Saudi Private Sector Seeks to Expand Business with Arab, Chinese Companies

Photo of the Investment between Saudi Arabia and China workshop, which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Photo of the Investment between Saudi Arabia and China workshop, which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Private Sector Seeks to Expand Business with Arab, Chinese Companies

Photo of the Investment between Saudi Arabia and China workshop, which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Photo of the Investment between Saudi Arabia and China workshop, which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Saudi private sector is intensifying efforts to maximize the benefits of the Arab-China Business Conference, which will be held next week in Riyadh.

 

The volume of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and China is witnessing a remarkable growth, reaching SAR 1.2 trillion ($320 billion) over the past five years.

 

These figures reflect the strength and durability of the strategic economic partnership and the diversity of investment opportunities in both countries.

 

According to information obtained by Asharq Al-Awsat, the Federation of Saudi Chambers has called on the private sector to participate in the conference in order to benefit from opportunities to strengthen economic and trade relations and develop investments between China and Arab countries.

 

Riyadh is scheduled to host the 10th edition of the Arab-China Business Conference on June 11-12.

 

The conference will be held under the theme, Cooperation for Prosperity, and aims to support and strengthen the economic, trade and investment partnership between China and the Arab countries, in a step towards reaching solutions that take into account common interests through strategic cooperation.

 

The conference will provide a space for research and discussion among a group of forward-thinking executives, business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs.

 

According to a report recently issued by the Federation of Saudi Chambers, Saudi-Chinese economic relations are witnessing growth and promising prospects in light of the supportive political will. This provides wide opportunities for economic cooperation and commercial and investment partnerships between the business sectors of the two countries.

 

The report highlighted the bilateral economic relations, which represent an international model for constructive fruitful cooperation and strategic partnership, thanks to their reliance on a solid base of institutional and regulatory frameworks represented by the Saudi-Chinese joint committee, Vision 2030 and the Belt and Road initiative, as well as the Saudi-Chinese Business Council.

 

The report also shed light on the opportunities for economic integration between the Kingdom and China, in light of the Chinese Belt and Silk Road initiative, which is consistent in many aspects with Vision 2030.

 

China exports a number of products and commodities to Saudi Arabia, including electrical equipment, heavy machinery, furniture, vehicles, clothing, plastics, iron and steel, ceramic products, rubber, ready-made construction equipment, and other goods.

 

Oil, chemical industries, plastics and their products, and rubber are the most important Saudi commodities exported to China.

 



Kuwait's al-Zour Refinery Now Fully Operational, KIPIC Says

Kuwait's al-Zour Refinery Now Fully Operational, KIPIC Says
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Kuwait's al-Zour Refinery Now Fully Operational, KIPIC Says

Kuwait's al-Zour Refinery Now Fully Operational, KIPIC Says

Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries Company (KIPIC) said in a statement on Sunday that the third and final units at the al-Zour refinery are now operational.

The plant is now fully operational and refining capacity will increase to 615,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 410,000 bpd, the statement said.


50 Big Oil Companies Pledge Significant Emission Reductions

 US Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the audience after delivering a speech on Saturday at the COP28 summit in Dubai (AP)
US Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the audience after delivering a speech on Saturday at the COP28 summit in Dubai (AP)
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50 Big Oil Companies Pledge Significant Emission Reductions

 US Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the audience after delivering a speech on Saturday at the COP28 summit in Dubai (AP)
US Vice President Kamala Harris addresses the audience after delivering a speech on Saturday at the COP28 summit in Dubai (AP)

COP28 President Sultan Al-Jaber announced on Saturday that 50 major global oil companies have committed to reducing methane emissions, one of the most hazardous greenhouse gasses, to nearly zero by 2030 and cease routine natural gas flaring.

The 50 companies, members of the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter, collectively account for about 40% of the world's oil production.

Al-Jaber emphasized that the inclusion of oil and industry companies in COP28 would be a crucial element this year.

The announcement holds significant importance in significantly reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by almost half in about seven years to mitigate the impact of global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The commitment includes major national oil companies such as Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Brazil’s Petrobras, Angola’s Sonangol, and multinational corporations like Shell and Total.

“The world does not work without energy,” said al-Jaber at an energy session on Saturday.

“Yet the world will break down if we do not fix energies we use today, mitigate their emissions at a gigaton scale, and rapidly transition to zero carbon alternatives,” he added.

Methane can be released at several points along the operation of an oil and gas company, from fracking to when natural gas is produced, transported or stored. Over a shorter period, it’s more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas most responsible for climate change.

Al-Jaber urged oil and gas companies to exert more effort in finding solutions for indirect greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise known as Scope 3 emissions.

The Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter has the support of heavyweight OPEC nations, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In a separate commitment, approximately 117 governments pledged to triple the world’s capacity for renewable energy by 2030 during the COP28 summit on Saturday.


Suez Canal, Scatec Sign $1.1 Bln Green Methanol MoU

An aerial view of the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal are pictured through the window of an airplane on a flight between Cairo and Doha, Egypt, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
An aerial view of the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal are pictured through the window of an airplane on a flight between Cairo and Doha, Egypt, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
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Suez Canal, Scatec Sign $1.1 Bln Green Methanol MoU

An aerial view of the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal are pictured through the window of an airplane on a flight between Cairo and Doha, Egypt, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
An aerial view of the Gulf of Suez and the Suez Canal are pictured through the window of an airplane on a flight between Cairo and Doha, Egypt, November 27, 2021. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo

Egypt's Suez Canal economic zone and Scatec ASA have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth $1.1 billion to supply ships with green fuel, a Suez Canal statement said on Sunday.

The MoU agreed on the sidelines of the COP28 conference held in Dubai envisages production of 100,000 tons of green methanol per year by 2027, the statement said.


COP28: 'Realism' Pushes Major Countries Towards 'Carbon Capture and Storage'

DubaiExpo, which hosts COP28 (AFP)
DubaiExpo, which hosts COP28 (AFP)
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COP28: 'Realism' Pushes Major Countries Towards 'Carbon Capture and Storage'

DubaiExpo, which hosts COP28 (AFP)
DubaiExpo, which hosts COP28 (AFP)

Several major countries said at the UN Climate Change Summit (COP28) in Dubai that they were moving to use carbon "capture" or "storage" technologies, which were considered realistic solutions to confront climate change.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged it would stop building new coal power plants that do not have emission reduction measures in place.

"In line with its pathway to net-zero, Japan will end new construction of domestic unabated coal power plants while securing a stable energy supply," Kishida said.

- Emission reduction

Japan, which relies heavily on importing coal and other traditional fuels, seeks to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Kishida stated that Japan has already reduced emissions by 20 percent and is progressing towards lowering the target of 46 percent by 2030 compared to 2013.

To reduce emissions, Japan seeks to use hydrogen and ammonia to produce energy alongside gas and coal in existing power plants, but experts have a different view.

Japan relies heavily on imported traditional fuels, especially natural gas, which represents about 40 percent of its electricity generation, and coal, which represents about 30 percent.

- ExxonMobil rejects IEA's criticism

ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods rejected the International Energy Agency's (IEA) recent claim that using wide-scale carbon capture to fight climate change was an implausible "illusion," saying the same could be said about electric vehicles and solar energy.

Woods told Reuters on the sidelines of the COP28 climate summit that there is "no solution set out there today that is at the scale to solve the problem."

"So, you could say that about carbon capture today, you could say that about electric vehicles, about wind, about solar. I think that criticism is legitimate for anything we're trying to do, to start with," he said.

Woods' appearance marked the first time a CEO of fossil fuel giant Exxon has attended one of the annual UN-sponsored climate summits and reflected a growing effort among oil and gas companies worldwide to recast themselves as part of the solution to global warming, as opposed to a cause.

Exxon has announced $17 billion of investment in its low-carbon business, which includes carbon capture, and has argued that greenhouse gas emissions are the problem causing climate change, not the fossil fuels themselves.

Woods said he believed oil and gas would play an "important role" in the world through 2050 but declined to estimate demand levels.

As part of Exxon's low carbon strategy, it announced in July a $4.9 billion acquisition of Denbury and its 2,100-kilometer carbon dioxide pipeline network, which will be linked to offshore blocks in the Gulf of Mexico where Exxon plans to bury carbon.

So far, Exxon has convinced the largest ammonia maker in the United States, an industrial gas company, and a large steel company to sign long-term contracts for carbon reduction services covering around five million tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Energy and industry produce about 37 billion tons of CO2 globally per year.

Woods declined to provide details of the contracts but said US subsidies in last year's Inflation Reduction Act of up to $85 a ton for carbon capture and sequestration would make the investments profitable.

"We're essentially helping customers decarbonize and taking advantage of that tax credit," Woods said.

He added that making money from the deals was "probably a few years out."

- US plans to reduce emissions

The US administration revealed final rules to take action against emissions from the US oil and gas industry as part of a global plan to curb emissions contributing to climate change.

US officials announced the rules at the COP28 in Dubai.

The US and other countries participating in the summit are expected to provide details on achieving the pledge made two years ago to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent from 2020 to 2030.

