Saudi Insurance Market Braces for Acquisition, Mergers

Healthcare companies in the Saudi market achieved record revenues (SPA)
Healthcare companies in the Saudi market achieved record revenues (SPA)
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Saudi Insurance Market Braces for Acquisition, Mergers

Healthcare companies in the Saudi market achieved record revenues (SPA)
Healthcare companies in the Saudi market achieved record revenues (SPA)

Saudi Arabia announced the establishment of the Insurance Authority (IA), reflecting a significant step forward in building a strong, vital, and stable insurance sector in the Kingdom.

Health projects in the Kingdom are improving, as the sector expects 100 new projects in health services in partnership between the government and the private sector over the next five years, with an estimated capital investment opportunity at $13 billion.

Saudi Shura Council member Fadel al-Buainain believes the Insurance Authority would contribute to pushing and stimulating mergers and acquisitions between insurance companies.

Buainain said that the Authority is expected to enhance mergers and acquisitions in the sector to create strong entities capable of growing, meeting needs, and effectively contributing to the economy.

He explained that some companies in the sector suffer from weak solvency and accumulated losses, among other issues.

The private health sector witnessed significant growth and development because of the insurance sector, said Buainain, adding that the Authority is expected to contribute to the development of health insurance and boost insurance companies.

He explained that this would help the companies meet the needs of the health sector in the future with the privatization of the health sector, increasing the demand for insurance.

Meanwhile, a member of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Economic Association (SEA), Saad al-Thaqfan, confirmed that mergers and acquisitions in the insurance sector during the coming period would increase their shares.

He noted that two companies control approximately 50 percent of the market, while all companies share the other 50 percent.

Thaqfan pointed out that the Authority will positively impact the insurance sector by focusing on structuring, developing, and supervising it.

He asserted that these sectors would continue to grow, particularly with individuals entering the labor market.

During the past decade, the insurance sector could not establish insurance companies with high creditworthiness, except for a few major companies.

During January 2021, several companies were under mergers and acquisitions, such as Walaa Cooperative Insurance, MetLife, Gulf Union Insurance, and al-Ahlia Insurance.

In 2022, the insurance sector grew 27 percent, while the insurance sector index recorded a growth of 55 percent since the beginning of the current year 2023.

The insurance sector is worth over $14 billion, with a 2.09 percent share of gross domestic product.

- The health sector

Healthcare companies in the Saudi market achieved record revenues exceeding $4.5 billion during the past year, with a growth rate of 14.2 percent. Net profits amounted to more than $800,000,000 million, with a growth rate of 22.8 percent over the previous year.

The net profit margin of companies increased during the past year to 17.5 percent, compared to about 16.3 percent for the previous year.

The health and social development sector expenditures from the general budget during the first half of this year amounted to $34 billion, constituting about 21.2 percent of the budget expenditures for 2023 and 28.5 percent more than the corresponding period last year.



Saudi Arabia Hosts Ministers, Officials on World Tourism Day

The logo of World Tourism Day in Riyadh that will kick off on September 27. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The logo of World Tourism Day in Riyadh that will kick off on September 27. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia Hosts Ministers, Officials on World Tourism Day

The logo of World Tourism Day in Riyadh that will kick off on September 27. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The logo of World Tourism Day in Riyadh that will kick off on September 27. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Leaders from across the global tourism sector flocked to Riyadh for the most significant event in the tourism sector in 43 years, World Tourism Day (WTD).

The event, which kicked off on Wednesday, is a key driver for the global economy after it came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic and slowed down further following the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

More than 500 government officials, industry leaders, and experts from 120 countries are set to attend World Tourism Day to foster global collaboration.

They aim to examine investment opportunities and strengthen the resilience of the tourism industry, steering the sector towards an investment-led and sustainably focused future.

Over the past year, tourism's contribution to Saudi Arabia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has surged from three to seven percent.

The Saudi Ministry of Tourism said the event in Riyadh is the largest ever in the event's 43-year history.

It welcomed all the participants to Riyadh on World Tourism Day, aiming to promote strategic priorities and discuss key issues related to the tourism sector.

The organizers are gearing up to discuss several critical issues that could lead to recommendations aimed at propelling the global tourism sector to achieve higher growth rates.

