MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday it was “impossible” to isolate Moscow and vowed to cut gas and oil deliveries to countries imposing a price cap on supplies.
Speaking Wednesday at an economic forum, over six months after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine, the Russian leader sought to pivot toward allies in Asia, the Middle East and Africa as his country faces a barrage of Western sanctions.
“No matter how much someone would like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do this,” Putin told the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok.
He said the coronavirus pandemic has been replaced by other global challenges “threatening the whole world,” including “sanctions fever in the West.”
Putin has repeatedly said that Russia’s economy is weathering the barrage of sanctions well, as the Kremlin’s ties with the West sink to new lows.
On Wednesday, he vowed to cut off any countries imposing price caps on oil and gas exports, just as the EU proposed to do just that.
Capping prices “would be an absolutely stupid decision,” Putin said.
“We will not supply anything at all if it is contrary to our interests, in this case economic (interests),” he said.
“No gas, no oil, no coal, no fuel oil, nothing.”
Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russian supplies, has accused Moscow of using energy as a weapon and on Wednesday, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen proposed that member states agree a price cap.
G7 industrialized powers on Friday vowed to move urgently toward implementing a price cap on Russian oil imports, in a bid to cut off a major source of funding for Moscow’s military action in Ukraine.
“Those who are trying to impose something on us are in no position today to dictate their will,” Putin said.
“They should come to their senses.”
Von der Leyen’s remarks come days after Russia closed the key Nord Stream pipeline to Europe, saying it would be under repair for an indefinite period.
“They say that Russia uses energy as a weapon. More nonsense! What weapon do we use? We supply as much as required according to requests” from importers, Putin told the economic forum.
“Give us a turbine, we will turn Nord Stream on tomorrow,” Putin said.
The Kremlin insists sanctions have prevented the proper maintenance of Russian gas infrastructure and, in particular, blocked the return of a Siemens turbine that had been undergoing repairs in Canada.
Putin’s participation in the forum in the Far East — a region with close geopolitical and economic ties to Russia’s neighbors in Asia — comes a day after the Russian president oversaw large-scale military drills there.
The week-long maneuvers, called Vostok-2022, were concluding on Wednesday and involved several Kremlin-friendly countries, including troops sent by Beijing.
As Moscow seeks to bolster ties with Asia — especially key ally China — Putin welcomed the growing role of the Asia-Pacific region in global affairs.
“The role… of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region has significantly increased,” he said at the forum, adding that partnerships will create “colossal new opportunities for our people.”
Putin was joined at Wednesday’s forum by China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu — who ranks third in the Chinese government hierarchy — with a bilateral meeting scheduled for later in the day.
The Russian leader is expected next week to hold an in-person meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, who has not left China since 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The two leaders will meet at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Uzbekistan on September 15 and 16, a Russian diplomat said Wednesday.
Beijing and Moscow have drawn closer in recent years, ramping up cooperation as part of what they call a “no limits” relationship, acting as a counterweight to the global dominance of the United States.
Beijing has refused to condemn Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine, while Moscow was in full solidarity with Beijing during the visit of US House speaker Nancy Pelosi to self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers its territory.
In a sign of further rapprochement, Russia announced Tuesday that China will be switching from US dollars to the national currencies of the two countries — yuan and rubles — to pay for deliveries of Russian natural gas.
RIYADH: The global oil demand is expected to increase over the third quarter to approximately 100.6 million barrels per day, according to a report on petroleum developments in global markets issued by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.
This is in line with expectations that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development group’s demand would rise to about 47 million bpd, and the rest of the world’s demand would rise to about 53.6 million bpd.
This is also despite the fact that preliminary estimates indicate global oil demand fell to about 98.3 million bpd during the second quarter, down by 1 percent from the same period last year.
The report also revealed that OECD demand fell 0.7 percent during the second quarter to about 45.5 million bpd, whereas the remainder of the world’s demand fell 1.2 percent to about 52.8 million bpd.
The monthly average price of OPEC crude oil fell to $108.32 per barrel in July 2022, about 8 percent below the previous month.
