Saudi Aramco inks hydrogen agreement as Bezos, Musk and Blair address B20 gathering

Saudi Aramco inks hydrogen agreement as Bezos, Musk and Blair address B20 gathering
(From left) Indonesian Energy Minister Arifin Tasrif, President Director of Pertamina, Nicke Widyawati, Aramco Senior Vice President of Downstream, Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani, and Chair of Indonesia B20 Shinta Kamdani (Supplied)
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Updated 14 November 2022

Saudi Aramco inks hydrogen agreement as Bezos, Musk and Blair address B20 gathering

Saudi Aramco inks hydrogen agreement as Bezos, Musk and Blair address B20 gathering

RIYADH: Oil giant Saudi Aramco used the gathering of business leaders ahead of the Group of Twenty summit of world leaders to sign an agreement with Indonesia’s energy firm Pertamina to explore collaboration across the hydrogen and ammonia value chain.

The memorandum of understanding was inked on the sidelines of the so-called B20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, as both Saudi Arabia and the host nation eye achieving the net-zero target by 2060.

The MoU involves a pre-feasibility study that aims to assess the possibility of cooperation related to the development of a clean ammonia and hydrogen value chain. 

The understanding also includes potential carbon capture, utilization and storage at Pertamina Group’s existing facilities and other agreed potential locations. 

The pre-feasibility study, which will be conducted over the next two years, will also explore the investment viability of developing commercial structures for clean ammonia and hydrogen in Indonesia. 

“As a company, our ambition is to achieve net-zero scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions across our wholly-owned operating assets by 2050,” said Aramco's senior vice president of Downstream Mohammed Al-Qahtani. 

Saudi Aramco had pledged to achieve the net-zero targets by 2050, 10 years ahead of the Kingdom’s net-zero goal.

Al-Qahtani added: “Our work in developing new ammonia and hydrogen energy pathways will be pivotal in achieving that goal while helping to advance an affordable, equitable and more sustainable transition for all.” 

Nicke Widyawati, president director of Pertamina, said that energy transition should not jeopardize energy security and affordability, especially for countries that are highly dependent on fossil fuels. 

“Hydrogen and ammonia are expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free power generation, heavy transport, heating and industrial processes,” said Widyawati. 

Last week, during the UN’s Climate Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced the Ministry has joined hands with Aramco to establish a carbon capture and storage hub as the Kingdom steadily pursues its sustainability journey. 

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said that the new carbon capture and storage hub will be located on the east coast of Saudi Arabia in Jubail.

Nasser added that the hub will have a storage capacity of up to 9 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2027. 

Inside the B20 event, Amazon founder and executive chairman Jeff Bezos used a pre-recorded speech to urge global leaders not to think about sustainability policies as being detrimental to economic growth.

“Let's not get stuck in the mindset of either/or thinking,” he said, adding: “Many business and government leaders would like to be bold in reducing environmental damage but they fear it will raise costs and hurt growth but we now know that smart action against climate change doesn’t just stop bad things happening, it also can improve resource efficiency, drive new technology, reduce uncertainty and lead to new opportunities.”

Bezos reaffirmed his pledge to power all of Amazon’s operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025, and said the company is working to convert its delivery fleet to electric vehicles.

He also set out the criteria by which the Bezos Earth Fund will hand out $10 billion in grants by 2030.

“These include phasing out internal combustion engines, decarbonizing steel and cement, raising food crop yields, reducing food loss, and empowering indigenous communities to manage tropical forests,” said the businessman, adding: “For each of these factors we try to identify how close they are to positive tipping points and what barriers we can help remove in order to cross these tipping points.”

Also appearing at the conference was Elon Musk, who is negotiating a troubled start to his reign as CEO of Twitter, including confusion over the so-called ‘blue tick’ system. 

Taking part in a discussion via video link, Musk said it is a “no brainer” that the social networking site needs to focus more on video content, and this would benefit users.

“Twitter is ready to give revenue share to content creators to make a living,” he said.

Reflecting on the controversies surrounding his tenure at the organization, he said: “There is no way to make everyone happy, that is for sure.”

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair used a pre-recorded speech at the event to insist the world of the 21st century represents an “entirely new economy”.

“The premium is on people who are educated, are capable of developing the skills of the future and who understand the way this technology revolution will operate,” he said.

Blair argued that technology would not just change the way people live and work, but “every culture”, and massive investment is needed not just in education but also healthcare.

“We have seen how much damage the pandemic could do, not just to people's health — 15 million excess deaths worldwide — but to trillions of dollars lost in the pandemic,” he said, adding: “If we produce better health, it will add trillions more to the global economy. 

“Better health equals better productivity equals higher growth.”