Some key topics that will be covered include intercultural dialogue, global tourism investment, green investment, and enhancing innovation in the tourism sector.

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 places tourism as one of its pillars, targeting around 100 million annual visits by 2030.

However, Saudi Arabia's unprecedented success has prompted it to target 150 million annual visits, up from the 100 million set over seven years ago.

In a recent interview, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed al-Khatib stated that the tourism sector doubled over the past two years, expecting it to double again in the next two.

Khatib added that Saudi Arabia aims to attract 70 million visits from abroad by 2030 under the new target, representing approximately half of the total visits.

He noted that the number of international tourist visits reached 30 million this year, even before the opening of NEOM, Diriyah, The Red Sea Project, and Qiddiya, which are expected to bring a qualitative shift to Saudi tourism.

Saudi tourism allocated about $160 million for launching this year's summer campaign to promote tourist destinations within the Kingdom, as announced by Khatib in May.

He pointed out that the number of international tourists arriving for various purposes in Saudi Arabia reached 7.8 million during the first quarter of this year, marking a 64 percent growth compared to the first quarter of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.


Jeddah Islamic Port Sets Record with 495,000 TEUs

Handing over awards to "Mawani" at the recent transportation and logistics ceremony (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Handing over awards to "Mawani" at the recent transportation and logistics ceremony (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Jeddah Islamic Port Sets Record with 495,000 TEUs

Handing over awards to "Mawani" at the recent transportation and logistics ceremony (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Handing over awards to "Mawani" at the recent transportation and logistics ceremony (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Jeddah Islamic Port has set a new record for the biggest volume ever processed across its facilities over 30 days, handling 495,000 TEUs during July.

The latest milestone continues a course dating back to last year, which saw a record 4.96 million TEUs passing through the Kingdom's busiest Port, a 1.57 percent year-on-year increase compared to 2021.

The figures underscore the pivotal regional and global significance of the Port in line with Saudi Arabia's National Transport and Logistics Strategy.

The Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry have agreed to establish an integrated logistics zone in the port, with an investment value of one billion riyals ($266 million).

The logistics development aims to enhance MAWANI's position as a significant player in the national transportation sector and boost the Kingdom's drive to become a global logistics destination.

MAWANI won the Sea Port of The Year award, represented by Jeddah Port, and the Digital Transition Award at the 7th edition of the International Green Shipping Summit, held in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam.

Jeddah Islamic Port received various awards, including eighth place in the 2021 Container Ports Performance Index issued by the World Bank and Standard & Poor's Global Market Intelligence.

MAWANI stated that winning the "Customer Experience Excellence" award underscores the exceptional efforts to enhance the experience for beneficiaries and port clients.

Additionally, MAWANI unveiled the new Customer Service Center as part of its comprehensive plan to enhance its services and offer outstanding services to its clients, aiming to achieve the highest standards of quality and speed in all services.

Notably, the Awards for Transport and Logistics is a regional platform that measures the achievements of organizations and individuals across various relevant sectors, acknowledging all efforts, strategies, and outstanding performance in transportation and logistics.


Morocco Aims to Become Key Player in Green Hydrogen

A picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows an aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, ahead of its inauguration. (AFP)
A picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows an aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, ahead of its inauguration. (AFP)
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Morocco Aims to Become Key Player in Green Hydrogen

A picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows an aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, ahead of its inauguration. (AFP)
A picture taken on February 4, 2016 shows an aerial view of the solar mirrors at the Noor 1 Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant, some 20km (12.5 miles) outside the central Moroccan town of Ouarzazate, ahead of its inauguration. (AFP)

Morocco has voiced ambitious plans to become North Africa's top player in the emerging "green hydrogen" sector, with plans to export the clean-burning fuel to Europe.

Hydrogen is seen as a clean energy source that can help the world phase out fossil fuels and reduce atmospheric carbon emissions in the battle to slow global warming.

Morocco, which already runs large solar power plants, also hopes to harness green hydrogen -- the kind made without burning fossil fuels -- for its sizeable fertilizer sector.

Around 1.5 million acres (6,000 square kilometers) of public land -- nearly the size of Kuwait -- have been set aside for green hydrogen and ammonia plants, the economy ministry says.

