Saudi Arabia, US ink 18 agreements, including on space, investment, energy

Saudi Arabia, US ink 18 agreements, including on space, investment, energy
The two nations signed 18 agreements on Friday. (SPA)
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Updated 16 July 2022

Saudi Arabia, US ink 18 agreements, including on space, investment, energy

Saudi Arabia, US ink 18 agreements, including on space, investment, energy
  • The ministries of health signed a memorandum of cooperation on public health, medical sciences and research

JEDDAH: The Saudi ministers of energy, investment, communications and health have concluded 18 agreements with their US counterparts.

The agreements unlock new avenues for joint cooperation in investment, energy, information and communications technology, space and health.

They align with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan, which seeks investment opportunities in promising sectors.

Thirteen of the agreements, signed during US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Kingdom, were made with the Ministry of Investment, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, and numerous private sector companies.

They include a group of leading American companies such as Boeing Aerospace, Raytheon Defense Industries, Medtronic and Digital Diagnostics, IKVIA in the healthcare sector, and many other US companies in the energy, tourism, education, manufacturing and textiles sectors.

The Saudi Space Authority signed the Artemis Accords with NASA, allowing for joint exploration of the Moon and Mars.

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology signed a memorandum of cooperation with IBM to upskill 100,000 young women and men over five years within eight initiatives that can position the Kingdom as a hub for technology and innovation in the Middle East and North Africa.

The ministry also signed a memorandum of cooperation with the US National Communications and Information Administration, which includes cooperation between the two countries on 5G and 6G technologies.

The agreement targets accelerating the growth of the digital economy and enhancing the pace of research, development and innovation in the Kingdom’s digital ecosystem.

The Saudi and US energy ministries signed a partnership agreement on clean energy that includes defining areas and projects of cooperation in this sector, alongside cooperation on civil nuclear energy and uranium, while reinforcing the efforts of the two countries in promoting clean energy and climate action.

The ministries of health signed a memorandum of cooperation on public health, medical sciences and research.

The memorandum aims to support and bolster existing relations in public health among individuals, organizations and institutions.

It seeks to consolidate joint efforts in addressing public health issues and medical, scientific and research challenges, as well as the exchange of information, expertise and academics.

The memorandum also seeks to organize joint training for workers in the health and medical fields, while addressing the proper application of health information systems, research and development and health innovation.

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AlBabtain Food launches IPO at $18-21 per share today

AlBabtain Food launches IPO at $18-21 per share today
Updated 16 sec ago

AlBabtain Food launches IPO at $18-21 per share today

AlBabtain Food launches IPO at $18-21 per share today

RIYADH: Abdulaziz & Mansour Ibrahim AlBabtain Co.’s initial public offering price range has been set at SR68-77 ($18-21) per share.

The Riyadh-based firm will conduct a three-day offering period beginning Sunday, Sept. 25, and concluding on Wednesday, Sept. 28, Yaqeen Capital, its financial advisor and lead manager, said in a bourse filing.

The company, known as AlBabtain Food, is offering 544,000 ordinary shares, 16 percent of its capital, for subscription as it seeks to join the Kingdom’s parallel Nomu market.

AlBabtain Food has 11 branches spread across the Kingdom, allowing the company to provide its customers with a high level of services in the region.

 


Arabian Pipes wins $41m contract from Saudi Aramco to supply steel pipes

Arabian Pipes wins $41m contract from Saudi Aramco to supply steel pipes
Updated 22 min 4 sec ago

Arabian Pipes wins $41m contract from Saudi Aramco to supply steel pipes

Arabian Pipes wins $41m contract from Saudi Aramco to supply steel pipes

RIYADH: Arabian Pipes Co. has won an order worth SR55 million ($41 million) from Saudi Aramco to supply oil and gas steel pipes.

The company said the financial impact of the 15-month contract is anticipated during the second quarter and the third quarter of 2023, according to a bourse filing.

This marks the fourth contract that the pipe producer has signed with oil giant Aramco this year.

Arabian Pipes Co. was awarded a contract worth SR268 million from Aramco on Jan. 25. This was followed by another deal of SR100 million that it signed on May 22 with the oil giant to supply steel pipes for over 10 months.

It also announced that it won, on June 30, a contract worth SR58 million from Saudi Aramco to supply steel pipes.