Saudi Arabia elected ISO council member for two years

Saudi Arabia elected ISO council member for two years
Updated 21 sec ago

Saudi Arabia elected ISO council member for two years

Saudi Arabia elected ISO council member for two years

RIYADH: In recognition of its efforts to implement health and safety standards, Saudi Arabia has been elected as a member of the council of the International Organization for Standardization, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Kingdom will maintain the position for a two-year period starting 2024, it said.

This was announced during ISO’s 45th general assembly meeting held in Brisbane in Australia.

The Saudi Standards, Metrology, and Quality Organization, known as SASO, represented the Kingdom at the recent ISO meetings.

SASO is committed to the ongoing enhancement and revision of Saudi standards and technical regulations, with its efforts aimed at safeguarding the nation’s markets against counterfeit, substandard, and deceptive products, ultimately bolstering the national economy. 

Meanwhile, ISO, which came into existence in 1947, is an independent, nongovernmental international organization with 169 members.

Red Sea International Airport becomes operational

Red Sea International Airport becomes operational
Updated 21 September 2023

Red Sea International Airport becomes operational

Red Sea International Airport becomes operational

RIYADH: The Red Sea International Airport became operational with the touchdown of the first Saudia flight early on Thursday, according to the Red Sea Global. 

In a statement, the multi-project developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destinations, The Red Sea and AMAALA, said that the flights from King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh will arrive every Thursday and Saturday, connecting the two destinations in less than two hours. 

It added that a flight would return to the capital on the same day. “We promised to make TRS a place where people from all around the world would come to experience the best of Saudi culture, hospitality, and nature. Now, with the first flight touching down at RSIA, and our first resorts receiving bookings, Saudi Arabia’s position on the global tourism map is all but secured,” said John Pagano, group CEO of Red Sea Global. 

From today, the statement added, the flights depart Riyadh every Thursday at 10:50 a.m. before flying back to the capital after 165 minutes. It added that the other flight departs from Riyadh every Saturday at 12:50 p.m., with the return flight at 15:35 p.m. from the Red Sea airport. 

Positioned within an eight-hour flight from 85 percent of the world’s population, the airport will grow to welcome international flights from next year as additional phase one resorts open their doors. 

According to the statement, RSIA is operated by daa International, which has supported RSG with design validation and commissioning of RSIA since 2020. 

“With the arrival of RSIA’s first commercial flight, daa International’s operational responsibility commences,” it added 

In its press release, RSG also revealed the new brand for RSIA with visitors to see the brand expressed across multiple touchpoints, from the airport terminal and staff uniforms to the electric mobility vehicles that will transport passengers from air to land side. 

“RSIA is the gateway to TRS destination. It is the first impression visitors have, and their parting memory when they leave. The brand echoes the qualities of the five-star hospitality guests will enjoy across the destination,” Pagano added. 

The brand icon is a representation of the RSIA’s unique architecture. The company noted that the iconic shape is inspired by the bird’s eye view of the airport’s exterior. “It has been created to express the creativity, novelty, and sophistication of the brand in a way that is contemporary and distinct.” 

RSG further stated that it has made great progress across other infrastructure works to ensure TRS is ready to welcome visitors and meet its promises for responsible development and regenerative tourism. 

Sole Pakistani company at Foodex expo eyes joint ventures

Sole Pakistani company at Foodex expo eyes joint ventures
Updated 21 September 2023

Sole Pakistani company at Foodex expo eyes joint ventures

Sole Pakistani company at Foodex expo eyes joint ventures

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani food company participating in the 10th edition of Saudi Arabia’s leading international food exhibition, Foodex Saudi, has praised the Kingdom’s market, saying over a dozen Saudi companies had expressed interest in forming joint ventures and distributing its products.

The 10th edition of Foodex Saudi, the Kingdom’s leading international exhibition for food and beverages, was held from September 17-20 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center and featured over 500 exhibitors from 75 countries, offering an array of food and drinks to Saudi buyers from the distribution, retail, manufacturing and hospitality sectors.

Dashi International, a Karachi-based food company that sells ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat food products, was among the 500 exhibitors at the event.

“Dashi International is the only Pakistani company participating in this edition of the Foodex Saudi exhibition,” Fawaz Khalil Allahwala, the company’s chief executive officer, told Arab News over the phone from Riyadh.

“It was a great opportunity to showcase our product as the Saudi market is certainly growing and we found a dozen leads from interested companies from the Kingdom,” Allahwala said.

He said some Saudi companies had sought joint ventures with Dashi International while others were interested in a distribution partnership with the Pakistani company. He declined to name the Saudi companies. 

Allahwala said he experienced a lot of “enthusiasm and optimism” at the exhibition where visitors explored various food items with the aim of seeking new business opportunities.

He said the response was “encouraging and positive.”

“The Saudi market seemed very receptive and growing so we are very hopeful of progress,” Allahwala added.

Hamzah Gilani, the spokesperson of the Pakistani consulate in Jeddah, said the exhibition played a “crucial role” in advancing and diversifying Saudi Arabia’s thriving food and drinks industry.