King Mohammed VI has hailed a national green hydrogen plan dubbed l'Offre Maroc (the Moroccan Offer) and called for its "rapid and qualitative implementation".

Speaking in July, before the country's earthquake disaster, he said Morocco must take advantage of "the projects supported by international investors in this promising sector".

Local media have reported about investment plans by Australian, British, French, German and Indian companies.

Fertilizer sales

Hydrogen can be extracted from water by passing a strong electrical current through it.

This separates the hydrogen from the oxygen, a process called electrolysis.

If the power used is clean -- such as solar or wind -- the fuel is called "green hydrogen", which is itself emission-free when burnt.

But there are problems: hydrogen is highly explosive and hard to store and transport. This has set back hydrogen fuel cell cars in the race against electric vehicles using lithium-ion batteries.

However, experts say green hydrogen also has a big role to play in decarbonizing energy-intensive industries that cannot easily be electrified such as steel, cement and chemicals.

Powering blast furnaces with hydrogen, for example, offers the promise of making "green steel".

Hydrogen can also be converted into ammonia, to store the energy or as a major input in synthetic fertilizers.

Morocco is already a major player in the global fertilizer market, thanks mainly to its immense phosphate reserves.

It profited after fertilizer shortages sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent prices up to 1,000 euros ($1,060) per ton.

Morocco's state Phosphate Office has announced plans to quickly produce a million tons of "green ammonia" from green hydrogen and triple the amount by 2032.

Solar power

Analysts caution that Morocco still has some way to go with its ambitious green fertilizer plans.

The sector is "embryonic and the large global projects will not see the light of day until three to five years from now", said Samir Rachidi, director of the Moroccan research institute IRESEN.

Morocco's advantage is that it has already bet heavily on clean energy over the past 15 years.

Solar, wind and other clean energy make up 38 percent of production, and the goal is to reach 52 percent by 2030.

For now green hydrogen is more expensive than the highly polluting "brown hydrogen" made using coal or "grey hydrogen" produced from natural gas.

The goal is to keep green hydrogen production below $1-$2 per kilogram, Ahmed Reda Chami, president of the Economic, Social and Environmental Counsel, told the weekly La Vie Eco.

Rachidi of IRESEN said water-scarce Morocco must also step up the desalination of seawater for the process.

It must build "an industrial value chain which begins with seawater desalinization plants for electrolysis, electricity storage, to transportation and hydrogen marketing", he said.

Already hit by droughts that threaten its farm sector, Morocco has announced plans to add seven desalinization plants to its 12 existing facilities.

Regional contest

Morocco is competing on green hydrogen with other regional countries from Egypt to Mauritania.

Business consultants Deloitte have predicted that North Africa will be the world's largest green hydrogen-exporting region by 2050, reshuffling the global energy cards.

Algeria, a major fossil fuel exporter, can capitalize on "one of the most important potentials in the world" in terms of solar and wind energy and gas pipeline infrastructure, said Rabah Sellami, director of its Renewable Energies Commission.

Currently, Algeria produces only three percent of its electricity through renewables, but is investing heavily to boost capacity.

Algeria has numerous desalinization plants whose capacity is set to more than double to two billion cubic meters (about 70 billion cubic feet) in 2030.

Its roadmap for green hydrogen targets "production of one million tons for export to the European market" and 250,000 tons for domestic consumption, said Sellami.

Tunisia also wants to enter the fray, provided it can build up its renewables production, said its energy ministry's general director Belhassen Chiboub.

It hopes to grow clean power output from three percent now to 35 percent by 2030.

If it meets that target, Chiboub predicted, "it will be able to export between 5.5 and six million tons of green hydrogen to Europe by 2050".


‘Fertile Ground’: Baghdad Sees Timid Revival with Investment Drive

Workers rehabilitate a road as part of public works on the outskirts of Baghdad on September 15, 2023. (AFP)
Workers rehabilitate a road as part of public works on the outskirts of Baghdad on September 15, 2023. (AFP)
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‘Fertile Ground’: Baghdad Sees Timid Revival with Investment Drive

Workers rehabilitate a road as part of public works on the outskirts of Baghdad on September 15, 2023. (AFP)
Workers rehabilitate a road as part of public works on the outskirts of Baghdad on September 15, 2023. (AFP)

On a summer evening, Iraqis smoke shisha and go bowling at a sprawling riverside complex in Baghdad, one of the many new investments reviving the capital after decades of turmoil.

