UAE’s Barakah nuclear energy plant starts up third unit

UAE’s Barakah nuclear energy plant starts up third unit
Barakah nuclear plant (enec.gov.ae/barakah-plan)
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Updated 23 September 2022

UAE’s Barakah nuclear energy plant starts up third unit

UAE’s Barakah nuclear energy plant starts up third unit

RIYADH: UAE's Nawah Energy Co. has successfully started Unit 3 of the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant, located in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafra Region, its parent company the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation announced on Thursday.

The launch has been achieved a year after the start-up of Unit 2, with the next key milestone being the connection of Unit 3 to the national electricity grid in the coming weeks, WAM reported.

Unit 3’s startup reflects the progress being made in bringing the four units of the Barakah Plant — the first multi-unit operational nuclear plant in the Arab World — online and accelerating the decarbonisation of the UAE’s power sector on the way to Net Zero by 2050. 

ENEC CEO Mohamed Ibrahim Al Hammadi said: “Thanks to the data-driven decisions of the UAE’s wise leadership, Barakah is now spearheading domestic energy security and sustainability in parallel, at the time of a global energy crisis, highlighting the unique capabilities of nuclear energy in solving energy security and sustainability in parallel.”

He added: “The commissioning of the plant is just the beginning, with innovation and R&D (research and development) now key in ensuring the realization of the full scope of the programme.”

Once commercially operational Unit 3 will add another 1,400 MW of zero-carbon emission electricity capacity to the national grid.

This will be a major boost for UAE energy security, and a major step forward in tackling climate change. 

Barakah is generating clean energy that is sustainably powering homes, business and high-tech industries across the UAE, WAM said. 

Unit 3 will be connected to the national electricity grid in the coming weeks, and the operations team will continue with the process of gradually raising power levels, known as Power Ascension Testing. 

The process will be continuously monitored and tested until maximum electricity production is reached and all regulatory requirements and the highest international standards of safety, quality, and security will be applied.


Saudi Capital Market Authority approves 3 new IPOs as listing wave continues

Saudi Capital Market Authority approves 3 new IPOs as listing wave continues
Updated 13 sec ago

Saudi Capital Market Authority approves 3 new IPOs as listing wave continues

Saudi Capital Market Authority approves 3 new IPOs as listing wave continues

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority approved three initial public offerings in the midst of a listing wave on the Saudi bourses.

The market regulator has approved an application from Power and Water Utility Co. for Jubail and Yanbu to register and sell 73.09 million shares, or 29.24 percent of equity, on the Saudi Exchange, according to a CMA statement.

Saudi Top for Trading Co. has obtained the regulator's approval to float 880,000 shares on Nomu-Parallel Market.

The CMA has also approved Molan Steel Co.'s application to register and offer 532,400 shares on Nomu-Parallel Market.

Saudi stock markets have been witnessing rising interest among companies to go public with its main market, TASI, listing 10 IPOs, whereas, the parallel market, Nomu, getting 11 IPOs listed so far this year.


Oil Updates — Crude slightly up; Iraq minister says OPEC monitoring oil prices; Qatar oil industry faces inflationary pressures

Oil Updates — Crude slightly up; Iraq minister says OPEC monitoring oil prices; Qatar oil industry faces inflationary pressures
Updated 37 min 19 sec ago

Oil Updates — Crude slightly up; Iraq minister says OPEC monitoring oil prices; Qatar oil industry faces inflationary pressures

Oil Updates — Crude slightly up; Iraq minister says OPEC monitoring oil prices; Qatar oil industry faces inflationary pressures

RIYADH: Oil prices rose on Tuesday, after plunging to nine-month lows a day earlier, on indications that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, known as OPEC, may enact output cuts to avoid a further collapse in prices.

Brent crude futures for November settlement rose 65 cents, or 0.77 percent, to $84.71 per barrel by 0502 GMT. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures for November delivery were up 64 cents at $77.35 per barrel.

