Africa fighting for climate resilience despite low carbon emission record: African Union chairperson

Africa fighting for climate resilience despite low carbon emission record: African Union chairperson
Macky Sall, President of Senegal (Screenshot)
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Updated 07 November 2022

Africa fighting for climate resilience despite low carbon emission record: African Union chairperson

Africa fighting for climate resilience despite low carbon emission record: African Union chairperson

Riyadh: African countries need to be compensated for the environmental damage done by industrial nations, the chairperson of the African Union group of nations has insisted. 

Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference, also known as COP27, Macky Sall, who is also president of Senegal, said his continent is seeing the impact of climate change “every day” thanks to extreme weather events. 

He said countries must implement the Paris Agreement, and pointed to the work Africa has done in this regard through its Great Green Wall initiative which brought together 11 states in the Sahel-Sahara region.    

“Although we contribute less than 4 percent of greenhouse gases, Africa is behind low carbon development; we’re fighting for climate resilience. We think this must be a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by a reasonable timeframe,” Sall said.   

“Every day, we are seeing extreme weather events — (a) testimony to climate change. Now, more than ever, we must act to save our planet,” he added.  

Sall highlighted that Africa contributes little to generate greenhouse gases, yet it has been undertaking activities to restore land and woods to encourage a forest-based economy and livestock activities.   

Pointing to the Congo Basin Forest, Sall described the country as one of the planet’s rare “green lungs.”   

“We favor a green and equitable transition instead of taking decisions that harm our development processes, including universal access to electricity which still deprives 600 million Africans,” he said.   

“That’s what remains in terms of tropical forests. For our planet, it means that we host one of the rare green lungs of our planet. And, of course, all these can sequester carbon,” Sall added.   

Calling to action to adapt to climate change, he said that debt is often used to create green development.   

“The implementation of adaptation is something that grants and donations should fund as per agreed conventions,” he said.   

“We have our adaptation fund and partner countries, and together in September, we launched a call for action to implement the program to speed up adaptation in Africa,” he added.   


Oil Updates — Crude up after price cap on Russian oil; Venezuela’s oil exports recover in November 

Oil Updates — Crude up after price cap on Russian oil; Venezuela’s oil exports recover in November 
Updated 06 December 2022

Oil Updates — Crude up after price cap on Russian oil; Venezuela’s oil exports recover in November 

Oil Updates — Crude up after price cap on Russian oil; Venezuela’s oil exports recover in November 

RIYADH: Oil prices edged higher on Tuesday after the Group of Seven nations imposed a price cap on Russian seaborne oil on Monday on top of an EU embargo on its crude imports. 

Brent crude futures had risen 38 cents to $83.06 a barrel at 08.10 a.m. Saudi Arabia Standard Time. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 36 cents to $77.29 a barrel. 

Futures fell more than 3 percent in the previous session after US service sector data raised worries that the Federal Reserve could continue its aggressive policy tightening path. 

The G7 price cap comes as the West tries to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine, but Russia has said it will not abide by the measure even if it has to cut production.  

Supporting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure 

The Biden administration is convening a virtual meeting on Thursday with oil and gas executives to discuss how the US can support Ukrainian energy infrastructure, according to a letter seen by Reuters. 

The meeting comes as Russia seeks to cut off Ukraine’s energy supplies and destroy infrastructure as winter approaches with missile attacks. 

“As you know, Ukrainian energy assets are being aggressively targeted in an effort to take advantage of the winter’s coldest temperatures and harshest weather conditions. Together, we can help to boost Ukrainian resilience,” wrote David Turk, US deputy secretary of energy, in a letter to oil and gas executives. 

The meeting is being convened by the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response. It involves members of the Oil and Natural Gas Sector Coordinating Council, which includes 26 trade associations. 

“This meeting is part of DOE’s continued, proactive engagement with industry to ensure that they are prepared to provide steady and reliable energy to their customers at home while exploring areas of collaboration to support our allies abroad,” the Department of Energy said in response to a request for comment. 

Venezuela’s oil exports recovery 

Venezuela last month exported 619,300 barrels per day of crude and fuel as a resumption of shipments to Europe. The reopening of oil processing plants lifted sales by 16 percent over October, according to documents and Refinitiv Eikon data. 

