How Saudi Arabia’s new economic cities can make manufacturing more sustainable

Special How Saudi Arabia’s new economic cities can make manufacturing more sustainable
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The Sakaka Solar Power Plant in Saudi Arabia's northern province of Al Jouf is made up of over 1.2 million solar panels arranged across 6 square kilometers of land. It has a production capacity of 300 megawatts, enough to power 45,000 households and contribute to offsetting over 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. (Saudi Vision 2030 photo)
Special How Saudi Arabia’s new economic cities can make manufacturing more sustainable
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Inaugurated in 2019 as part of Saudi Arabia's National Renewable Energy Program, the Dumat Al Jandal Wind Farm in the northern province of Al Jouf has a total capacity of 400 megawatts, capable of supplying electricity to approximately 70,000 homes. (Saudi Vision 2030 photo)
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Updated 22 April 2024
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How Saudi Arabia’s new economic cities can make manufacturing more sustainable

How Saudi Arabia’s new economic cities can make manufacturing more sustainable
  • The Saudi Green Initiative aims to promote eco-friendly practices, such as reducing waste in manufacturing
  • On International Mother Earth Day, Saudi Arabia continues its effort to mitigate the effects of climate change

RIYADH: As the world marks International Mother Earth Day on April 22, Saudi Arabia continues its effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, accelerate its transition to green energy, promote sustainability, and protect natural habitats through the Saudi Green Initiative.

Launched in 2021, one key SGI target is to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tonnes per annum by 2030 and to achieve net zero by 2060. The Kingdom hopes to reach this milestone through investments in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

Three wind projects are under development in the Kingdom, while a fourth, Dumat Al-Jandal, is already the largest operational wind farm in the Middle East, with a 400-megawatt capacity.

Saudi Arabia also operates 13 solar photovoltaic projects. The Al-Henakiyah project is under development and will generate a capacity of 1,500 MW, ranking it among the world’s five largest solar farms.

FASTFACT

• International Mother Earth Day, celebrated every year on April 22, was recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2009 to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment.

Besides wind and solar, the Kingdom is also building a green hydrogen project in NEOM and a carbon capture project at the Aramco Research Center at the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology. 

The green hydrogen project will produce clean energy derived using renewables, while the carbon capture project focuses on capturing and storing carbon dioxide to help mitigate climate change.

Beyond the transition to green energy, SGI includes projects designed to combat desertification, preserve biodiversity, and promote eco-friendly practices, such as reducing waste in manufacturing.




The carbon capture project of Aramco Research Center at the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology focuses on capturing and storing carbon dioxide to help mitigate climate change. (KAUST photo)

Economic cities and special economic zones are viewed as one solution to the waste problems associated with commercial activity. In the Gulf Cooperation Council area, these are fast becoming a topic of interest for policymakers and businesses.

Saudi Arabia is taking proactive steps to build self-powering economic cities. Regulated by the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority, the Kingdom aims to attract investment, promote economic growth, and create jobs. 

“That’s a real window of opportunity to identify the diversity of industries that can exist within economic cities and how they can benefit from these opportunities to collaborate, extend their networks, and find opportunities for local sourcing,” Rana Hajirasouli, founder of The Surpluss climate tech platform based in the UAE, told Arab News.

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Hajirasouli says the annual waste and surplus created by manufacturers worldwide is valued at approximately $780 billion.

This vast sum represents a missed opportunity for companies to maximize their profits and reduce their environmental impact by reassessing waste management practices and adopting more sustainable strategies. 

“The problem is not just the waste we throw out and the emissions … it’s also unoccupied warehouse spaces, unoptimized logistics,” she said.

The Kingdom has launched four such economic cities: the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh, Jazan Economic City, Prince Abdulaziz bin Musaid Economic City in Hail, and Knowledge Economic City in Madinah.




King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh. (KAEC photo)

Establishing these spaces is seen as a key strategy for Saudi Arabia to diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on oil revenues, while also promoting long-term environmental sustainability.

Collaboration between businesses cohabiting economic cities could be one way in which they can mitigate the harmful effects of their waste production through innovative solutions and circular economy principles.

“Instead of focusing on trading carbon, businesses essentially find ways to reduce their emissions through the circular economy and daily-basis operational changes,” said Hajirasouli. “Accounts of that are evident in sustainability reports.”

Such collaborations, known as industrial symbiosis, align with sustainable development and circular economy goals, emphasizing the importance of resource conservation, waste reduction, and environmental protection. 