OPEC monitoring oil prices, seeks market balance: Iraq oil minister

Iraq Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar on Monday said that the OPEC and allies including Russia, known as OPEC+, are monitoring the oil price situation, wanting to have a balance in the markets.

“We don’t want a sharp increase in oil prices or a collapse,” he said in a televised interview on state TV.

“We entered a challenging period. Global factors led to the decrease [in oil prices], most importantly lower growth and higher inflation rates,” Abdul Jabbar said.

OPEC+, has this year ramped up oil output, looking to unwind record cuts put in place in 2020 after the pandemic slashed demand.

Qatar says inflationary pressures impacting oil and gas industry

Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs said on Monday that inflationary pressures have led to rising production costs, delays in investment decisions, and increased policy uncertainty in the oil and gas industry.

Minister Saad Al-Kaabi said in a statement the sector needs to help people recognize that demands to cancel hydrocarbons “are not only unrealistic but, as recent months have proven, are harmful to a realistic, accelerated transition.”

Kaabi said that hydrocarbons “are not going to disappear any time in the near future.” Therefore cleaner forms of hydrocarbons were essential for a responsible transition.

“Natural gas is certainly the cleanest fossil fuel, and a much-needed reliable and economic solution to manage intermittency issues, when the sun is not shining, or when the wind is not blowing,” he said.

(With input from Reuters) 


Shell sees 2024 global demand for aviation fuel return to level before pandemic

Shell sees 2024 global demand for aviation fuel return to level before pandemic
Updated 44 min 57 sec ago

Shell sees 2024 global demand for aviation fuel return to level before pandemic

Shell sees 2024 global demand for aviation fuel return to level before pandemic

SINGAPORE: Global aviation fuel demand is expected to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels of 300 mln tons per year in the next one to two years, the head of aviation at Shell said on Tuesday.

Demand in the US is back at 2019 levels while Europe’s consumption has recovered to more than 80 percent and is on track for full recovery in the next year, Shell Aviation President Jan Toschka told Reuters on the sidelines of the 38th Asia Pacific Petroleum Energy Conference. 

“Asia has been a bit more of a bumpy road with markets opening up and closing down but mostly we expect Asia in particular, in the next year, to come back, but it might take another year before we see the full potential of the market,” he said.

However, jet fuel supplies are tightening in Europe with the European Union’s sanctions on Russian oil products kicking in on Feb. 5, causing the region to import more fuel from the US, China, India and the Middle East.

“The market needs to buy from refineries further away ... shipping and rail and all kinds of distribution are under more stress now with this new kind of routing (of trade),” he said.


Gas from Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline leaks into Baltic Sea

Gas from Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline leaks into Baltic Sea
Updated 27 September 2022

Gas from Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline leaks into Baltic Sea

Gas from Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline leaks into Baltic Sea
  • President Vladimir Putin in September chided the West for keeping Nord Stream 2 shut