The company currently has projects worth over SR800 million, which will enhance the company’s financial position and increase its sales in the upcoming period, it said.


Oil Updates — Crude down; Exxon halts activity at Texas oilfield; Argentina’s oil workers end strike

Oil Updates — Crude down; Exxon halts activity at Texas oilfield; Argentina’s oil workers end strike
Updated 52 min 41 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude down; Exxon halts activity at Texas oilfield; Argentina’s oil workers end strike

Oil Updates — Crude down; Exxon halts activity at Texas oilfield; Argentina’s oil workers end strike

RIYADH: Oil prices plunged about 5 percent to an eight-month low on Friday as the US dollar hit its strongest level in more than two decades and on fears rising interest rates will tip major economies into recession, cutting demand for oil.

Brent futures fell $4.31, or 4.8 percent, to settle at $86.15 a barrel, down about 6 percent for the week. US West Texas Intermediate crude fell $4.75, or 5.7 percent, to settle at $78.74, down about 7 percent for the week.

It was the fourth straight week of declines for both benchmarks, the first time this has happened since December. Both were in technically oversold territory, with WTI on track for its lowest settlement since Jan. 10 and Brent for its lowest since Jan. 14.

Exxon halts activity at Texas oilfield site following worker fatality

Exxon Mobil temporarily halted maintenance at an East Texas oil drilling facility after a fatality this week, which was at least the second death this year of a contractor at one of its Texas production sites.

The incident occurred on Tuesday near Hawkins, about 110 miles east of Dallas. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating, the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office said.

The name of the worker, an employee of Axis Energy Services, was not immediately available. The death was ruled accidental, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.

Argentina’s oil workers end strike after inking safety deal

Unions representing thousands of striking Argentine oil workers called off a strike on Friday afternoon that they began the day before after a meeting with business leaders ended in a deal on greater safety measures and training for employees.

The workers launched the strike on Thursday after a fire in a storage tank caused an explosion at the New American Oil refinery in the town of Plaza Huincul in western Neuquen province.

The blast left three dead and one injured.

Union leaders, representatives of oil companies, and local government officials signed a deal designed to improve “training programs and prepare active personnel and future workers on issues of on-the-job safety.”

The deal also requires spending to ensure compliance with regulations, according to a copy of the deal released by one of the unions.

Swiss to release petrol, diesel, heating oil stocks from Oct. 3

The Swiss government will release petrol, diesel, heating oil and kerosene from its strategic reserves from Oct. 3 to ensure the supply of oil products to the domestic economy, it said on Friday.

It cited limited freight capacities on the Rhine river and logistical problems with foreign rail transport for a lack of conventional supply.

The government has already effectively released fuel reserves twice this year by allowing companies required to contribute to them to underfill by almost 20 percent.

Strategic reserves, or compulsory stocks, for petrol, diesel, and heating oil cover around four and half months of normal consumption. In the case of kerosene, reserves suffice for around three months, the government said in a statement.

The ordinance releasing stocks will remain in force “for as long as the situation absolutely requires,” it said.

Compulsory stocks of petroleum products were last released in 2005, 2010 and 2019.

(With input from Reuters) 

 


Iraq, Qatar discuss joint cooperation in civil aviation

Iraq, Qatar discuss joint cooperation in civil aviation
Updated 55 min 31 sec ago

Iraq, Qatar discuss joint cooperation in civil aviation

Iraq, Qatar discuss joint cooperation in civil aviation

The head of Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority, Nael Saad Abdul Hadi discussed on Saturday, with the Minister of Transport and Qatar Aviation Authority the prospects for joint cooperation in civil aviation. 
A statement by the Civil Aviation Authority said the cooperation would “provide mutual support in all fields, especially technical, air transport, air safety and aviation security, as well as scholarships and training for the Civil Aviation Authority.”
The discussion took place on the sidelines of the General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organization lCAO held in Montreal.


Saudi Arabia focuses on AI-driven economy, considers data the new oil: SDAIA

Saudi Arabia focuses on AI-driven economy, considers data the new oil: SDAIA
Updated 25 September 2022

Saudi Arabia focuses on AI-driven economy, considers data the new oil: SDAIA

Saudi Arabia focuses on AI-driven economy, considers data the new oil: SDAIA
  • The technology will contribute billions to the Saudi national gross domestic product, says SDAIA's Mishari Al-Mishari

RIYADH: The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority is aiming to create a leading data and AI-driven economy and make Saudi Arabia one of the top countries in the technology, the agency’s deputy director said. 

