Google joins forces with SDAIA to find AI sustainability solutions for Saudi Arabia  

Google joins forces with SDAIA to find AI sustainability solutions for Saudi Arabia  
The agreement with Google encompasses three programs and 11 initiatives (Shutterstock)
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Updated 14 September 2022

Google joins forces with SDAIA to find AI sustainability solutions for Saudi Arabia  

Google joins forces with SDAIA to find AI sustainability solutions for Saudi Arabia  

RIYADH: Google has reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia to help implement artificial intelligence sustainable solutions and cutting-edge technologies in the Kingdom.

The Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence, in partnership with the global business, has established AI programs and initiatives for the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.

The agreement covers three programs and 11 initiatives, according to Mansour bin Hilal Al-Mushaiti, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of environment, water and agriculture.

Al-Mushaiti also announced the launch of an AI-based Earth Observation and Sciences Program aimed at addressing climate change risks and improving environmental protection in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

He said finding solutions would not be an easy task as food and water must be provided while the environment is preserved — the importance of balancing industrial growth and economic development with protecting the environment is equally crucial for the Kingdom’s future, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Artificial Intelligence will aid in accelerating multi-progress and achieving sustainability goals aligned with Vision 2030,” Al-Mushaiti said.

AI is also expected to contribute to the transformation of society, economy, and nation into a digital one.

“It is necessary to implement disruptive solutions that will enable us to depart from the old legacy and implement state-of-the-art technologies and deploy artificial intelligence when, where, and how needed,” he added.

 


Oil Updates — Crude prices up; Chevron awaits Venezuelan oil cargoes

Oil Updates — Crude prices up; Chevron awaits Venezuelan oil cargoes
Updated 20 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude prices up; Chevron awaits Venezuelan oil cargoes

Oil Updates — Crude prices up; Chevron awaits Venezuelan oil cargoes

RIYADH: Oil rebounded on Tuesday after falling to more than 11-month lows in the previous session, as investors weighed a potential output adjustment from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, who are set to have a key meeting this week.

Brent crude futures advanced $1.81, or 2.2 percent, and traded at $85.00 a barrel at 0446 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose $1.37, or 1.8 percent, to $78.61 a barrel.

Brent settled down 0.5 percent the previous day, having slumped more than 3 percent to $80.61 earlier in the session to its lowest since Jan. 4. WTI settled up 1.3 percent on Monday after touching its lowest since December 2021.

Chevron awaits Venezuelan oil cargoes, but PDVSA wants payments

Chevron Corp. aims to start receiving cargoes of Venezuelan oil as early as December after the oil company last week received a US license to do so, but Caracas may not be as eager because US sanctions restrict payments, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The US on Saturday granted Chevron a six-month license to operate in Venezuela, reinstating oil trading privileges it had, while preventing exchanges of cash and requiring the crude cargoes go to US refiners.

Executives at Venezuelan state firm PDVSA initially welcomed the authorization for a partial return to the US, once the country’s most important market. They are less enthusiastic after learning of license terms that will not allow Chevron to reimburse operational costs or pay taxes and royalties in Venezuela, according to the people.

PDVSA and Venezuela’s oil ministry did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

As of Nov. 23, Chevron’s largest joint oil venture in Venezuela had 1.79 million barrels of exportable crude in stock, a document seen by Reuters showed. Another oil processing project where it is a minority partner halted operations earlier this year due to accumulated inventories that could not be exported.

Talks with EU on Russia oil price cap going well: White House

A White House spokesperson on Monday said talks with the European Union about a Russian oil price cap are going well.

Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that he did not see inordinate pressure to take more action on the cap.

(With input from Reuters) 


World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia

World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia
Updated 29 November 2022

World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia

World’s first commercial shipment of blue ammonia leaves Saudi Arabia

A consignment of blue ammonia has left Saudi Arabia for South Korea, representing a new milestone in the development of decarbonization solutions.

The development was first announced during the recent Saudi Green Initiative conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, and Vessel Seasurfer, carrying 25 kilometer-tons of low-carbon blue ammonia, is expected to reach its destination between Dec. 9 and 13 in the world’s first commercial shipment of its kind.

The accomplishment, which is an alternative to conventional gray ammonia, is part of a collaboration between Saudi Basic Industries Corporation Agri-Nutrients and Aramco.

Lotte Fine Chemical, which has a long-standing relationship with SABIC AN, will receive the low-carbon “cradle to gate” blue ammonia.