"Iraq is fertile ground for investments," said Falah Hassan, the executive director of the complex of restaurants and shops built on the grounds of one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces and named after the famed "One Thousand and One Nights" folktales.

In oil-rich Iraq, the fragile stability since the defeat of the ISIS group in 2017 has paved the way for a building boom in a city that in recent years has mainly made headlines for wars and bloody violence.

Since taking office in October, Iraq's Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani has sought to rehabilitate Baghdad's infrastructure, much of which has been left dilapidated by conflict and neglect.

But a World Bank report in July said investors were still hesitant to put their money in Iraq, citing a "lack of business-friendly legislation, a volatile security environment, administrative inefficiencies, and systemic corruption".

Hassan acknowledged investors still faced numerous obstacles, including "the security situation" and "bureaucracy".

"You have to go through 1,000 counters to get a single permit," he said, noting the new "1,001 Nights Park" complex perched on Baghdad's Tigris river was opened in late 2022 by "young investors".

'Epidemic of corruption'

This is a reality authorities say they are committed to changing to attract investors.

In late August, Sudani attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a luxury hotel and residential complex, the first major Qatari investment in Baghdad.

"From the prime minister to the lowest-ranking official, we will stand alongside investors and the private sector to carry out projects in Baghdad and the provinces," the Iraqi leader said.

At the United Nations General Assembly last week, Sudani said "our top priority is the fight against the epidemic of corruption".

But experts say dirty money is behind many of the new developments seen in Baghdad.

"In recent years, Iraq's political elite and their business associates have preferred to invest their wealth in local projects as a safe haven for ill-gotten gains," wrote Hayder al-Shakeri in a piece for the Institute of Regional and International Studies at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani.

"In part to disguise the origins of their illegally obtained funds, the political elite have allegedly taken to investing in upscale residential compounds, malls, private universities, and other real estate ventures, resulting in a 'visible boom' in Baghdad's development," he added.

In less than a year, Sudani has undertaken work to provide improved water and electricity services to Baghdad's informal neighborhoods, construct bridges and redesign the streets of one of the Arab world's most populous cities.

In the 2023-2025 budget passed this year, annual investment expenses are set to hit $37 billion -- three times the amount in 2022, the World Bank reported.

These generous allocations are made possible by Iraq's tremendous oil wealth and foreign reserves, which amount to more than $100 billion.

'No water, no electricity'

In the neighborhood of Kufa on Baghdad's outskirts, a bulldozer digs up the road to install pipes, while a dump truck removes the rubble.

A special unit is working to rehabilitate the many informal neighborhoods of Baghdad "deprived of services for more than 20 years", said Abdel Razzak Abd Mhessein, the project's head engineer.

The unit is made up of people from various ministries, state-owned enterprises as well as engineers from the army and paramilitary network, the Popular Mobilization Forces.

"We have a budget of about 200 billion dinars ($150 million) for infrastructure work for water, sewer systems and more," the engineer told AFP.

"There are more than 1,093 informal neighborhoods in Baghdad -- a plan has been prepared to gradually carry out work there," he added.

The public's reaction to the work so far has been mixed.

"This is what we dreamed of. Paved roads, and services," said Abu Ali al-Bahadli, a 55-year-old day laborer.

"Before, we couldn't go out when it rained. The road was muddy and the sewers overflowed."

His neighbor, Ahmed Radi, is more skeptical, noting work on his street had not brought him adequate electricity or running water.

"Tell me, which official would accept staying even an hour without water," said the 45-year-old civil servant.

"When will they install pavements? Storm water drains?" he asked.

"We come home tired from work. There's no water, no electricity. For how much longer?"