The OPEC member’s exports have this year averaged some 620,000 bpd year to date, slightly below 2021 but are expected to rise in the coming months under a US license to oil major Chevron Corp. as part of a sanctions-easing strategy. 

Italian oil major Eni, another joint venture partner of state company Petroleos de Venezuela, SA, was allocated two crude cargoes in November for debt repayment, carrying a total of 1.85 million barrels of Venezuelan diluted crude to Spain, where Repsol will refine them. 

Exports also benefited from the restart of a PDVSA-Chevron crude upgrader at their Petropiar joint venture in the Orinoco Belt. Nearby, one of Petrolera Sinovensa’s two crude blending plants operated by PDVSA and China National Petroleum Corporation also resumed work. Both had suffered from outages and a lack of diluents to operate. 

A total of 24 cargoes carrying crude and refined products and 224,000 metric tons of methanol and petroleum coke set sail from Venezuelan waters last month, according to the data and PDVSA’s internal export schedules. 

 

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi Space Commission announces launch of Saudi Space Accelerator Program

Saudi Space Commission announces launch of Saudi Space Accelerator Program
Updated 05 December 2022

Saudi Space Commission announces launch of Saudi Space Accelerator Program

Saudi Space Commission announces launch of Saudi Space Accelerator Program
  • The program addresses the current state of the Kingdom's space sector and proposes proactive space solutions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Space Commission has announced the launch of its Saudi Space Accelerator Program in line with the Kingdom's innovation goals as part of Vision 2030.

According to a SSC statement, the program seeks to enhance the national space sector through the development of its infrastructure and enabling local entrepreneurs and businesses to advance innovative space solutions.

The program addresses the current state of the Kingdom's space sector and proposes proactive space solutions, and will ignite the local ecosystem and determine its maturity level.

It will also ensure that the sector remains viable for years to come, by providing an established business environment for growth and innovation for entrepreneurs to thrive in — overall improving the effectiveness of the commission's future programs and initiatives over the long-run.

The Saudi Space Accelerator Program is being supported by the Future Office for Entrepreneurship Development, that seeks to establish a new business unit within the commission dedicated to enabling the entrepreneurial space scene in the Kingdom. 

It aims to assess the current state of the sector, adopt best global practices, and develop a roadmap for local businesses. As for the Saudi Space Accelerator Program, it focuses on providing support to both local and international startups, which will enhance the promising and emerging space sector in the Kingdom. Participating entrepreneurs and startups will be supported in aligning their projects with internationally recognized best practices to achieve the Kingdom's 2030 goals.

By partnering with Techstars, the Saudi Space Commission is launching its first cohort in January 2023 to kickstart this new momentum. Through this first cohort the commission can access a niche market focused on space-related technologies, including drones, avionics, advanced structures, geospatial analytics, and a host of other technologies that contribute to the space industry development.

Aspiring entrepreneurs, both international and local, who are interested in developing their innovative solutions in the space sector are encouraged to apply for the first cohort of the Saudi Space Accelerator Program before December 12. 


Saudi budget to be announced on Wednesday

Saudi budget to be announced on Wednesday
Updated 05 December 2022

Saudi budget to be announced on Wednesday

Saudi budget to be announced on Wednesday
  • The Kingdom reported a budget surplus of SR149.6 billion ($40 billion) in the first nine months of 2022

RIYADH: The Saudi Cabinet will hold a session on Wednesday to approve the State's General Budget for the new fiscal year, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kingdom reported a budget surplus of SR149.6 billion ($40 billion) in the first nine months of 2022, according to data from the Ministry of Finance released in October.

Their data showed revenues amounting to SR950.2 billion, compared to expenditures of SR800.7 billion. 


Saudi Arabia’s Future Minerals Forum partners with global think tanks ahead of January conference

Saudi Arabia’s Future Minerals Forum partners with global think tanks ahead of January conference
Updated 05 December 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Future Minerals Forum partners with global think tanks ahead of January conference

Saudi Arabia’s Future Minerals Forum partners with global think tanks ahead of January conference

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s global conference Future Mineral Forum has partnered a host of major think tanks to drive innovation and thought leadership, according to a statement.