They involve reusing waste and by-products generated by one particular industry or industrial process to serve as raw materials for another. 

By adopting these principles, businesses can transform their waste streams into valuable resources, thereby creating a more circular and sustainable production system, said Hajirasouli.

DID YOUKNOW?

• Dumat Al-Jandal in Saudi Arabia is the largest operational wind farm in the Middle East, with capacity to generate 400 megawatts of power.

• The total cost of waste and surplus generated by companies globally is estimated to be about $780 billion a year.

• The Jazan IGCC plant is the largest gasification facility of its kind in the world and can produce up to 3.8 gigawatts of power.

“One interesting example is in Denmark where various companies in a small 16-sq. km area use excess steam from the power plants that aren’t needed for electricity and that goes to other factories,” she said. 

This creates a closed-loop system where materials, energy, and resources are repurposed rather than wasted. 

Aramco’s fully integrated Jazan Refinery and Petrochemical Complex is setting the stage for similar industrial symbiosis in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Economic City. 

The Jazan oil refinery, designed to have an output capacity of up to 400,000 barrels per day, is expected to provide raw materials for the integrated gasification combined-cycle plant, which generates power and industrial gases.




Aramco’s fully integrated Jazan Refinery and Petrochemical Complex is setting the stage for similar industrial symbiosis in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan Economic City. (Aramco photo)

In the process of refining crude oil, synthetic gas — or syngas — is produced, which is typically used as fuel for industry and shipping. 

The hot syngas stream produced by gasification must be cooled down before processing. However, thanks to industrial symbiosis, that heat will not be wasted.

The plan is to capture the refinery’s waste steam and use it to drive turbines to create electricity in the power generation plant. 

However, the steam is produced at extremely high temperatures — far higher than what is required to turn the turbines. This means the process could still result in a significant waste of energy. 

To prevent this, the Jazan refinery will absorb and use this heat in recovery units.

Adopting mitigation approaches and industrial symbiosis such as these in Saudi Arabia’s economic cities is seen as an ideal path to promoting sustainable practices.

By fostering collaboration and resource sharing among industries, these economic cities can not only enhance their environmental performance but also contribute to the overall sustainable development of the Kingdom.

 


Saudi, Japanese culture ministers discuss cooperation

Saudi, Japanese culture ministers discuss cooperation
Updated 59 min 23 sec ago
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Saudi, Japanese culture ministers discuss cooperation

Saudi, Japanese culture ministers discuss cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Farhan met in Tokyo on Tuesday his Japanese counterpart Masahito Moriyama.

The pair discussed enhancing cultural cooperation between the two countries within the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030.

Prince Badr said the Kingdom’s participation in Expo 2025 Osaka will offer opportunities to learn about the Saudi culture, history, and future vision.

Moriyama thanked Prince Badr for the Saudi ministry’s efforts in opening new horizons to enhance cultural exchange between the two countries.


Saudi deputy foreign minister offers condolences to Iran over death of president

Saudi deputy foreign minister offers condolences to Iran over death of president
Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi deputy foreign minister offers condolences to Iran over death of president

Saudi deputy foreign minister offers condolences to Iran over death of president
  • Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian died on Sunday when their helicopter crashed in dense fog

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Waleed Elkhereiji, on Tuesday offered condolences and sympathy to Iran following the deaths of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash.

Elkhereiji delivered the message, on behalf of Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, to the Iranian ambassador to the Kingdom, Alireza Enayatiat, at the nation’s embassy in Riyadh, the Saudi foreign ministry said. He was accompanied by Abdulmajeed Al-Samari, the deputy minister for protocol affairs, who similarly expressed his condolences.

The Iranian president, foreign minister and six other people were killed on Sunday when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed amid dense fog in mountainous terrain near the border with Azerbaijan.


Saudi Arabia, Japan leaders exchange views in video summit meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. (SPA)
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia, Japan leaders exchange views in video summit meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. (SPA)
  • The crown prince expressed his desire to visit Japan as soon as possible to further strengthen ties with Japan
  • Kishida expressed his wishes for King Salman’s early recovery

