Oil Updates — Oil prices fall; Oil theft caused $2bn loss to Nigeria from January to August

Update Oil Updates — Oil prices fall; Oil theft caused $2bn loss to Nigeria from January to August
The Group of Seven nations should soon announce the price cap on Russian oil exports. (Shutterstock)
Short Url
Updated 23 November 2022

Oil Updates — Oil prices fall; Oil theft caused $2bn loss to Nigeria from January to August

Oil Updates — Oil prices fall; Oil theft caused $2bn loss to Nigeria from January to August

RIYADH: Oil prices fell by more than $2 a barrel on Wednesday as the Group of Seven nations looked at a price cap on Russian oil above where the crude grade is currently trading.

Brent crude futures fell $2.61, or 2.95 percent, to $85.75 a barrel at 03.55 p.m Saudi time, while US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $2.15, or 2.66 percent, at $79.38 a barrel.

G7 nations are looking at a price cap on Russian seaborne oil in the range of $65-70/bbl, Reuters reported quoting a European official on Wednesday.

US says G7 should soon unveil price cap level on Russian oil

The Group of Seven nations should soon announce the price cap on Russian oil exports and the coalition will probably adjust the level a few times a year rather than monthly, Reuters reported quoting a senior US Treasury official.

The G7, including the US, along with the EU and Australia are slated to implement the price cap on sea-borne exports of Russian oil on Dec. 5, as part of sanctions intended to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

The aim of the unprecedented price cap mechanism is to reduce Russia’s petroleum revenues funding its war machine while maintaining flows of its oil to global markets to prevent price spikes. A cap on exports of Russian oil products is slated to begin on Feb. 5.

The Treasury official told reporters that the EU is consulting with members on the price cap. 

“Our hope is that they will finish that consultation relatively soon and put us in a position where our entire coalition can announce a price,” the official said.

A decision on the price cap level could come as soon as Wednesday or Thursday after a meeting of EU ambassadors, a source familiar with the discussion said.

The G7 price cap would allow companies to provide services including insurance, shipping and financing on Russian oil imports to coalition members, so long as the purchase of that petroleum is under the price cap.

The official said Washington does not expect Russia to retaliate by withholding oil exports, as Putin has warned would happen. Such a move could send global oil prices higher, but risks damaging Russian oil fields.

“We have no reason to expect that they would do that because, ultimately, it’s not in their interest,” the Treasury official said.

Oil theft cost Nigeria $2 billion: report

Nigeria lost more than $2 billion to oil theft during the first eight months of this year, an investigation by the country’s Senate found on Tuesday.

Large-scale theft from Nigeria’s pipelines has throttled exports, forced some companies to shut in production, crippled the country’s finances and knocked the country off its position as Africa’s top oil producer.

An ad hoc committee of the Senate, Nigeria’s upper house of parliament, undertook an investigation into the impact of the theft.

Its findings were presented to the Senate in a report that found only 66 percent of the country’s oil production could be “effectively guaranteed.”

The other 33 percent, it said, was affected by theft and lost production “due to the third party easy access on land terrain.”

“The country has lost over $2 Billion to oil theft between January and August 2022, which lost revenue ordinarily would have supported the country, fiscal deficits and budget implementation,” the report said.

State-owned oil company NNPC Ltd. has said production is starting to improve after Nigeria’s coordinated interventions, including contracts with companies owned by former militants, to crack down on theft.

(With input from Reuters) 


Saudi Arabia, Morocco sign deal to enhance cooperation in tourism

Saudi Arabia, Morocco sign deal to enhance cooperation in tourism
Updated 26 November 2022

Saudi Arabia, Morocco sign deal to enhance cooperation in tourism

Saudi Arabia, Morocco sign deal to enhance cooperation in tourism

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Morocco signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday to encourage and develop cooperation in tourism, and coordinate efforts to achieve the sustainable development of the industry in both countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The memorandum was signed in the presence of Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, and Fatima-Zahra Ammor, the Moroccan minister of tourism, handicrafts, and social and solidarity economy, on the sidelines of the 117th session of the executive council meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization.

Al-Khateeb said: “Saudi Arabia and Morocco enjoy a common commitment to protecting the rich heritage sites and natural marine, mountainous and desert areas in both countries, in addition to their keenness to give priority to youth in their development plans.

“The issue of sustainability occupies an important place in Saudi tourism ambitions, so cooperation with partners who have a similar vision, like Morocco, helps to strengthen the sector in our region and the world as a whole, and contributes to consolidating the sustainability, flexibility, and inclusiveness of the tourism sector for the benefit of people and societies.”

The Moroccan tourism minister said: “The memorandum reflects the strong relations between the two countries and the common vision toward strengthening partnership and raising prospects for cooperation in the tourism sector.

“It will lead to more joint initiatives and the exchange of experiences and best practices, allowing the two countries to develop their capabilities in tourism.”