Launched in 2022 by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the FMF has now joined forces with the Development Partner Institute, the Center for Energy Studies at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Clareo, and the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines.

Through these partnerships with the think tanks and research institutions, the FMF is targeting to provide dynamic insights that propel the development of the industry in line with strict environmental, social and governance principles.

This comes as the FMF is preparing for its second edition which is set to kick off on Jan. 10, 2023 and end on Jan. 12, with An estimated 200 speakers from around the world are expected to attend the event. 

Development Partner Institute is a global organization that aims to accelerate the delivery of a new future of the mining sector while maximizing the contribution of mining to economic as well as social development.

Similarly, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan, data-driven think tank, and its Center for Energy Studies works on providing new insights on the role of economics, policy, and regulation while taking into consideration the performance and evolution of energy markets.

Moreover, Clareo poses a growth and innovation firm that aids firms and entities into transforming the challenges they face in terms of innovation, value growth, environmental, social, and governance, as well as energy transition into potential opportunities and competitive advantages.

Likewise, the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines is a research institute with the aim of serving clients with expert public policy advice on topics including natural resources, energy, and the environment.

The FMF’s main objective is to untap potential mining opportunities from Africa all the way to West and Central Asia.

That said, all insights extracted are set to be published in multiple research papers and will shape several discussions at the FMF event.

The FMF is anticipated to tackle several topics, including sustainability, the future of mining, energy transition, the contribution of minerals to the development of societies, digital transformation, and integrated value chains.

The conference will also tackle global bottlenecks that could potentially affect the supply of mineral and energy, the future of mining on a domestic level and worldwide, as well as the contribution of mining projects, and any growth opportunities for the sector. 

The Kingdom’s mining sector is witnessing a rapid transformation and is attracting investors from around the globe since the launch of a new mining law earlier this year. 

According to geological surveys dating back 80 years, the Kingdom is thought to have an estimated reserve of untapped mining potential valued at $1.3 trillion.

However, with the prices of valuable minerals, especially gold, copper and zinc rising, Saudi Arabia expects the value of its current mineral wealth to double from the previously estimated $1.3 trillion, CEO of the Saudi Geological Survey Abdullah Al-Shamrani said in September.


Saudi Arabia explores opportunities with Netherlands on energy, circular economy in key meeting

Saudi Arabia explores opportunities with Netherlands on energy, circular economy in key meeting
Updated 05 December 2022

Saudi Arabia explores opportunities with Netherlands on energy, circular economy in key meeting

Saudi Arabia explores opportunities with Netherlands on energy, circular economy in key meeting

RIYADH: Senior officials and business leaders from Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands have met to discuss potential collaborations regarding the energy and circular economy fields.

The Kingdom’s National Competitiveness Center hosted a meeting in its Riyadh headquarters attended by representatives from Dutch embassies across the Gulf Cooperation Council region, and officials from major firms such as global consumer goods company Unilever, multinational conglomerate corporation Philips, and lighting company Signify.

From Saudi Arabia, the Deputy Minister of Commerce and CEO of the Center Iman Al-Mutairi attended, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Resources Human and Social Development, and executives from the Saudi Investment Company for Recycling.

During the meeting, prospects between both countries were discussed, including cooperation between business sectors in the fields of energy and its transportation as well as discussions of partnership in the circular economy.

The meeting also shed light on potential opportunities in the Kingdom, specifically in addition to discussions on the development in the labor market and women’s participation in the workforce.

By building a Saudi economy based on inclusiveness, the NCC aims to achieve competitiveness in its broadest sense, according to Mutairi.

Moreover, companies should be aware of any offers through what is referred to as the “Istiqla” platform which allows opinions to be taken on laws and regulations prior to their approval, the CEO of the center stressed.

Through the meeting, the NCC sought to emphasize the importance of the Saudi and Dutch business sectors to enhance economic cooperation between both countries.

Since its establishment in 2019, the NCC monitors the challenges facing the Kingdom’s private sector from various channels.

It works in integration with more than 60 government entities in order to address them in line with best practices that keep pace with global developments.

The NCC also helps both the public and private sector adopt new innovations, establish sustainability, create growth methods, and effectively use their resources.