New EPA policies would ban routine natural gas flaring from newly drilled oil wells, require stringent leak monitoring of oil and gas wells and compressors, and establish a third-party verification that they are cracking down on leaks or improper flaring.

The EPA estimates it will stop about 58 million tons of methane from escaping into the atmosphere during that period – the equivalent of taking more than 300 million gas-powered cars off the road for a year.


Erdogan Weighs in On Bank Scam Involving Turkish Stars

Legendary Turkish coach Fatih Terim led Galatasaray to UEFA Cup glory in 2000 - AFP
Legendary Turkish coach Fatih Terim led Galatasaray to UEFA Cup glory in 2000 - AFP
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Erdogan Weighs in On Bank Scam Involving Turkish Stars

Legendary Turkish coach Fatih Terim led Galatasaray to UEFA Cup glory in 2000 - AFP
Legendary Turkish coach Fatih Terim led Galatasaray to UEFA Cup glory in 2000 - AFP

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday urged Turks to steer clear of pyramid schemes as a scandal raged at a top bank that allegedly defrauded celebrities and football stars of millions of dollars.

Turkish media has been filled with headlines for days about the troubles at privately-owned Denizbank.

Court documents reported by Turkish media show that one of the bank's Istanbul branch managers orchestrated a $44-million scheme that promised 250-percent returns for those willing to hand over piles of cash, AFP reported.

The failed fund bore the name of Türkiye's legendary football coach Fatih Terim and allegedly defrauded stars such as former Barcelona midfielders Arda Turan.

Terim gained hero status by leading Istanbul's Galatasaray to the UEFA Cup title in 2000.

He has not said anything in public about the scandal.

The Istanbul branch bank manager who created the fund, and reportedly received bags full of dollars from celebrities and players, said that Denizbank managers knew about the scheme.

Denizbank has denied the claim and said it has launched an internal audit to investigate the fund's collapse.

Erdogan said Saturday that "investigations into the suspects mentioned in this case continue".

"Türkiye is a state of law and whoever commits unlawful acts will be punished," Erdogan said in comments released by his office.

"Our citizens should not fall into the traps of fraudsters who offer high profits in a short time with the promise of easy money," he said.

Istanbul prosecutors are seeking more than 200 years in prison for Denizbank branch manager Secil Erzan for allegedly organizing the scam.

Erzan reportedly launched the fund last year to help drum up cash to cover up past investment losses.

Denizbank said in a statement that it "first became aware of the issue when a complainant, who is also our customer, came to the branch" in April.

The bank added that "the amounts in question are not significant in terms of the size for the bank's" total assets.


US-Saudi Business Council Organizes Promoting Opportunities in Saudi Arabia Conference

The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
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US-Saudi Business Council Organizes Promoting Opportunities in Saudi Arabia Conference

The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat
The Saudi flag. Asharq Al-Awsat

The US-Saudi Business Council will organize on Monday a conference to promote economic opportunities in the Kingdom in New Orleans in partnership with KN Legal.

Speakers from Saudi Aramco, the US-Saudi Arabia Business Council, KN Legal as well as representatives of the US Export Assistance Center in New Orleans and the Lafayette Economic Development Commission will present important data and assistance resources for companies interested in entering or expanding their businesses in the Saudi market.

The conference will also see the participation of a number of experts and speakers to get a general overview of the available opportunities for American companies in Saudi Arabia in the oil and gas projects and the new opportunities generated from the mega economic diversification strategy of the Saudi Vision 2030.

The conference will highlight the efforts of the Saudi leadership in encouraging international participation in this fast-moving economy, such as economic, trade and regulatory reforms to improve the transparency and predictability of the Saudi business environment.


UAE's Masdar to Develop 150 MW Solar Project in Angola

Masdar is planning to develop a 150-megawatt solar power project in Angola to provide renewable energy to 90,000 homes and support economic growth.
Masdar is planning to develop a 150-megawatt solar power project in Angola to provide renewable energy to 90,000 homes and support economic growth.
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UAE's Masdar to Develop 150 MW Solar Project in Angola

Masdar is planning to develop a 150-megawatt solar power project in Angola to provide renewable energy to 90,000 homes and support economic growth.
Masdar is planning to develop a 150-megawatt solar power project in Angola to provide renewable energy to 90,000 homes and support economic growth.

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, known as Masdar, is planning to develop a 150-megawatt solar power project in Angola to provide renewable energy to 90,000 homes and support economic growth, including jobs, the UAE state news agency WAM said on Saturday.

