to grow at a rate of 5.4% in 2022: AMF report

RIYADH: Arab countries’ economies are likely to grow at an average annual rate of 5.4 percent in 2022 mainly driven by rising oil prices, a hike in crude production by oil exporters and the ongoing reforms to diversify economies, according to a report issued by the Arab Monetary Fund. 

The report titled “Arab Economic Outlook” noted that Arab countries could face relatively high inflation rates in 2022 due to local and global inflationary pressures. According to the report, Arab countries’ inflation rate is expected to reach 7.6 percent in 2022 and 7.1 percent in 2023.

It, however, predicted that the economic growth of Arab countries will slow to about 4 percent in 2023 due to a decline in the global economic growth, high commodity prices, and gradual exit from expansionary fiscal and monetary policies.

According to the report, Gulf Cooperation Council economies will grow 6.3 percent in 2022 compared to 3.1 percent in 2021, driven by recovery from pandemic, economic reforms and continued adoption of stimulus packages, while 2023 will see a decline to 3.7 percent in economic growth.

The economy of other oil-rich Arab countries will achieve 4.1 percent growth rate in 2022, compared to a 2.7 percent growth rate in 2021. The growth in these countries will slow down to 4.6 percent in 2023.


Saudi banks' import financing to private sector exceeds pre-pandemic levels to $10.6bn in Q2

Saudi banks' import financing to private sector exceeds pre-pandemic levels to $10.6bn in Q2
Updated 54 min 57 sec ago

Saudi banks' import financing to private sector exceeds pre-pandemic levels to $10.6bn in Q2

Saudi banks' import financing to private sector exceeds pre-pandemic levels to $10.6bn in Q2

CAIRO: Saudi Arabia’s private sector import financing surpassed pre-pandemic levels totaling SR39.6 billion ($10.6 billion) in the second quarter of 2022 year-on-year, according to data released by the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.

Private sector imports financed through settled letters of credit and bills received increased by SR5 billion in the second quarter of 2022 year-on-year, surpassing the pre-pandemic aggregate of SR34.8 billion.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, import financing dropped to SR30 billion in the second quarter of 2020, the data showed.

It then recovered to SR34.6 billion in the second quarter of 2021 as the global economy started to rebound. In 2022, import financing hit its highest level since the third quarter of 2016.

Financing to import building materials, machinery, and textiles and clothing saw an increase of SR815 million, SR551 million, and SR38 million respectively in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period a year ago.

HIGHLIGHTS

Private sector imports financed through settled letters of credit and bills received increased by SR5 billion in the second quarter of 2022 year-on-year.

Financing to import building materials, machinery, and textiles and clothing saw an increase of SR815 million, SR551 million, and SR38 million respectively.

The main driver of positive change in the value of the private sector’s imports financed through settled LCs and bills received was the 'other goods.'

Food grains, and fruits and vegetables both increased by SR451 million and SR65 million year on year in the second quarter respectively.

The three sectors accounted for 10 percent, 3.7 percent and 0.5 percent respectively of the total import financing.

The main driver of positive change in the value of the private sector’s imports financed through settled LCs and bills received was the “other goods.” This category totaled half of the total financing and increased by SR4.3 billion year on year this quarter.

Nevertheless, LC and bill financings for the Saudi importers of foodstuffs declined by SR214 million in the second quarter compared to the same period of 2021, showed the data.

Foodstuff, which made up 12.7 percent of the total financing for the private sector’s imports, had categories that both grew and shrunk in the past year.

Food grains, and fruits and vegetables both increased by SR451 million and SR65 million year on year in the second quarter respectively.

Sugar, tea and coffee, livestock and meat and other foods all saw a yearly decline in imports financed through settled LCs and bills by Saudi commercial banks. Sugar, tea and coffee made up 0.4 percent of the total financing, and fell by SR147 million in this quarter compared to the same quarter in 2021.

Livestock and meat made up 0.82 percent of the total, and witnessed a year-on-year decline  by SR212 million in the second quarter of 2022. Whereas other foodstuffs made up 6.5 percent of the total, and dropped by SR371 million in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021, showed the data.

Apart from the fall in value of agricultural imports financed through LCs and bills, the financing for motor vehicle imports also fell by SR265 million, and appliances also fell by SR144 million year on year in the second quarter. 

Looking at suppliers’ geography, the Gulf Cooperation Council contributed 40 percent of imports financed through LCs settled at Saudi banks (excluding bills), totaling SR10.1 billion in the second quarter of 2022.

A report published by the International Trade Administration stated: “Saudi Arabia has signed various trade agreements (especially with the GCC) that allow member countries total exemption from customs duties.”

Asian countries other than China, Japan and South Korea came in second with 22.9 percent of settled LCs which recorded SR5.7 billion in the second quarter.

Western Europe, China and South Korea followed with 10.2 percent, 8.4 percent, and 7.1 percent.