ACWA Power signs deals worth over $120m with Uzbek energy companies 

Update ACWA Power signs deals worth over $120m with Uzbek energy companies 
Marco Arcelli, CEO of ACWA Power, at the deal signing (Supplied)
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Updated 19 May 2023
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ACWA Power signs deals worth over $120m with Uzbek energy companies 

ACWA Power signs deals worth over $120m with Uzbek energy companies 

CAIRO: ACWA Power Co. has inked agreements valued at over $120 million for energy projects in Uzbekistan in what is a further strengthening of bilateral energy relations between Saudi Arabia and the Central Asian country.

The Saudi company has signed a hydrogen purchase deal with Uzkimyosanoat, the state-owned chemical entity, and a power purchase contract with the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan, according to a press release.

The deal with Uzkimyosanoat will focus on decarbonizing the sector through green hydrogen projects, with construction being executed in two phases.

The second set of agreements involves the signing of financing documents for Karatau wind farm, formerly referred to as the Nukus Wind Project, with a total investment value of $120 million.

The National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan will serve as the exclusive buyer of electricity generated by the project for 25 years.

The Uzbek Ministry of Economy and Finance has provided support for the project, and funding has been secured through Deutsche Investitions, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Proparco.

Marco Arcelli, CEO of ACWA Power, expressed his enthusiasm for the Uzbek government's commitment to decarbonisation and investments in energy diversification.

“We enable sustainable growth of communities around the world by providing competitive power and water desalination solutions, and in green hydrogen, we are the first mover in the industry with our participation in the Neom Green Hydrogen Project with Air Products and NEOM,” he said.

“Our team has done a magnificent job to launch our second project in Uzbekistan together with Uzkimyosanoat and the Uzbek government to make the chemical industry in Uzbekistan a world leader in decarbonisation. Moreover, the financial close of the Karatau wind project with the support of EBRD, DEG, Proparco and the Ministries of Energy and Investment, Industry & Trade of Uzbekistan is a key milestone in the installation of about 5,000 megawatts of capacity in the country by ACWA Power, which will reduce CO2 emissions by over 6 million tons by 2030,” Arcelli added.

The hydrogen and power contracts will span 15 and 25 years, respectively, encompassing project development, construction, and operation. 

These contracts are projected to financially impact once the project achieves commercial operations, targeted for December 2024. 

Timur Mukhammedjanov, chairman of Uzkimyosanoat, said: “We are excited about the limitless possibilities this agreement brings, positioning UKS as a key player in the emerging Green fertilizers economy. It is a testament to our commitment to innovation, environmental stewardship, and building a prosperous, low-carbon future for our citizens and the world.”

ACWA Power currently has over five active projects in Uzbekistan, including four wind projects and a combined gas cycle turbine facility, with the country being the firm's second most valuable market after Saudi Arabia. 

“Uzbekistan has emerged as one of the most exciting growth countries for ACWA Power in recent years and is our biggest investment geography outside of the Kingdom. We are proud that our giga scale development experience in green hydrogen is making us the preferred choice of partners across the world,” Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, said in January.  

The firm operates in 12 countries, with total investments worth $74.8 billion and 72 assets. 

Furthermore, in the first quarter of 2023, the company reported a consolidated net profit of SR270 million ($71.9 million), a 78 percent rise compared to the same period the previous year.


Qatar to invest $10.85bn in key sectors of French economy: Elysee 

Qatar to invest $10.85bn in key sectors of French economy: Elysee 
Updated 59 min 11 sec ago
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Qatar to invest $10.85bn in key sectors of French economy: Elysee 

Qatar to invest $10.85bn in key sectors of French economy: Elysee 

PARIS: France and Qatar have sealed a strategic partnership under which Qatar has agreed to channel €10 billion ($10.85 billion) into start-ups and investment funds in France between 2024 and 2030, the French presidency said in a statement. 

The investments “to the mutual benefit of both countries” will target key sectors ranging from energy transition, semiconductor, aerospace, artificial intelligence, digital, health, hospitality and culture, it added. 

The investment was announced as Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s ruling emir, started a two-day visit to France on Tuesday, his first state visit to the country since his accession to the throne in 2013. 


Saudi Arabia aims for 150k new jobs in chemical plants and renewable energy, says minister

Saudi Arabia aims for 150k new jobs in chemical plants and renewable energy, says minister
Updated 28 February 2024
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Saudi Arabia aims for 150k new jobs in chemical plants and renewable energy, says minister

Saudi Arabia aims for 150k new jobs in chemical plants and renewable energy, says minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is poised to create 150,000 new jobs in chemical plants and renewable energy facilities, with a commitment to achieving 75 percent localization, said a top official. 

During the Human Capability Initiative in Riyadh, Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman emphasized that the energy sector has the biggest chance to achieve that localization target compared to any other sector.    