Eni Wins 2 Blocks Outright in Egypt Oil and Gas Exploration Round

Flames shoot out of a chimney at Petroleum and Natural Gas company factories by a salt lake at the Wadi al-Qamar (Moon Valley) along a highway of Alexandria, Egypt December 6, 2020. (Reuters)
Flames shoot out of a chimney at Petroleum and Natural Gas company factories by a salt lake at the Wadi al-Qamar (Moon Valley) along a highway of Alexandria, Egypt December 6, 2020. (Reuters)
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Eni Wins 2 Blocks Outright in Egypt Oil and Gas Exploration Round

Flames shoot out of a chimney at Petroleum and Natural Gas company factories by a salt lake at the Wadi al-Qamar (Moon Valley) along a highway of Alexandria, Egypt December 6, 2020. (Reuters)
Flames shoot out of a chimney at Petroleum and Natural Gas company factories by a salt lake at the Wadi al-Qamar (Moon Valley) along a highway of Alexandria, Egypt December 6, 2020. (Reuters)

Italy's Eni was the big winner in an Egyptian auction for oil and gas exploration rights on Tuesday, securing concessions for two of the four blocks outright, according to results from the petroleum ministry.

The company also won a third block with BP and QatarEnergy in the Mediterranean Sea, while Russia's Zarubezhneft was awarded a block in the Nile Delta.

Zarubezhneft's win is a rare expansion abroad by a Russian company since Moscow's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Zarubezhneft already operates in seven countries, including Egypt where it is a party to production sharing agreements at offshore blocks.

Zarubezhneft declined to comment further.

Egypt, which faces growing demand for gas from its population of 105 million, has been trying to position itself as a regional energy hub, selling its own gas and re-exporting Israeli gas as liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

However, the country faced some power cuts in the summer and its natural gas production has fallen to a three-year low.

The government in July announced the start of a $1.8 billion program to drill natural gas exploration wells in the Mediterranean Sea and Nile Delta.


Saudi Arabia to Host Energy Convention in May 2024

The Saudi Energy Convention will feature over 250 international speakers and decision-makers. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Saudi Energy Convention will feature over 250 international speakers and decision-makers. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia to Host Energy Convention in May 2024

The Saudi Energy Convention will feature over 250 international speakers and decision-makers. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The Saudi Energy Convention will feature over 250 international speakers and decision-makers. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Arabia will be at the forefront of renewable energy, hydrogen, and water advancements as it gears to host the Saudi Energy Convention in May 2024.

The Convention will feature over 250 international speakers leading over 50 conference sessions, providing visitors with essential insights into the latest energy trends and strategies.

The event, organized by dmg events, will be held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre (RICEC) as the Kingdom's first event designed to focus on energy, hydrogen, and water.

Vision 2030 aims to see the Kingdom become one of the most competitive in the world by the end of the decade, with an economy powered by renewable energy, a burgeoning private sector, and thriving small and medium enterprises.

The Kingdom's ongoing socioeconomic reforms have already enabled it to become the fastest-growing G20 economy in 2022, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with overall economic growth reaching 8.7 percent.

The Convention will convene leaders and experts across the energy value chain to accelerate and scale the energy transition.

The event will gather the people and solutions required to build a more resilient, efficient, and eco-conscious energy landscape, covering both the conventional and renewable energy sectors.

Furthermore, the conference will address solutions needed for a more flexible, efficient energy landscape that prioritizes environmental preservation.

Specialized sub-conferences will be dedicated to each energy, water, and hydrogen theme, gathering sector leaders to deliberate on vital opportunities and challenges.

President of dmg events Christopher Hudson said the Saudi Energy Convention will be a new focal point for the global energy industry.

The new event is designed to respond to the great investment and collaboration opportunities as the Kingdom leverages its passion, ambition, and resources to provide the world with a new economic and social strength model, he added.

"We look forward to having the Saudi Energy Convention play a key role in facilitating the partnerships, innovation, and investment in energy, hydrogen, and water that can fast-track Saudi Arabia's ongoing transformation and growth," said Hudson.

The Saudi Energy Convention also includes the Saudi Water Convention and the Saudi Hydrogen Convention, providing a 360-degree view of Saudi Arabia's forward-looking energy diversification and economic development efforts.

All these events will create an integrated platform for Saudi Arabia that addresses the challenges facing the entire energy value chain and the pivotal role of hydrogen and water in the energy transition.

The three conventions will jointly showcase the latest innovative solutions accelerating the global energy transition and support Saudi Arabia's goals of seeing renewable energy meet 50 percent of its energy mix and becoming net zero for carbon emissions by 2060.

