China In-Focus — Philippines terminates joint energy exploration talks with China; CATL to produce next-gen EV battery

China In-Focus — Philippines terminates joint energy exploration talks with China; CATL to produce next-gen EV battery
Philippines terminates joint energy exploration talks with China in the South China Sea. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 23 June 2022

China In-Focus — Philippines terminates joint energy exploration talks with China; CATL to produce next-gen EV battery

China In-Focus — Philippines terminates joint energy exploration talks with China; CATL to produce next-gen EV battery

BEIJING: The Philippines’ outgoing foreign minister said on Thursday that talks over joint energy exploration between his country and China in the South China Sea had been terminated, citing constitutional constraints and issues of sovereignty.

The two countries have sparred for decades over maritime sovereignty and had since 2018 pledged to jointly explore oil and gas assets in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, despite China also laying claim to them.

“We got as far as it is constitutionally possible to go. One step forward from where we stood on the edge of the abyss is a drop into a constitutional crisis,” Teodoro Locsin said in a speech.

“Three years on and we had not achieved our objective of developing oil and gas resources so critical for the Philippines — but not at the price of sovereignty; not even a particle of it.”

It was not clear when the decision was taken. 

CATL to produce next-generation EV battery in 2023

Chinese battery giant CATL will start mass production next year of its latest generation product, with greater efficiency that lets electric cars drive longer distances on each charge, the company said on Thursday.

The world’s biggest battery maker is scrambling to retain its top position against competition from rivals such as BYD, which will soon start supplying batteries to Tesla.

CATL’s new battery, called Qilin, will boost volume utilization rate to 72 percent, the world’s highest, versus 50 percent for its first-generation launched in 2019, the firm said, and increase the battery system’s energy density to 255 Wh/kg.

But the firm did not say if any electric vehicle maker had placed orders for the new battery.

CATL, which supplies batteries to automakers such as Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW and Nio suffered a fall of 24 percent in first-quarter net profit, hit by soaring metal costs.

In May, the company said it expected a better profit margin in the second quarter, after raising prices and passing on costs to automaking clients.

(With inputs from Reuters) 


Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims

Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims
Updated 11 sec ago

Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims

Saudi insurers report improved first-half profits on lower claims

RIYADH: Major Saudi-listed insurers released first-half earnings results on Wednesday, with three reporting improved profits due to lower claims.

Alinma Tokio Marine Co. turned in a profit of SR2.4 million ($639,339) in the first half of 2022, erasing over SR3.2 million in losses from the first half of 2021, according to a bourse filing.

Saudi Enaya Cooperative Insurance Co. managed to narrow its losses by 53 percent to SR14 million, while Amana Cooperative Insurance Co. narrowed its losses by 50 percent to SR31 million.

Meanwhile, Wataniya Insurance saw its losses increase by 44 percent to SR37 million in the first half of 2022, bucking the trend, owing to a decrease in net underwriting income.


Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns

Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns
Updated 24 min 45 sec ago

Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns

Al Jouf Cement names new CEO as Jamal Al Amer resigns

RIYADH: Al Jouf Cement Co., a Saudi-based cement producer, has appointed Abdul Karim Al-Nuhair as its new CEO effective Aug. 21, according to a bourse filing.

Al-Nuhair will replace previous CEO Jamal bin Salem Al-Amer, who resigned on Aug. 16 to continue serving the company as president ex-executive advisor.  

Prior to joining Al Jouf, Al-Nuhair held several leadership positions in joint-stock companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.


ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan
Updated 8 min 50 sec ago

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan

ACWA Power to sign $2.4bn deal for 1,500MW wind project in Uzbekistan

RIYADH: ACWA Power Co. said it will sign today a $2.4 billion deal with the government of Uzbekistan for a 1,500-megawatt wind project, a bourse filing revealed.

“This project would be the biggest single site onshore wind project in the region and the world and will contribute 19 percent to Uzbekistan’s overall renewable energy goals,” the PIF-owned energy giant said in a bourse filing.

To be located in Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan, the facility seeks to power 1.65 million households and offset 2.4 million tons of carbon emissions per year.

Expected to achieve a financial close by the end of 2023, the project is likely to be fully commissioned by the first quarter of 2026.