OPEC has projected that in 2022 the common annual value of a basket of crude oil will rise to $105.71, an increase of 51.3 percent over the previous year.
The report indicated that the common value of an OPEC crude oil basket reached $117.7 per barrel in June 2022, up 3.3 percent compared with May 2022.
This is primarily due to strong fundamentals in the oil market, high refiner demand, high profit margins, as well as supply disruptions in several key production areas, such as Libya and Ecuador.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main index gained ground in the first session of the week, triggered by higher crude oil prices.
The Tadawul All Share Index gained 0.90 percent to end at 11,940 on Sunday, while the parallel market Nomu added 1.47 percent to 20,737.
Saudi oil giant Aramco climbed 1.5 percent, while Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co. edged down 1.01 percent.
Al Rajhi, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, edged up 1.4 percent, while Alinma Bank advanced 1.78 percent.
The Saudi National Bank, the country’s biggest lender, gained 1.21 percent, while Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, increased 1.59 percent.
Lazurde Co. for Jewelry gained 9.97 percent to lead the gainers early in trading, whileAl-Rajhi Co. for Cooperative Insurance edged down 4.5 percent to lead the fallers.
Abdulmohsen Alhokair Group for Tourism and Development edged up 1.29 percent, as it entered negotiations with its unit to acquire hotels currently leased by the group.
Among the gainers, Seera Group Holding added 7.11 percent, while Alamar Foods Co. increased 6.67 percent.
In energy trading, Brent crude futures closed on Friday higher at $92.84 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate traded at $86.79 a barrel
RIYADH: The second edition of the Saudi International Iron and Steel Conference will kick off on Sept. 12 in Riyadh, with the participation of regional and global industry leaders and experts, as the Kingdom aims to become a major player on the map of the global steel industry.
Organized by the National Iron Industry Committee of the Federation of Saudi Chambers, the event will be held under the patronage of the Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Al-Khorayef, and the Minister of Investment, Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Saudi Arabia’s push to develop the mineral and mining industry comes as a part of the Kindom’s effort to diversify its economy, which has been dependent on oil for several decades.
Touted as the largest of its kind in the region, the event will be inaugurated by Ministers Al-Khorayef and Al-Falih, along with Ajlan bin Abdulaziz Al-Ajlan, president of the Federation of Saudi Chambers.
The first day will witness an exhibition in which the conference sponsors from various prominent steel industries, representing Saudi Arabia, Gulf countries, and international companies, participate.
On the second day, Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajjraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, will deliver a speech.
This will be followed by the first working session, where Osama Al-Zamil, deputy minister of industry and mineral resources; and Khalid Al-Mudaifer, vice-minister for mining affairs, will speak along with other experts.
There will also be a bilateral dialogue session titled ‘The Status of the Iron and Steel Market in the Middle East and North Africa,’ with Edwin Basson, executive director of the World Steel Association.
The third session on the second day, ‘Game Changers in the Global Iron and Steel Market,’ will be held with the participation of five speakers.
Among them will be representatives from the World Steel Association, the Indian Iron Federation, Germany-based Baosteel Europe, a Turkish steel company, and a senior partner of McKinsey Globalism.
The fourth and final session on the second day of the conference, titled ‘Supply Chains, Energy, and Raw Materials,’ will have speakers including Louay Mashabi, undersecretary for logistics services at the Ministry of Transport and Logistics; Abdul Rahman Al-Thukair, CEO of the Saudi Export Development Authority, in addition to three CEOs of the Gulf region and international steel companies.
Earlier in September, the UK-based steelmaker J.O. Steel Holdings announced that it will invest $865 million to build an integrated billet manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia’s Ras Al-Khair Industrial City.
The investment is in line with the Saudi government’s National Steel Strategy, which aims to expand Saudi flat steel production as a part of Vision 2030.
The third and final day of the conference will begin with a speech from Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, the Kingdom’s $500 billion Giga project, followed by another speech from Rayed Al-Ajaji, chairman of the National Iron Committee, and president of the conference.