BERLIN/COPENHAGEN: Danish authorities on Monday asked ships to steer clear of a five nautical mile radius off the island of Bornholm after a gas leak overnight from the defunct Russian-owned Nord Stream 2 pipeline drained into the Baltic Sea.
The German government said it was in contact with the Danish authorities and working with local law enforcement to find out what caused pressure in the pipeline to plummet suddenly. Denmark’s energy ministry declined to comment.
On Monday evening, the operator of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, which ran at reduced capacity since mid-June before stopping supplies altogether in August, also disclosed a pressure drop on both lines of the gas pipeline.
“The reasons are being investigated,” Nord Stream AG said on its website, without disclosing further information.
The pipeline has been one of the flashpoints in an escalating energy war between Europe and Moscow since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February that has pummelled major Western economies and sent gas prices soaring.
“A leak today occurred on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Danish area,” said Denmark’s energy agency in a statement.
The German network regulator president, Klaus Mueller, said on Twitter the pressure drop in both pipelines “underscores the German network regulator’s assessment that the situation is tense.”
The regulator said it was currently not known what had caused the pressure drop, adding the event had no impact on security of supply in Germany and that the country’s gas storage levels were around 91 percent.
Danish maritime authorities had issued a navigation warning and established a zone around the Nord Stream 2 pipeline “as it is dangerous for ship traffic,” it added.
Nord Stream 2’s operator said pressure in the pipeline, which had contained some gas sealed inside despite never becoming operational, dropped from 105 to 7 bars overnight.
The pipeline, which was intended to double the volume of gas flowing from St. Petersburg under the Baltic Sea to Germany, had just been completed and filled with 300 million cubic meters of gas when Germany canceled it days before the invasion.
NO CLARITY
“Overnight the Nord Stream 2 landfall dispatcher registered a rapid gas pressure drop on Line A of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline,” Nord Stream 2’s operator said in a statement.
“Investigation is ongoing.”
European countries have resisted Russian calls to allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to operate and accused Moscow of using energy as a weapon. Russia denies doing so and blames the West for gas shortages.
“We are currently in contact with the authorities concerned in order to clarify the situation. We still have no clarity about the causes and the exact facts,” said a statement from the German economy ministry.
The Swiss-based operator, which has legally been wound up, said it had informed all relevant authorities about the leak.
Russian gas exporter Gazprom referred questions about the incident to the Nord Stream 2 operator.
Russia has cut off gas supplies to several countries and also halted flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, blaming Western sanctions for hindering operations.
President Vladimir Putin in September chided the West for keeping Nord Stream 2 shut.
Monday’s gas leak happened a day before the ceremonial launch of the Baltic Pipe carrying gas from Norway to Poland.
The project is a centerpiece of Warsaw’s efforts to diversify from Russian gas. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is due to travel to Poland on Tuesday to mark the occasion.
Nord Stream 2 was widely unpopular among Danish lawmakers and the country in 2017 passed a law which allowed it to ban the project from passing through its territorial waters on security grounds.
But Nord Stream 2 later changed the original route to steer it through Denmark’s exclusive economic zone, where this veto could not be applied.

 


ECB eyes blockchain for settling bank transactions, says official

ECB eyes blockchain for settling bank transactions, says official
Updated 26 September 2022

ECB eyes blockchain for settling bank transactions, says official

ECB eyes blockchain for settling bank transactions, says official
  • The ECB is among a number of central banks around the world working on digital versions of their currency in response to the popularity of digital tokens

FRANKFURT: The European Central Bank is studying ways of settling transactions between banks on a blockchain in a bid to keep control of money even if lenders switch to distributed ledgers, ECB board member Fabio Panetta said on Monday.

The ECB is among a number of central banks around the world working on digital versions of their currency in response to the popularity of digital tokens such as Bitcoin and the blockchain technology that powers them.

This distributed ledger technology is predicated on market participants verifying transactions and keeping a copy of them rather than relying on a trusted party, such as a central bank.

On top of a digital euro for consumers, the ECB is looking at how it could let banks settle wholesale transactions between them on a distributed ledger, rather than the central bank’s own.

“Despite the uncertainties surrounding DLT’s potential, we want to be prepared for a scenario where market players adopt DLT for wholesale payments and securities settlement,” Panetta said. 

We want to be prepared for a scenario where market players adopt DLT for wholesale payments and securities settlement.

Fabio Panetta, ECB official

He added letting banks settle among themselves or use stablecoins, which are crypto tokens pegged to a conventional currency, would result in “trading and liquidity becoming fragmented.”

Meanwhile, giving stablecoins the ECB’s backing would “outsource the provision of central bank money to private entities, endangering monetary sovereignty,” Panetta said.

As a possible solution, Panetta said the ECB might build a bridge between the private sector’s blockchain platforms and its own Target 2 settlement system.

Alternatively, it could make central bank money — the claim against the ECB in which wholesale transactions are settled — available on those platforms or create its own, he added.