The conventions will offer direct access to financiers from key infrastructure and utilities projects within the Kingdom, alongside international investors and decision-makers, facilitating new growth opportunities and commercial partnerships.

Saudi Arabia is among the world's fastest-growing economies, with national development plans paving the way for investment opportunities worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Kingdom is witnessing unprecedented growth, aligned with the national strategy anticipated to draw in $90 billion in energy investments and $53 billion in water sector investments to cater to domestic demand.

Additionally, the Kingdom is eyeing investments exceeding $36 billion as part of its national hydrogen strategy, aiming to position Saudi Arabia as the world's premier hydrogen supplier.


Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum Launches Bidding Round for Oil, Gas Exploration in 23 New Blocks

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows light around the site of the Iconic Tower skyscraper in the Central Business District (CBD) in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt August 2, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows light around the site of the Iconic Tower skyscraper in the Central Business District (CBD) in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt August 2, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
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Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum Launches Bidding Round for Oil, Gas Exploration in 23 New Blocks

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows light around the site of the Iconic Tower skyscraper in the Central Business District (CBD) in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt August 2, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows light around the site of the Iconic Tower skyscraper in the Central Business District (CBD) in the New Administrative Capital (NAC) east of Cairo, Egypt August 2, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/File Photo

Egypt's Petroleum Ministry launched an international bidding round for exploration in 23 open blocks, with the offer deadline set for Feb. 25, marking a significant expansion in the nation's energy sector.  

According to a press release acquired by Asharq Al-Awsat, the round includes ten areas in Egypt's Western Desert, two in the Eastern Desert, seven in the Gulf of Suez, and four in the Red Sea.  

Egypt, the most populous Arab country, has sought to position itself as a regional energy hub.  

Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla stated that the new bid includes new areas for exploration and research, employing the latest digital tools and methods.  

It provides a highly advanced marketing window for available petroleum opportunities.  

The new bid considers the diversity of sectors offered in all petroleum regions, said Molla, noting that it introduces a new offering in the Red Sea areas.  

The Red Sea witnessed advanced seismic surveys, resulting in valuable geological data processed according to advanced global standards.  

Egypt continues its efforts to increase its production of petroleum resources and boost the planned investments, enriching the production process and geological databases for petroleum production regions, according to Molla.  

Meanwhile, the ministry announced Monday that the General Petroleum Company added an estimated reserve of approximately 38.3 million barrels of oil equivalent during the fiscal year ending in June.  

A separate press statement noted that the company achieved its highest-ever production rate during the 2022-2023 fiscal year, registering approximately 74,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent.  

The statement also highlighted the Minister's directive during the general assembly of the Cooperation and Egypt Petroleum Companies, urging expansion in providing refueling services for aircraft and ships.  

Additionally, he emphasized the importance of expanding the production of mineral oils and specialized products, including high-quality chemicals and industrial detergents. 


Saudi Arabia Launches Its First National Nuclear Power Plant

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the IAEA (SPA)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the IAEA (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia Launches Its First National Nuclear Power Plant

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the IAEA (SPA)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman at the IAEA (SPA)

Saudi Arabia is closely cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is actively working to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy in various fields, announced Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman.

Prince Abdulaziz announced the Kingdom's support for the 'Rays of Hope' initiative launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with a contribution amounting to $2.5 million. It aims to save lives and address the burden of cancer by using nuclear techniques.

The Minister addressed the Kingdom's perspective at the 67th General Assembly meeting of IAEA in Vienna. Representatives from the agency's 177 member countries attended the meeting held between September 25th and 29th.

At the onset of his speech, the Minister reaffirmed the Kingdom's commitment to its national nuclear energy policy, emphasizing the utmost standards of transparency, reliability, and top-tier safety measures.

He elaborated that Saudi Arabia believes in the positive contributions of nuclear energy to energy security and its social and economic benefits.

The Kingdom is working to develop peaceful uses for nuclear energy across various fields through close cooperation with IAEA, including the Saudi National Atomic Energy Project and its components, and building the first nuclear energy power plant.

The Minister said that the Kingdom is looking forward to operating a regional cooperation center with the IAEA to develop human capabilities in the areas of preparedness and response to radiological and nuclear emergencies, as well as other regulatory aspects at national, regional, and international levels.

