NEOM’s energy plant first to produce green hydrogen in commercial quantities, says expert

NEOM’s energy plant first to produce green hydrogen in commercial quantities, says expert
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Updated 27 June 2022

NEOM’s energy plant first to produce green hydrogen in commercial quantities, says expert

NEOM’s energy plant first to produce green hydrogen in commercial quantities, says expert

RIYADH: The hydrogen plant in NEOM, Saudi Arabia's $500-billion futuristic city, will be the first of its kind to produce green hydrogen at a level that can be sold, according to Alicia Eastman, co-founder and managing director at Intercontinental Energy. 

“I think NEOM is going to be the first plant to produce green hydrogen in commercial quantities,” said Eastman while speaking at a virtual conference during the MENA Energy Week.

Eastman added that Intercontinental Energy is working together with countries in the Middle East to assist them in providing green hydrogen, and to deliver green ammonia. 

“Our focus is on large projects. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Aramco to make both blue and green hydrogen. I look forward to seeing Aramco materializing their plans in hydrogen,” she further added. 

Eastment also made it clear that digital solutions and the adoption of technology are very much needed to go sustainable in the future. 


KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia

KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia
Updated 15 sec ago

KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia

KEIR to bring US-based Quadratics’ eco-friendly building system to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Telecom services provider KEIR International has partnered with US-based Quadratics Development to bring its eco-friendly construction and building technology to the Saudi market.

Quadratics’ efficient and sustainable building system, using light gauge steel and lightweight concrete, aligns with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, KEIR said in a filing to the Saudi Exchange.

“It is a system widely accepted by real estate developers and government entities in Saudi Arabia after having been developed to provide cost-effective and high-specifications building and construction solutions,” it added.

With this partnership, Riyadh-based KEIR aims to strengthen its presence in the telecom, power, and renewable industries as a leading infrastructure company.


Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September

Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September
Updated 27 min 53 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September

Oil Updates — Crude extends losses; Petroecuador seeks investor boost; Oil output in Permian to reach record high in September

RIYADH: Oil prices fell on Tuesday as bleak economic data from top crude buyer China renewed fears of a global recession.

Brent crude futures fell 73 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $94.37 a barrel by 0313 GMT.

WTI crude futures dipped 44 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $88.97 a barrel.

Oil futures fell about 3 percent during the previous session.

Petroecuador seeks investor boost in 23 oil fields

Ecuador’s state oil company, Petroecuador, announced on Monday two separate bidding processes to seek partners to invest in one of its largest oil blocks and almost two dozen other, smaller, fields in a quest to boost the Andean nation’s production.

Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso has said that he hopes to double Ecuador’s crude production, which currently stands at 495,000 barrels per day, with strong private investment in the strategic sector.

The first tender will be for the Sacha field, considered one of Ecuador’s most productive, pulling in 70,000 bpd. The private partner must provide financing to increase reserves and improve extraction levels in the area, Petroecuador said in a statement.

The state-run company said it will continue to operate the Sacha block jointly with the selected partner through a contract for specific integrated services, with financing from the other party.

Petroecuador did not disclose the amount of investment required or the goals for increasing production in the block.

With the second bidding process, Petroecuador is seeking financing from a contractor to increase the output of 22 oil fields located throughout the country’s Amazon region. The fields are operational but require further investment to reach their potential.

Oil output in Permian to rise to a record high in September: EIA

Oil output in the Permian in Texas and New Mexico, the biggest US shale oil basin, is due to rise 79,000 bpd to a record 5.408 million bpd in September, the US Energy Information Administration, also known as EIA, said in its productivity report on Monday.

Total output in the major US shale oil basins will rise 141,000 bpd to 9.049 million bpd in September, the highest since March 2020, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy projected.

In the Bakken in North Dakota and Montana, the EIA forecast oil output will rise 21,000 bpd to 1.157 million bpd in September, the most since November 2021.

In the Eagle Ford in South Texas, the output will rise 26,000 bpd to 1.230 million bpd in September, its highest since April 2020.

(With input from Reuters)


Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates

Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates
Updated 41 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates

Saudi Dallah Health’s profit climbs 52% on higher hospital occupancy rates

RIYADH: Dallah Healthcare has posted profit growth of 52 percent for the first half of 2022, mainly supported by an increase in patient occupancy rates.

Its net profit surged to SR152 million ($40 million) and sales hit SR1.2 billion, up 21 percent from the same period a year ago, the company said in a filing to Tadawul.

The growth in revenues came on the back of continued growth in operations and higher hospital admissions during the six-month period.

The healthcare group also cited an improvement in operational efficiency when compared to last year, in addition to a lower share in the losses of associates by SR1.6 million.


Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand

Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand
Updated 55 min 25 sec ago

Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand

Saudi Qassim Cement posts 73% profit decline in H1 on lower demand

RIYADH: Qassim Cement Co.. has reported a 73 percent drop in profit during the first half of 2022, hit by lower cement demand.

The cement producer’s profit came down to SR54 million ($14 million), compared to SR201 million in the prior-year period, its bourse filing showed.

The company’s performance felt the impact of lower sales value and volume, higher costs of goods sold, as well as lower returns on financial investments.

The firm revenue also declined by 30 percent during the first half to stand at SR295 million.


Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence

Saudi banks shut down 42 branches in 12 months, increase digital presence
  • More banks are switching to increased virtual interactions and digitalization, and new banks are opening entirely on that premise

CAIRO: Saudi banks shut down 42 branches over the year ending in June, revealed the Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA.

The number of bank branches in Saudi Arabia also inched lower to 1,927 in the second quarter this year from 1,932 in the same quarter last year.

So, what are the reasons behind this decreased number of bank branches, and when did this trend begin?

The most common assumption would be the COVID-19 pandemic and its prolonged effect on the entire economy, including the financial and banking sectors.

Between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2021, which includes the peak of the pandemic, 68 branches were closed. 

Also, bank branches continued to decrease quarterly long after lifting COVID-19 restrictions, albeit there was no clear trend.

Between May 2020 and June this year, 137 bank branches in the Kingdom shut shop.

It is worth mentioning that branches that have closed are not second-tier or underperforming banks but some of the largest and well-performing ones. For instance, Al Rajhi Bank, which had 543 branches in the fourth quarter of 2020, reduced it to 515 by June this year.

While COVID-19 sparked the digital revolution, advanced and innovative technologies did the job.

The past three years of the pandemic slowly began the transformation toward digital banking, which can be seen closely in the Saudi banking sector.

More banks are switching to increased virtual interactions and digitalization, and new banks are opening entirely on that premise.

Last February, SAMA licensed and welcomed the Kingdom’s third digital bank D360 Bank, following the launch of STC and Saudi Digital Bank in June last year.

Similarly, according to SAMA, 19 Saudi fintech companies have been authorized to provide payment services, consumer microfinance and electronic insurance brokerage over the past few months.

So, what does the future of digital banking in the Kingdom hold and will the population accept this digital revolution?

In a survey conducted by Ipsos in the Kingdom in October 2021, the research major pointed out that 61 percent still trust traditional banks, while 47 percent counted on mobile service providers and 40 percent depended on popular digital brands to carry out financial transactions.

The report added: “63 percent said that they will be making all their financial transactions through digital banking in the future, and 58 percent believe that people would no longer use cash as a payment method.”