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prime minister of Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.
Kishida offered his best wishes for King Salman’s health, a gesture that was appreciated by the crown prince.
The crown prince expressed his desire to visit Japan as soon as possible to further strengthen ties with Japan. Kishida expressed his wishes for King Salman’s early recovery and said that he was also looking forward to strengthening the strategic partnership between Japan and Saudi Arabia, according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo.
As the two countries approach the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, the Japanese prime minister expressed his desire to work even more closely with Saudi Arabia. He emphasized the shared goal of realizing peace and stability in the Middle East, a sentiment that was echoed by the crown prince. The leaders agreed to establish a “strategic partnership council” chaired by them to further strengthen bilateral relations.
Kishida expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia’s stable supply of crude oil to Japan over the years. He also expressed his anticipation for Saudi Arabia to continue playing a leading role in stabilizing the global oil market, including through production increases, a sentiment that was appreciated by the crown prince.
Kishida added that he would like to cooperate in establishing a global supply chain for clean energy, such as hydrogen and ammonia, and promote cooperation in the field of mineral resources while using Japanese technology under the “lighthouse initiative” agreed between the two countries in July last year.
The crown prince said that Saudi Arabia would like to cooperate with Japan in various areas, including clean energy, and the Kingdom remained committed to providing a stable supply of crude oil to Japan.
Kishida expressed interest in creating business opportunities in Saudi Arabia, and making direct investments in Japan in a wide range of fields, including construction, power transmission, hydrogen, digital fields, information and communications technology, space, health, medicine, food and agriculture.
He also said that he would like to work together to achieve an early realization of the Japan-GCC free trade agreement. This agreement, once implemented, will significantly boost trade and investment between Japan and the GCC countries, creating new business opportunities and fostering economic growth. Negotiations are scheduled to resume soon.
The crown prince said that he welcomed the resumption of negotiations for the Japan-GCC free trade agreement and cooperation with Japan in fields beyond energy.
On peace and security, Kishida explained Japan’s diplomatic efforts and contributions in Gaza, including humanitarian aid and diplomatic initiatives. The crown prince said that he envisioned continued cooperation with Japan on diplomatic efforts to realize peace and stability, appreciating Japan’s active role in the region.
Kishida said that he would be pleased to hand over the symbolic “torch” of the expo to Saudi Arabia following Expo 2025 in Osaka-Kansai. This act symbolizes the continuation of the spirit of international cooperation and cultural exchange. He added that he would like to encourage cultural exchanges in entertainment, tourism, academia and football.
The crown prince said that Japan was an outstanding country in terms of culture and that he sought to strengthen cooperation with Japan in this area.
Read More: Saudi, Japan discuss ties at Vision 2030 business forum in Tokyo  


Saudi ministry says no truth in circulated information about livestock withdrawal periods and disease in humans

Ministry has emphasized that the withdrawal period for veterinary drugs varies depending on the active ingredient and the method
Ministry has emphasized that the withdrawal period for veterinary drugs varies depending on the active ingredient and the method
Updated 21 May 2024
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Saudi ministry says no truth in circulated information about livestock withdrawal periods and disease in humans

Ministry has emphasized that the withdrawal period for veterinary drugs varies depending on the active ingredient and the method

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has said that information in the media on the subject of consumption of meat during the withdrawal period and its possible contribution to liver and kidney diseases in humans — which may include cancerous tumors — is inaccurate.

The ministry has emphasized that the withdrawal period for veterinary drugs varies depending on the active ingredient and the method of administering the dose, whether by injection or topical use. 

The ministry detailed that the scientific analysis in classifying drugs is based on infection-control vaccines which have a globally specified withdrawal period; viral diseases’ antibiotics, which have a precise withdrawal period; and external inflammatory diseases’ mastitis-abscess, which are subject to a temporary withdrawal period.

The ministry and the National Center for the Prevention and Control of Plants and Animal Diseases oversee slaughterhouses across the Kingdom to ensure that animals have not been injected with any veterinary products, by inspecting the animals post-slaughter.

This inspection covers more than 380 slaughterhouses across the Kingdom, supervised by more than 1,050 veterinarians who carefully examine over 22,000 carcasses daily to ensure they are safe and free of disease, injuries, or traces of injections, and confirm their suitability for human consumption.

The ministry has urged citizens and residents to have their animals slaughtered in official slaughterhouses that are subject to the supervision of the ministry and WEQAA.

The ministry has further indicated that, in cooperation with WEQAA, it monitors the use of veterinary products in animal health fields and conducts regulatory inspections at outlets selling veterinary products to ensure establishments abide by the necessary standards and requirements and clarify withdrawal periods to consumers.

Regulatory authorities in the Kingdom also play a meticulous role in approving veterinary drugs, with very high standards.