Abdulrahman Shamsaddin, SABIC AN CEO, said: “This shipment is another milestone in our journey toward carbon neutrality.

“We are proud to be a part of this pioneering solution, paving the way for further decarbonization efforts.

“Looking to the future, we are constantly working on breakthrough solutions to decarbonize our assets and deliver low-carbon solutions to our customers.”

Yong Suk Kim, LFC CEO, said: “We are delighted to enter this meaningful agreement with our long-term supplier, SABIC Agri-Nutrients, to receive the world’s first certified blue ammonia cargo. 

“Building on our shared history, we are looking forward to moving forward together into a new era for ammonia. We believe that this shipment of blue ammonia will help lay the foundations for a global supply chain." 

Earlier this year, SABIC AN and Aramco received the world’s first independent certifications, recognizing blue ammonia and blue hydrogen production, from TUV Rheinland, a leading independent testing, inspection and certification agency, based in Germany.

The shipment of blue ammonia to South Korea will be the first to capitalize on this major certification achievement. 

The new developments are aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, which focuses on low-carbon fuels, products, solutions and clean energy. 
 


Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets

Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets
Updated 28 November 2022

Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets

Americana Restaurants reveals IPO date in first dual listing on Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia markets

RIYADH: The restaurant group that runs KFC, Pizza Hut, Krispy Kreme and others across the Middle East has announced share allocation to investors as well as the scheduled date for its initial public offering in Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia, according to a statement.

Americana Restaurants’ IPO poses the first simultaneous dual listing process on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and the Saudi Stock Exchange, also known as Tadawul.

Taking into consideration obtaining all the required regulatory approvals, the IPO’s listing and trading process is set to commence on Dec. 12.

As of Nov. 24, the firm disclosed that the final share price to be offered for subscription stands at 2.62 dirhams ($0.71) per share in the UAE and SR2.68 ($0.71) per share in the Kingdom respectively.

Subscription requests hit $105 billion garnered from several qualified and eligible institutional investors across diverse countries including both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Apart from that, other investors belonged to what is known as an “individual segment” in both the UAE and the Kingdom respectively.

Subscription requests for individuals in the UAE and Saudi Arabia exceeded 48.2 times and 2.8 times, respectively. On the other hand, subscription requests for qualified institutions exceeded 65.5 times.

A total of 283,245 individual investors in Saudi Arabia subscribed to the IPO. 

“We are looking forward to the next step of our growth journey and working towards future value creation. We are equally proud to have taken the final step towards a historic first-ever concurrent dual listing on ADX and the Saudi Exchange – further enhancing the depth and maturity of the UAE and Saudi capital markets. We look forward to welcoming our new shareholders in December,” said Chairman of Americana Restaurants Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar in a statement.

While 80 percent of the normal shares were allocated to a qualified institutional tranche, 10 percent were allocated to individual tranches in the UAE, and 10 percent were allocated to the individual tranche in the Kingdom.

In addition to this, the food and beverages firm also allocated over 1,000 shares for each subscriber in the retail segment in the UAE and more than 892 shares for each subscriber in the retail segment in Saudi Arabia.

The remaining shares were allocated on a pro-rata basis to the retail tranche in the UAE and an allocation percentage of 0.01 percent to the retail tranche in the Kingdom.

The shares have been allocated to the tranche of eligible constitutions in consultation with financial advisors as well as international coordinators.

 As per the updated schedule, any surplus subscription amounts are set to be returned to retail investors in the UAE on Nov. 30 and prior to Dec. 8 for those in the Kingdom.


Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD

Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD
Updated 29 November 2022

Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD

Abu Dhabi overcomes global challenges registering 11.2% GDP growth in H1: SCAD

RIYADH: Reflecting Abu Dhabi’s robust performance and the ability of the economy to sustain growth despite global economic challenges, data released by the Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi, shows expansion of the emirate’s gross domestic product in the first half of 2022 to 11.2 percent compared to the same period last year. 

The quarterly GDP growth rate reached its highest value in six years during the second quarter of 2022 when it hit 11.7 percent compared to the same quarter last year, according to estimates reported by SCAD. 

At the end of the first half of 2022, the real GDP value (at constant prices) exceeded 543 billion dirhams ($148 billion), and the value of the non-oil sectors’ GDP increased 28.4 billion dirhams compared to the same period last year to reach 273 billion dirhams in total. 