“This success [of Dashi] should encourage more Pakistani companies to seize such opportunities and expand their involvement in the international market,” Gilani told Arab News, saying Foodex provided Saudi buyers with an “unprecedented opportunity” to discover a diverse range of global food and beverage products.

“This esteemed gathering facilitated extensive networking opportunities,” Gilani said, “and showcased latest industry innovations.”

Saudi airline passenger complaints drop 11.8% in August: GACA   

Saudi airline passenger complaints drop 11.8% in August: GACA   
Updated 21 September 2023

Saudi airline passenger complaints drop 11.8% in August: GACA   

Saudi airline passenger complaints drop 11.8% in August: GACA   

RIYADH: As part of ongoing efforts to enhance efficiency and competitiveness in Saudi Arabia’s aviation sector, the number of passenger complaints among carriers in August dropped by 11.8 percent compared to the same month last year.

Data released by the General Authority of Civil Aviation revealed that there were 1,442 grievances in August 2023, down from the 1,636 recorded in the corresponding month in 2022. 

These developments align with GACA’s economic regulations, which are designed to support the sector’s rapid growth, improve the passenger experience, and ensure transparency and fairness. 

Saudia, formerly known as Saudi Arabian Airlines, received the fewest complaints among carriers, with a total of 14 complaints per 100,000 travelers and a 100 percent timely handling rate. 

Flynas ranked second with 30 such cases per 100,000 passengers and a closure rate of 98 percent.  

Flyadeal came in third with 105 grievances per 100,000 travelers and a timely handling rate of 52 percent. 

The most common complaints in August were related to flights, boarding services, and tickets. 

Among international airports serving more than 6 million passengers annually, Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport had the lowest complaint rate at 0.3 percent per 100,000 passengers. 

For international airports with fewer than 6 million passengers per year, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz International Airport received the fewest grievances, with a rate of 1 percent per 100,000 customers.  

Both airports recorded only two such cases, each, with a reported handling rate of 100 percent. 

Among domestic airports, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz Airport had the lowest rate at 2 percent per 100,000 travelers. Only one grievance was raised by travelers, with a 100 percent timely management rate.    

Earlier this month, Saudi carriers disbursed a total of SR58 million ($15.4 million) in compensation to travelers during the 2021-2022 period, according to GACA.  

In an official statement released at the time, GACA emphasized that these reimbursements addressed a range of customer concerns, including delays, loss of luggage, flight cancellations, and disruptions to flight schedules.  

This initiative aligns with the authority’s commitment to protecting passenger rights. It also serves as a precursor to the upcoming regulations set to take effect on Nov. 20, aimed at advancing operations and supporting the Kingdom’s growth objectives in the aviation sector.  

GACA’s vision is to create a safe and secure aviation environment by following the most rigorous international safety standards and building a modern airport system that consistently provides exceptional services. 

SAIL and Bahri sign MoU to boost maritime collaboration

SAIL and Bahri sign MoU to boost maritime collaboration
Updated 21 September 2023

SAIL and Bahri sign MoU to boost maritime collaboration

SAIL and Bahri sign MoU to boost maritime collaboration

RIYADH: In an effort to accelerate collaboration and share expertise, Saudi national shipping company Bahri and SAIL, a subsidiary of the Saudi Investment Recycling Co. owned by the Public Investment Fund, have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance their services within the Kingdom. 

The alliance, formed during the two-day Saudi Maritime Congress in Dammam, aims to facilitate maritime sector development, provide technical support, and promote knowledge and expertise exchange between the two companies, according to a press release. 

Under the agreement, both companies will collaborate on technical support in various domains, including shipbuilding, procurement, ship management, and leasing.  

This partnership will encourage the exchange of ideas on shared interests, such as various vessel types and targeted services.  

Additionally, the two entities will engage in joint studies and research initiatives to enhance their operations in line with industry best practices. 

Commenting on the deal, Ziyad Al-Shiha, CEO of SAIL, said he expects this agreement to play a pivotal role in shaping the maritime sector’s future, positioning the Kingdom as a global hub in the industry. 

Ahmed Ali Al-Subaey, Bahri’s CEO, stressed the importance of this strategic cooperation, highlighting the combined strengths and expertise that will contribute to establishing an ecosystem promoting innovation, creating job opportunities, and showcasing Saudi Arabia as a global logistics hub. 

This partnership marks significant progress in advancing the industry as both parties aim to leverage their strengths to provide innovative and efficient solutions tailored to the evolving needs of the maritime logistics market. 

SAIL offers marine pollution response services as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to preserve the marine environment and its beaches.  

Supported by advanced early monitoring and alarm systems, this service combats marine spills and hazardous materials in strategic locations along the Kingdom’s coasts on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.  

Additionally, it enables swift and efficient responses to marine environmental accidents and disasters.