The agreement will also help to support an increase in training and knowledge-sharing opportunities, and provide new openings for investment.

Saudi Arabia is currently one of Morocco’s largest trading partners in the Arab world. In 2020 the Kingdom invested $26.6 million in its real estate, tourism, and agricultural sectors.


Flurry of R&D cooperation deals signed as Sustainable Partnerships Conference ends

Flurry of R&D cooperation deals signed as Sustainable Partnerships Conference ends
Updated 25 November 2022

Flurry of R&D cooperation deals signed as Sustainable Partnerships Conference ends

Flurry of R&D cooperation deals signed as Sustainable Partnerships Conference ends

RIYADH: More than 50 cooperation and research partnership agreements were signed between universities and various sectors at the Sustainable Partnerships Conference held in Riyadh.

The two-day conference, held under the theme “Research and Innovation Towards A Prosperous Economy” was part of an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Education to foster ties between Saudi universities and the industrial and development sectors.

The event hosted 150 ministers, decision-makers, local and international leaders — of which 100 were from the industrial and development sector — and 40 Saudi universities and colleges.

Some 1,000 research products and industrial models for universities were presented, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

On the sidelines of the conference, 40 training workshops specialized in research and innovation were held, along with 25 dialogue sessions, in addition to a presentation of 220 scientific inventions through the “Promising Technologies and Innovations” exhibition for the country’s citizens and graduates of Saudi universities.

The conference also saw the Saudi Minister of Investment Khalid Al-Falih announce a new strategy for research and development would soon be launched in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Industry and minimal resources Bandar Al-Khorayef also addressed the forum, revealing that a budget for research and development will be allocated soon. 

Al-Khorayef pointed out that the innovation strategy will enhance Saudi Arabia’s exports, and will contribute to national gross domestic production. 

According to SPA, the Ministry of Education sought to use the conference — the first of its kind in the Kingdom — to not only strengthen the links between the higher education sector and industry, but also to identify research and innovation needs of national priority and provide effective solutions to them.

The event was held with a growing focus on Saudi Arabia’s R&D sector, as the Kingdom seeks to diversify its economy away from oil in keeping with the Vision 2030 program.

Saudi Arabia is aiming to become one of the top 10 countries in the Global Competitive Index by the end of this decade, increasing from 24th in 2022.


Food delivery orders rise as MENA continues embracing digital economy: Report

Food delivery orders rise as MENA continues embracing digital economy: Report
Updated 25 November 2022

Food delivery orders rise as MENA continues embracing digital economy: Report

Food delivery orders rise as MENA continues embracing digital economy: Report

RIYADH: The appetite for food delivery in the Middle East and North Africa region has continued to grow in 2022 after the pandemic kick-started demand for the services in the region, according to a new report.

According to data in ‘Digital Transformation in MENA 2022’, produced by cloud-based payments platform Checkout.com, over half  — 53 percent — of MENA consumers purchased food online in the past year, with 42 percent consumers saying they are buying food online more frequently this year than in 2021. 

The online food ordering sector has numerous moving parts that need to come together in each transaction, from the restaurants to drivers and aggregators to payment providers. Close collaboration is therefore vital for the many stakeholders, noted Ramzi Alqrainy, chief technology officer at The Chefz, a leading Saudi-based food delivery app. 

“Collaboration allows us to innovate effectively and to reach and serve society in its most inclusive sense. These days, one provider doesn’t need to manage all aspects of a consumer experience from A to Z. We all need to work together. This is the death of ownership,” said Alqrainy. 

The findings fit the trend of the region increasingly embracing digital technology.

Data from the report shows that 91 percent of consumers across MENA bought products online in the past year, with fashion and clothing making up 46 percent of all online purchases in the region. A fifth of consumers across the region purchased retail products online more frequently than last year, with 33 percent shopping more often for fashion and clothing online.  

Paul Carey, executive vice president of Cards & Payments at Al-Futtaim Group said the figures point to a rapidly developing digital ecosystem that allows government agencies, established companies and start-ups to flourish.

“This is particularly evident in payments, where governments have set up regulatory sandbox infrastructure and made it easier for businesses in the region with more flexible visa options and commercial licensing,” he added. 

The survey shows that remittance apps remain the most widely utilized form of fintech in MENA, but as other products increase, so does adoption. 

The report found that 82 percent of consumers in MENA use some form of fintech app in 2022, up from 76 percent in 2021. 

Innovation has been underpinned by solutions such as Visa’s Account Funding Transactions which pull funds from an account and for use on a prepaid card, top up a wallet, or fund a person-to-person money transfer. 

“The secure, reliable, and fast movement of digital money between individuals, businesses and governments is the engine powering today’s global economy”, said Saeeda Jaffar, senior vice President and group country manager for the Gulf Cooperation Council region at Visa.

The findings come from the second phase of Checkout.com’s Digital Transformation in MENA 2022 report. 