Furthermore, the statistical estimates reveal that all non-oil economic activities and sectors showed positive growth rates at constant prices during the first half of 2022, most notably, the health and social work activity rising at a rate of 29.9 percent. This was followed by accommodation and food services at a rate of 29.3 percent, and professional, scientific and support services at a rate of 27.2 percent. The emirate's wholesale and retail trade activity also recorded a positive growth at a rate of 23.7 percent, whereas real estate activities grew at a rate of 19.1 percent. Abu Dhabi's electricity, gas, water, and waste management registered a growth rate of 18.0 percent, followed by 13.8 percent for transportation and storage. 

The leading economic activities that contributed to the GDP of Abu Dhabi at constant prices during the first half of 2022 included manufacturing activities with the contribution of 8.1 percent, while showing a growth rate of 10.2 percent, according to the results.
In addition, the construction and building activity contributed to the real GDP with 7.7 percent, and achieved a growth rate of 6.9 percent, followed by the wholesale and retail trade activity that contributed 5.9 percent to the GDP.
The financial and insurance activities contributed 5.5 percent to the GDP, with a growth rate of 9.1 percent during the first half of 2022 compared to the same period last year. 

Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said, “Economy’s positive growth rates in Abu Dhabi reflect the profound strength and success of the economic diversification policy, which contributed to the economy’s resilience and ability to address global changes posed by geopolitical and economic factors that directly affected strategic sectors such as energy and international trade.” 

He added: “The Abu Dhabi economy continues to reap the benefits of the effective policies guided by the wise leadership to strengthen the pillars and foundations of the economy, maintaining a competitive performance while attracting investments with more initiatives to achieve the strategic objectives of Abu Dhabi.” 

According to data released by SCAD, the mining and quarrying activities (including crude oil and natural gas) contributed 49.7 percent to the real GDP of Abu Dhabi during the first half of 2022, which means non-oil activities contributed 50.3 percent at constant prices defying the noticeable increases of global oil prices during the same period.
The increase in the non-oil sector’s contribution to the real GDP bears testimony to the success of the ambitious strategic plans for diversifying the economic base in Abu Dhabi. 


TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector
Updated 28 November 2022

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

TVTC zeroes in on tourism with more than 6k Saudis training for roles in key Vision 2030 sector

RIYADH: More than 6,000 Saudis are currently being trained up for technical roles in the Kingdom’s growing tourism industry, according to the government agency leading the charge.

Saudi Arabia's Technical and Vocational Training Corp. has announced it is currently training 6,189 people in preparation for jobs in the tourism and hotel industries.

The Kingdom’s tourism sector continues to grow, with the Kingdom expecting to attract 100 million annual visitors and creating one million jobs by 2030.

TVTC spokesperson Fahad Alotaibi said the entity focuses on designing and providing specialized training programs to train citizens to work in this sector and lead its facilities through diversified training programs in the tourism and hospitality fields.

TVTC's aims align with Saudi Vision 2030, under which efforts are exerted to cut the unemployment rate in the Kingdom from 11.6 percent to 7 percent by 2030.

In August this year, TVTC announced that it had received more than 230,000 trainees — new starters and returnees — in over 260 training facilities and partnership institutes distributed throughout the Kingdom.

To achieve its Vision 2030 goals, Saudi Arabia is not only encouraging the recruitment of nationals to private sector jobs, but is also encouraging adequate investment in their future to ensure their retention by employers as well as their contribution to a vibrant and diverse economy.

Saudization, officially known as the Saudi nationalization scheme, or Nitaqat, is considered a crucial step towards economic success.

Saudi Arabia launched the ‘Saudization’ labor market strategy to enhance the economic participation of its citizens, with the aim of reaching 60 percent by 2030.

Although the process of Saudization has been going on since 1985, major regulatory and economic reforms have accelerated in recent years under the Vision 2030 agenda, with the aim of increasing the participation of young Saudis in the economy, promoting non-oil sectors and improving the overall quality of life.

According to Saudi Arabia's Central Department of Statistics and Information, the unemployment rate in the Kingdom decreased to 5.80 percent in the second quarter of 2022 from 6 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

Vision 2030 promotes Saudi women as an important part of the Kingdom’s strength. It aims to develop their talents, invest their energies, and provide them with the right opportunities to build their futures, contributing to the development of society.

Saudi women now comprise 33.6 percent of the Saudi workforce as of March 2022, according to the General Authority for Statistics. That figure is up from 17.4 percent just five years ago.

The unemployment rate of women was the lowest in 20 years as of the first quarter of 2022, falling to 20.2 percent from 22.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2021.