The minister said: “We see somewhere around 150,000 jobs being created, including not only working in chemical plants and with heavy wind or renewable facilities but also we see a lot of jobs are coming through the localization programs. We also are committed to a localization program which is 75 percent.” 

He added: “This is what we are going try to achieve with using this approach just to give you an idea of how we are thinking and how much it is being elaborated.” 


Technology revolution to transform 70% of global business practices, minister says

Technology revolution to transform 70% of global business practices, minister says
Updated 28 February 2024
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Technology revolution to transform 70% of global business practices, minister says

Technology revolution to transform 70% of global business practices, minister says

RIYADH: Global estimates suggest that technology adoptions and expansion are set to transform 70 percent of business practices globally, according to a top official.

Speaking during the opening of the Human Capability Initiative held in Riyadh, Saudi Minister of Education Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Benyan highlighted that global estimates indicate a potential disruption of 40 percent of workers’ skills within the next four to five years thanks to these changes.

“During the next two days, over 250 global leaders and experts will join us to share their knowledge and insight on how to unleash potential for humankind capability and catalyzing international corporations to maximize resilience in times of uncertainty,” Al-Benyan said.

He added: “Technology adoptions and expansion are set to transform 70 percent of business practices globally. As economists continue to navigate these dynamic labor market landscape, it is more critical than ever to work inclusively to promote positive human capability outcomes.”


UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 

UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 
Updated 28 February 2024
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UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 

UAE economy to grow by 5% in 2024, minister reiterates 

RIYADH: The UAE’s economy is projected to grow by 5 percent in 2024, a leading member of the government has reiterated.

In an interview with Emirates News Agency, also known as WAM, Minister of the Economy Abdulla bin Touq Al-Marri said that more than 73 percent of the national economy is now non-oil, a historic first for the country.

His projection is in line with recent assessments by the Ministry of Finance and S&P Global, which forecast growth of 5.7 percent and 5 percent respectively.

“This achievement reflects the confidence of the private sector and investors around the world in the UAE’s investment environment,” Al-Marri said. 

The minister added that the private sector is a key pillar in the new economic and investment landscape and is at the heart of global changes and challenges. 

“And in implementation of the directives of the wise leadership, the UAE has identified the most sustainable and flexible economic sectors, which have reached more than 16 sectors, including health technology, agriculture, education, financial services, artificial intelligence, and other sectors that contribute to the sustainability of economic sectors and enhance the strength of the national economy,” Al-Marri highlighted.


More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official
Updated 28 February 2024
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More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official

More opportunities for women awaiting in the petrochemical industry: SABIC official
  • Only 25 percent of the sector’s workforce are female

RIYADH: Saudi women should explore more opportunities in the petrochemical industry, as only 25 percent of the sector’s workforce are female, said a top official. 

Speaking at the Human Capability Initiative in Riyadh on Feb. 28, Faisal Al-Suwailem, executive vice president of corporate human resources at Saudi Basic Industries Corp., said that the industrial sector in the Kingdom has been witnessing a sharp rise in female employment over the past three years. 

“If we take a look at the petrochemical industry, in the last 20 years, I have seen a great increase in the participation of females in the petrochemical industry. However, if you look at the number of women in the petrochemical industry, it is still about 25 percent. So, I believe we still have room to grow,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added: “In the industrial sector, the hiring of females has increased 93 percent over the last three years. We have right now over 63,000 females working in plants around the Kingdom.” 

Al-Suwailem further pointed out that Saudi Arabia has surpassed the female workforce target outlined in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

“Let us first look at Vision 2030, and under the thriving economy for female participation in the labor market, the baseline target was set at 22.8 percent, and now we are at 34.5 percent,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added that SABIC stands out as one of the companies offering structured training programs aimed at nurturing and enhancing the skills of young individuals.

Al-Suwailem also underscored that SABIC offers scholarship programs that provide equal opportunities for both men and women. 

“SABIC is a national champion for sure in petrochemicals, but it also has a proven record of being a national champion for development, job creation, learning and contribution to the gross domestic product,” said Al-Suwailem. 

He added: “SABIC’s scholarship program, which is meant for Saudi bright young talents, is right now equally split between men and women.” 

For her part, during the same panel discussion, Cabinet Secretary and Minister of Labor and Social Protection of Kenya Florence Bore said that the country is preparing its youth to adapt themselves to procure jobs in the international market. 

“Our focus currently is on labor migration, and even as you focus on labor migration, it is one of the areas where we get foreign remittances,” said Bore. 

She added: “Kenya has been undergoing lots of changes in the workplace. We have both the informal and formal jobs. The informal sector is really growing at a faster rate than the formal jobs. And because of that, you will find most of our Kenyans are now venturing out for jobs in the international market.”