Mishari Al-Mishari, the deputy director of SDAIA, told Arab News on the sidelines of the Global AI Summit in Riyadh that SDAIA was created to be the custodian of the national agenda on data and AI.

“SDAIA was created to have an entity that will be the custodian of the national agenda of data and artificial intelligence to create a leading data and AI-driven economy,” he said. 

The conference, which SDAIA organized, hosted up to 30,000 hybrids and in-person attendees and had representatives from more than 90 countries, he said. 

“In this summit, we didn’t restrict it to the dialogues and the discussion; we emphasized the experience as well,” he added. 

SPEEDREAD

The conference, which SDAIA organized, hosted up to 30,000 hybrids and in-person attendees and had representatives from more than 90 countries, Mishari Al-Mishari, deputy director of SDAIA, said.

Over 40 use cases designed by leading companies and institutes in AI were presented at the conference, allowing attendees to interact with, live, and experience AI and understand how it could improve their lives, Al-Mishari said. 

During the event, SDAIA President Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi announced that the Kingdom is joining the World Bank’s Digital Development Partnership.

“We share a common vision with the DDP. The partnership will bring together the public and the private sector and accelerate safe and inclusive digital transformation in developing countries,” said Al-Ghamdi. 

He added: “I am confident we will make a real difference. I am looking forward to a fruitful collaboration.” 

Al-Mishari said the initiative would help underdeveloped economies adopt AI for the benefit of their citizens.

The technology, according to Al-Mishari, will contribute billions to the national gross domestic product. In addition, it could boost the economy with jobs, investments and opportunities for the Kingdom. 

“Data is the new oil, and that’s our perception and belief of how much we could make out of data,” Al-Mishari said. 

Public sector cloud

“SDAIA operates one of the biggest governmental clouds in the region, hosting approximately 140 governmental entities and providing 35 different cloud services,” Nawaf Al-Sahan, head of cloud computing at the National Information Center, told Arab News. 

NIC has also been harnessing its governmental cloud DEEM, founded in late 2018, as a proof of concept and has grown rapidly since then. 

At this point, NIC’s mandate is only to serve public sector undertakings, so he added that the DEEM exclusively serves public projects. 

Their internal team, entirely made up of Saudi female and male engineers, developed the cloud. 

“I am glad our team is all Saudis, young engineers, males and females. So that cloud is fully built by our Saudi talent,” Al-Sahan said. 

When it comes to cloud security, NIC implements strict measures. Two teams are responsible for securing the cloud, a larger team entrusted with governance, risk, and compliance does the monitoring for them, and an internal team performs penetration testing and their daily security operations, he said. 

Al-Sahan said that NIC is currently finished with its three-year strategy for 2025. 

As part of that strategy or roadmap, external vendors and partners participate in the government cloud, he said.

“So, we’ll open up a little bit for trusted partners to be part of the government cloud and provide unique services to the government entities,” he concluded. 

A 1-million-riyal idea 

SDAIA, in partnership with the Ministry of Rural Affairs and Housing and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, announced “Smartathon — The Smart Cities Challenge” with prizes totaling SR1,000,000, according to Sattam Alsubaiee, assistant director for insights at NIC. 

The competition is open for anyone globally, he said. SDAIA wants participants to develop AI models that detect visual pollution automatically. 

“We give them the data, and everyone is invited to participate, take that data and build AI models that can detect the visual pollution,” Alsubaiee told Arab News. 

Because humans have limited resources, SDAIA and its partners do not want to deploy a vast workforce to detect that visual pollution with their eyes.

“You cannot deploy thousands of inspectors trying to find all the visual pollution in all the cities. So, we want the machine to help us automate in solving that problem,” he added. 

Alsubaiee cited graffiti on walls, poor-looking billboard signs and potholes as examples of visual pollutants.

SDAIA is publishing data they already have and collected to invite everyone to contribute and help them solve those problems, he said. 

“We want to make Saudi Arabia one of the smartest countries in the world, not just at the city level, but at the country level,” he concluded.