Saudi Arabia emphasizes the importance of concerted international efforts to implement the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, ensuring its universal adherence, he said, reaffirming the significance of countering nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.

"In this regard, we reaffirm the importance of fully implementing Resolution 1995, which aims to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East," the Minister said.

Furthermore, he congratulated the IAEA and its member states on the upcoming Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre launch in Seibersdorf, scheduled to be operational in October of this year. Saudi Arabia and other countries collaborated on establishing and funding it.

The Kingdom hopes this center will serve as a key enabler for the agency in strengthening the capabilities of all member states in many areas of nuclear security.

The Minister voiced the Kingdom's appreciation for the IAEA's role in maintaining neutrality and its outstanding efforts in dealing with non-proliferation issues by maintaining its safeguards and verification responsibilities.

He also expressed the Kingdom's appreciation for the agency's efforts in ensuring that these activities represent important principles and contribute effectively to the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Prince Abdulaziz affirmed Saudi Arabia's inherent right to benefit from peaceful nuclear technology, including the nuclear fuel cycle, and to benefit from its natural resources of uranium ores commercially under relevant international treaties and agreements.

Saudi Arabia supports the agency to harness nuclear technology for humanity, calling on the International Community to cooperate actively in developing and addressing all attempts at non-peaceful and unsafe uses of nuclear technologies.

Delegates will discuss various issues throughout the week, including the 2022 annual report and 2024 budget, to enhance activities related to nuclear science and technology and its applications.

It also includes the agency's activities in nuclear safety and security and enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the agency's assurances.

The International Atomic Energy Agency states that the "Rays of Hope" initiative has started to impact by expanding the scope of access to radiation therapy, medical imaging, and nuclear medicine services in low and middle-income countries.


Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Concludes Official Visit to China

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, chaired the Kingdom’s delegation to China.(SPA)
Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, chaired the Kingdom’s delegation to China.(SPA)
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Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Concludes Official Visit to China

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, chaired the Kingdom’s delegation to China.(SPA)
Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, chaired the Kingdom’s delegation to China.(SPA)

Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, concluded his official visit to China, which lasted for eight days, during which he met with Chinese ministers, officials, and investors, SPA said on Tuesday.

He visited companies and factories in four Chinese cities, chairing the Kingdom’s delegation, which participated as a guest of honor in the conference of China and Arab countries.

During his visit, Al-Khorayef met with the Minister of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China, Jin Zhuanglong, and discussed with him the ways for enhancing cooperation and partnership between the two countries in the industrial sector, exchanging expertise and technology, and expanding mutual investment opportunities between the two nations.

He also met with the Chinese Minister of Natural Resources, Wang Guanghua, and Li Jinfa, the vice president of China Geological Survey, and discussed with them the opportunities and challenges facing the mining sector and enhancing cooperation to increase growth in the mining and metals industry in the region.

The industry minister also discussed with the President of China Mining Association (CMA), Peng Qiming, and the Director of the China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, GE Honglin, the efforts to promote economic growth and infrastructure development in the mining sector.

Khalid Al-Salem, the president of the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu, Khaled Al-Mudaifer, the vice minister for mining affairs, and several leaders of the industry and mineral wealth system accompanied the minister of industry and mineral resources during his visit.

The visit aims to discuss many issues of interest to the countries, especially in the industrial and mining sectors, and to expand the horizons of strategic cooperation between the two friendly countries.


Saudi Arabia, IAEA Sign 'Junior Professionals Program Agreement' 

Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and IAEA Director Genera Rafael Grossi during the signing ceremony. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and IAEA Director Genera Rafael Grossi during the signing ceremony. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia, IAEA Sign 'Junior Professionals Program Agreement' 

Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and IAEA Director Genera Rafael Grossi during the signing ceremony. (SPA)
Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz and IAEA Director Genera Rafael Grossi during the signing ceremony. (SPA)

Saudi Minister of Energy and Chairman of the Board of Directors of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz signed on Monday the "Junior Professionals Program Agreement" with Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi.

The agreement aims to train and develop young national human resources in various fields related to the technical aspects of the IAEA and beyond, enabling them to acquire expertise in areas that support the UN agency and address international issues discussed on its premises.

The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of the 67th Regular Session of the IAEA General Conference in the Austrian capital, Vienna.