The agreement duration is 25 years and will be signed with the Uzbekistani Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Investment & Foreign Trade.


Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya

Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya
Updated 33 min 13 sec ago

Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya

Samsung awards NEOM insurance contract to Saudi-listed Wataniya

RIYADH: Wataniya Insurance Co. has won an SR53.6 million ($14 million) deal to provide insurance coverage to NEOM’s tunnel infrastructure, one of the world’s largest transportation and infrastructure projects.

The Saudi-listed firm said in a bourse filing that the Contractors’ All Risk insurance contract was awarded by Samsung C&T Corp. Saudi Arabia.

In a separate filing, the insurer reported that its losses widened by 44 percent to SR37 million in the first half of 2022, as it incurred higher claims of SR199 million.


Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022

Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022
Updated 17 August 2022

Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022

Saudi-Uzbek trade exceeds $95m in the first half of 2022
  • The two countries will bolster ties further with the signing of 12 new deals this week

RIYADH: The mutual trade between Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Uzbekistan reached $95 million in the first half of 2022, a substantial increase considering that bilateral trade barely exceeded $17 million last year.

According to a joint news statement, the value is expected to grow rapidly by the end of 2022. The numbers assume significance in the aftermath of the pandemic.

In fact, the number of Uzbek companies running on Saudi funds increased from about nine to 38 in the last five years. Of the 38, 19 are sole proprietors, and the rest are joint ventures.

The two nations will bolster the ties further by signing 12 new agreements on Wednesday and Thursday when Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visits the Kingdom.

According to an Uzbek state agency, high-level talks will take place in Jeddah, where the two nations will discuss opportunities to enhance multilateral cooperation further.

The discussion will focus on the green economy, technology and digitalization, innovations, small business and entrepreneurship. 

Following the meeting, new agreements are expected to be signed in the energy, telecommunications, agriculture, chemical and petrochemical industries, besides encouraging ties in culture, sports and education.

The Kingdom has become one of the largest foreign investors in energy infrastructure and one of Uzbekistan’s most significant developers of green energy projects.

ACWA Power’s Uzbek interests

Recently, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan and Saudi energy company ACWA Power signed several investment agreements for about $3 billion.

ACWA Power will develop and operate a wind energy project with a production capacity of 1,500 MW in the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan.

When commissioned, the plant will become the largest of its kind in Central Asia and one of the largest wind power plants in the world. 

FASTFACTS

• The number of Uzbek companies running on Saudi funds increased from about nine to 38 in the last five years.

• Recently, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan and Saudi energy company ACWA Power signed several investment agreements for about $3 billion.

• The Saudi Fund for Development has contributed to the implementation of many projects in Uzbekistan, including funding the Samarkand-Gozar Road project, with a total value of $30 million.

ACWA Power also signed an agreement to establish the 100MW Nokus wind farm project, the first renewable energy project to be implemented in partnership with Uzbekistan’s public and private sectors.

The power generating company also won a $108 million wind contract after proposing a tariff of 2.56 cents per kilowatt-hour, the lowest in Uzbekistan.

Additionally, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with ACWA Power to establish a combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Shirin, located in Syrdarya, Uzbekistan. The deal amounts to $1.2 billion.

According to the statement, these projects will contribute to achieving Uzbekistan’s national goal of raising the total renewable energy generation capacity to 30 percent by 2030.

Saudi Fund for Development

Moreover, the Saudi Fund for Development has contributed to the implementation of many projects in Uzbekistan, including funding the Samarkand-Gozar Road project, with a total value of $30 million.

The fund also contributed to 20 projects in the republic, including building pumping stations and other projects involving sewage, chemicals, mining, building materials, water and agriculture.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, the Saudi and Uzbek delegations have discussed issues of cooperation in agriculture, including the prospects for enhancing mutual trade in agricultural products.

Both parties will likely sign memorandums of cooperation in agriculture, veterinary medicine and livestock development at the meeting.

They also agreed to deepen cooperation in the agricultural sector to enhance trade in farming, livestock and other products between the countries.

After signing the memoranda, action plans will be prepared, including specific measures and areas for developing cooperation and joint projects.

The Saudi side invited the Uzbekistan delegation to attend its most prominent exhibition of the agro-industrial complex, which will be held at the end of October in Riyadh.