The ministry carries out field inspections of veterinary pharmacies, following specific requirements, to ensure proper drug storage conditions, expiration dates, and the extent of pharmacies’ commitment to precise prescription of medicines, in addition to providing accurate details to the consumer, including the withdrawal period, dosage, amount of time necessary for withdrawal, and method of administration, to raise awareness among breeders.


New world order must combat money laundering, says French senator Nathalie Goulet

Nathalie Goulet, French senator.
Nathalie Goulet, French senator.
Updated 22 May 2024
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New world order must combat money laundering, says French senator Nathalie Goulet

Nathalie Goulet, French senator.
  • French politician stressed the need for sanctions, regulations to address financial crimes

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia plays an important role in the fight against money laundering, French politician Nathalie Goulet said during a forum this week in Riyadh on global uncertainties and their impact on the Middle East region.

Fighting money laundering would create a much more favorable business climate, Goulet said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.

The forum, held under the patronage of the King Faisal Islamic Studies and Research Center and in collaboration with the UN Alliance of Civilizations  and the Nizami Ganjavi International Center, covered key themes including the new world order, which will have to face up to several challenges that call for restrictive, even draconian, measures to weaken the action of parallel economies undermining development and peace processes around the world.  

The forum held in Riyadh covered key themes including climate change and its impact on the economies of the Middle East. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

Goulet, a senator for Orne since 2007 and a member of the Union of Democrats and Independents, said that money laundering was a global issue that impacted the stability of countries.

She said that money laundering represented 3 percent of gross world product, which amounted to more than $2,000 billion. “Not all money laundering is the financing of terrorism, but the financing of terrorism involves money laundering,” she told Arab News.

The issues of sustainable development, human rights and economic development are linked to the “parallel economy with money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, plant trafficking, animal trafficking and, of course, corruption,” she said.

A few years ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a campaign called ‘No Money for Terror.’ It was a first step, a very important first step, and one that was widely followed.

Nathalie Goulet, French senator

Stressing the need for regulations and frameworks to address the problem of financial crimes, Goulet said that migrant smuggling, which not only involved human beings but organ trafficking and drug smuggling, “brings in as much money as Finland’s national product.

“You have to put figures on it,” she added. “When you have figures, things take on a different consistency … So, it’s an absolutely necessary policy.

“Migrant smuggling alone is worth $7 billion. And you can see that the issue of migrant smuggling is disrupting our societies in Europe, in Italy, in France … (it) is driving up the extreme right.”

The fight against money laundering involved the intervention of a large number of international organizations, but it must comply with strict rules and the effective involvement of the legislative powers of governments and international organizations.

Speaking about efforts to combat corruption and money laundering, Goulet said: “Saudi Arabia has just taken a huge step forward. A few years ago, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a campaign called ‘No Money for Terror.’ It was a first step, a very important first step, and one that was widely followed.”

Recently, Saudi Arabia entered a much more practical phase in the fight against corruption and money laundering. The Kingdom now fulfils almost all the obligations of international organizations, and the Financial Action Task Force and Egmont Group, which met a few days ago in Saudi Arabia.

Elaborating on practical measures that can be taken by countries and organizations, Goulet said that it was “important to hit traffickers in the wallet” through sanctions.

“So, we have all these sanctions, which are individual sanctions, we have collective sanctions, we obviously have all the United Nations sanctions on these issues, and then we have nations like France, which is now applying much tougher legislation on ill-gotten gains.”

Goulet added that it was important to “weigh up a number of criteria. For example, can we be a magnet, a hub for cryptocurrencies, but without trying to regulate them? Can we be a hub for ill-gotten gains from the misappropriation of resources in Africa and at the same time meet international criteria? Can we accept dirty money from Russia and at the same time fight for the liberation of Ukraine? And all this is ‘realpolitik.’”

The FATF’s grey list contains jurisdictions that have been placed under increased monitoring due to a country’s strategic deficiencies, which can significantly affect its business climate. The UAE, Goulet explained as an example, was recently taken off the list “because it has signed a number of conventions but remains on the European Parliament’s grey list of countries.”

If a country is on the list, which indicates that it does not comply with all the rules on money laundering, companies that have headquarters in that jurisdiction are more closely monitored and controlled and this significantly impacts the climate for doing business in.

The Kingdom became the first Arab nation to gain full membership of the FATF in 2019, in line with its efforts and financial and economic programs to achieve Vision 2030, which contributes to supporting the development of the national economy and enhancing the efficiency of the financial sector, one of the important objectives of the Financial Sector Development Program under the leadership of the Ministry of Finance.