Part one, which was released in October, included insights from 15,000 consumers in the region, while the latest publication contains interviews with business leaders in the digital economy.


ACWA Power expands Indonesian portfolio thanks to partnership with state electricity firm

ACWA Power expands Indonesian portfolio thanks to partnership with state electricity firm
Updated 25 November 2022

ACWA Power expands Indonesian portfolio thanks to partnership with state electricity firm

ACWA Power expands Indonesian portfolio thanks to partnership with state electricity firm

RIYADH: Saudi energy firm ACWA Power will work with Indonesia’s state-owned electricity provider to develop battery storage for renewable energy facilities and green hydrogen development in the Asian country.

The firm has announced it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara — known as PLN — at the B20/G20 Summit in Bali and coincided with the state visit of thw Kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Indonesia.

According to the terms of the MoU, ACWA Power and PLN will jointly investigate several avenues of partnership, including a project study for pump storage for a 600-800MW hydroelectricity facility; investigating the possibility of a 4GW battery energy storage system and the development of a green hydrogen/ammonia facility that is powered by hydroelectricity.  

Paddy Padmanathan, CEO and vice chairman of ACWA Power, said: “As a nation that is fast tracking economic growth, Indonesia is focussed on advancing sustainable development through strategic partnerships. 

“With the signing of this extensive renewable energy and green hydrogen MoU with PT Perusahaan Listrik Negara, we are delighted to extend our collaboration and strengthen our presence in the country. 

“We look forward to partnering with the government in ensuring that its renewable energy goals are realized.”

Indonesia’s National General Energy Plan states that 23 percent of the country’s power should be generated via renewable energy sources by 2025. 

PLN is Indonesia’s sole buyer of electricity produced by independent power projects, including power produced from renewable energy projects. 

As of last year, the enterprise owns or operates nearly two-thirds of Indonesia’s power generation industry, which is approximately 65.5GW of electricity.

Darmawan Prasodjo, president director and CEO of PLN, said: “Dealing with climate change is not only a challenge to preserve the environment, but also a business opportunity. 

“In the future, there will be many PLN agendas in the energy transition that require the collaboration of all parties. ACWA Power and PLN have built a very strong, long-term and productive partnership.”

The agreement comes after ACWA Power and Indonesian energy firm Pertamina New & Renewable Energy signed a joint development agreement on core utilities supplies to Tuban Grass Root Refinery and Petrochemical Project in Java, eastern Indonesia.

This agreement was also signed on the sidelines of the G20 summit.


ROSHN picks up gong for SEDRA development in latest award ceremony success

ROSHN picks up gong for SEDRA development in latest award ceremony success
Updated 25 November 2022

ROSHN picks up gong for SEDRA development in latest award ceremony success

ROSHN picks up gong for SEDRA development in latest award ceremony success

RIYADH: ROSHN, Saudi Arabia’s national real estate developer, picked up the ‘Residential Project of the Year’ award at the Construction Week Middle East 2022 Awards held in Dubai — capping a month of prizes for the firm.

ROSHN won its latest gong for its flagship SEDRA development — located in Riyadh’s northern sector and set to add more than 30,000 residential units to the capital’s housing stock, as well as providing 20 million sq. m. of integrated neighborhoods supported by education, health care, infrastructure, and retail outlet facilities. 

The firm was also highly commended in the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of the Year’ category at the awards, held on Nov. 24, and picked up the same ranking in the ‘CSR Initiative of the Year’ section, for the YUHYEEK Zahra Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign during which ROSHN partnered with the Zahra Association to run a nation-wide awareness and support campaign in October.

Those prizes came just weeks after ROSHN picked up prestigious gongs at the Construction Week KSA 2022 Awards.

In addition to winning ‘Developer of the Year’ for its significant contributions to helping transform the Kingdom’s residential sector in line with Vision 2030, ROSHN CEO David Grover was named ‘Real Estate Icon of the Year’ at the prestigious ceremony held on Nov. 9 in Riyadh.

The firm also gained recognition with the title of ‘Highly Commended Female Leader of the Year’, for Group Chief Marketing Officer Ghada Alrumayan, and was shortlisted for ‘Health and Safety Initiative of the Year’. 

Commenting on the awards, ROSHN Group CEO David Grover said, “I am honored to be part of an organization that works day and night to remake and remodel the urban fabric of Saudi Arabia. Not one of these awards would have been possible without our incredibly hardworking team, which is empowering a new generation of Saudi homeowners and boosting overall growth.” 

He continued: “We are humbled that our efforts to build integrated communities with high-quality housing are being recognised and as we continue to be fully committed to bringing Saudis the highest living quality standards in support of the government’s drive to increase homeownership.”

Guided by the Vision 2030, ROSHN strives to increase homeownership in the Kingdom, bringing a new concept of living to the market, but also works to ensure that ROSHN projects and partnerships contribute to quality of life of and benefit of Saudi society at large, according to a press release from the company.