It will end with a dialogue session titled ‘Lessons Learned and Next Steps’ where Al-Khorayef along with international personalities will talk as keynote speakers.
RIYADH: Spoilz Games, a Riyadh-based video games publisher, is considering listing on the Saudi market in the next three to five years, its CEO told Arab News.
Talking about the attractiveness of the Saudi stock market for tech companies, Musab Al-Malki said it was “too early to think about listing the company.”
“We expect to reach around SR826 million ($220 million) of investments in the next 3-5 years,” he added.
Al-Malki said the growth rate of the company will be around 30 times by 2023 due to huge market demand. The growth pace, he said, “will help us to take quick steps in the coming period.”
Spoliz has grown exponentially since its launch, Al-Malki said, adding that “We are proud of our team growth by 120 percent. We are working with local and global partners, who specialize in talent acquisition, and user acquisition as well.”
He highlighted the growth of the Saudi non-oil sector with a particular reference to the Kingdom’s fast-growing gaming industry. “I believe revenues from the gaming industry were valued at SR6.3 billion in 2021, it is predicted to reach SR18.7 billion by 2025.”
“This makes the Middle East and North African region a key growth area for the global video games industry. Take into consideration, 60 percent of MENA revenues are derived from the Saudi market,” he added.
“At Spoilz, we have developed a strategy to build games that focus mainly on the local market, to create jobs, and assisting other companies or developers to expand and make more games to leverage this high spending growth from local users,” the CEO added.
Al-Malki also spoke about the support, his company received from STC’s InspireU program.
“They are a great supporter for us, they connect us with the right type of local and international advisers, support us with government entity requirements, and provide Spoilz with the right exposure.”
InspireU is an accelerator program launched by Saudi Telecom Co. to support startups and entrepreneurship in the region. Since its inception in 2015, it has helped incubate 75 emerging projects, including Spoilz.
Talking about the launch of a new game, Al Malki said: “It is based on the history of the Arabian peninsula, it will be announced very soon.”
He revealed that the motivators to create the game are “the players,” as they needed something new and unique.
In January, a report from Boston Consulting Group predicted that Saudi Arabia is expected to take a leading role in the gaming and esports industry as consumption is projected to reach $6.8 billion by 2030, up from $959 million in 2020.
The report expected an average annual compounded growth rate of 22 percent for Saudi gaming consumption.
Founded in 2020, Spoilz Games won two prizes in a game jam, organized by Nine66, a subsidiary of PIF-backed Savvy Games Group.
CAIRO: A consortium led by US-based Bechtel has been selected for the front-end engineering and design contract for a unified power system that will link gas infrastructure in Egypt, reported MEED.
The clients of this project are UK-based oil and gas company Shell, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Co., and publicly owned Petronas in Malaysia.
The scope of work includes linking an onshore gas processing plant for the West Delta Deep Marine gas fields in the Mediterranean Sea to the Egyptian Liquefied Nitrogen Gas export terminal on the east of Alexandria.
“The synergies will include optimization of the number of running gas turbine generators, modeling the most efficient operating mode for both plants, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and economizing the fuel consumption in the entire hub,” disclosed Bechtel.
Bahrain’s EWA receives bids for Al DUR IWPP
Deloitte and Touche, KPMG Fakhro, and Ernst & Young Middle East have submitted technical bids for the consultancy services contract for the third phase of Al Dur Independent Water and Power Plant.
The client on the project is Bahrain’s Electricity and Water Authority.
Through this third phase, the project aims to achieve an additional 1,500 to 1,800-megawatt capacity combined cycle power plant and a 50 million imperial gallons per day desalination plant.
Sharjah to begin work on the first Tier 3 data center
A joint venture formed between Khazna Data Centres and BEEAH Digital is on its way to creating the first Tier 3 data center in Sharjah, reported Construction Review Online.
This project will align with the government’s digital transformation initiative, and pave the way for other data centers in the UAE to follow this path.
The nine-Megawatt center will include full redundancy grade power, in addition to environmental control systems and high-tech security.