The announcement was made during the COP28 climate summit hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water and Masdar, the Gulf state's clean energy developer, signed a concession agreement to build and operate the ground-mounted solar power project in the Quipungo region of southern Angola, the statement said.

No details on the likely costs were provided. The project is part of a wider commitment made by Masdar this year to develop 5 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects across Angola, Uganda and Zambia.

"Africa has what it takes to become the world’s renewable energy powerhouse," Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 president, said in the statement.

"The UAE stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends in Africa as we strive to secure a just energy transition at this COP of action and COP for all."

Angola wants to increase its national electrification to around 60% by 2025; less than half of the population has access to electricity at present, the statement said.


UAE Says It Concludes Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

 The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)
The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)
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UAE Says It Concludes Free Trade Agreement with Colombia

 The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)
The United Arab Emirates flag flies in front of the Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai. (Reuters file photo)

The UAE said on Saturday it had concluded the terms of a trade deal with Colombia, which it called the first such bilateral agreement between the Gulf and South America.

"The UAE and Colombia have concluded the terms of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement – the first bilateral trade deal between the Gulf and South America," Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE minister of State for Foreign Trade, wrote on X.

"We can look ahead to a new era of cooperation that will deliver growth for both nations."

UAE state news agency WAM said the deal, once implemented, will "remove or reduce tariffs on the majority of product lines, eliminate unnecessary barriers to trade, improve market access and deepen collaboration" across a variety of sectors, including energy, telecommunications, tourism and food production.


US Lays Out Plan at COP28 to Slash Climate ‘Super Pollutant’ from Oil and Gas

 Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
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US Lays Out Plan at COP28 to Slash Climate ‘Super Pollutant’ from Oil and Gas

 Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)
Michael Regan, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at the US Center at the COP28 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP)

The Biden administration on Saturday unveiled final rules aimed at cracking down on US oil and gas industry releases of methane, part of a global plan to rein in emissions that contribute to climate change.

The rules, two years in the making, were announced by US officials at the United Nations COP28 climate change conference in Dubai. The United States and other nations attending the summit were expected to detail how they will achieve a 150-country pledge made two years ago to slash methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030.

Methane tends to leak into the atmosphere undetected from drill sites, gas pipelines and other oil and gas equipment. It has more warming potential than carbon dioxide and breaks down in the atmosphere faster, so reining in methane emissions can have a more immediate impact on limiting climate change.

"On day one, President Biden restored America's critical role as the global leader in confronting climate change, and today we've backed up that commitment with strong action," US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.

EPA's new policies would ban routine flaring of natural gas produced by newly drilled oil wells, require oil companies to monitor for leaks from well sites and compressor stations and establishes a program to use third party remote sensing to detect large methane releases from so-called "super emitters," the agency said in a statement.

The rules would prevent an estimated 58 million tons of methane from reaching the atmosphere between 2024 and 2038 -- nearly the equivalent of all the carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector in the year 2021, EPA added.

Environmental groups praised the rules.

"Strong methane standards are essential to curb climate pollution and better protect the health and safety of workers and communities living near fossil fuel extraction," Earthjustice's vice president of litigation for climate and energy, Jill Tauber, said in a statement.

The rule will produce climate and health benefits of up to $7.6 billion a year through 2038, EPA said. It will also increase recovery of up to $13 billion of natural gas over the time period.

The rule differs somewhat from draft proposals EPA released in 2021 and 2022, in part by giving the industry more time to comply.

The agency also tweaked the Super Emitter Program so that third parties send information on methane leaks to EPA directly for verification. Previously they would have been able to send the information directly to companies, a provision the oil and gas industry said would put too much power in the hands of environmental groups that search for methane leaks.

The American Petroleum Institute, an oil and gas industry trade group, said it was reviewing the rule.

"To be truly effective, this rule must balance emissions reductions with the need to continue meeting rising energy demand," Dustin Meyer, API senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.


Saudi Arabia to Host UNIDO 21st General Conference in 2025

UNIDO 20th General Conference
UNIDO 20th General Conference
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Saudi Arabia to Host UNIDO 21st General Conference in 2025

UNIDO 20th General Conference
UNIDO 20th General Conference

Saudi Arabia has been selected to host the 21st session of the General Conference of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Riyadh in November 2025 following a resolution adopted by acclamation by the 172 members of the Vienna-based organization, SPA said on Saturday.
The Kingdom’s selection came during the 20th session of the UNIDO General Conference held in the Austrian capital, Vienna, with the participation of an official Saudi delegation, headed by Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef.
On the occasion, Alkhorayef extended his thanks and gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, for their support to the ministry and the industrial sector.