RIYADH: Water desalination in Saudi Arabia has doubled over the past decade to reach 2.2 billion cubic meters in 2021, up from 1.1 billion cubic meters per year in 2010, thanks to a major overhaul of some existing plants and the introduction of new technologies.
For instance, Jubail 2, one of the Kingdom’s largest water desalination plants that serve Riyadh and Jubail, increased its annual production capacity by roughly 30 percent to 380 million cubic meters in 2021 from under 300 million cubic meters in 2014.
However, to meet the growing domestic demand for water, the desalination industry in the Kingdom is all poised to consider making another breakthrough.
A brief history outlined below shows water desalination plays a vital role in the Kingdom’s economy.
The process of water desalination in the Kingdom dates back to the early 1900s, when Jeddah became the first city to install two privately-owned distillation condensers to meet the city’s rising demand.
Yanbu and Jazan, the other coastal cities of the Kingdom, followed the same approach of developing their private seawater distillation condensers until the entire industry was nationalized and regulated under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in 1965.
As the method started gaining popularity in the region, the Saline Water Conversion Corp. was founded as an independent government entity in 1974 to promote and regulate water distillation operations in the Kingdom.
Although it started as costly and inefficient, it was crucial for the Kingdom’s increasing population needs.
Further, its geographic location puts it at a disadvantage in accessing different types of water resources like, for example, rainfall.
Therefore, its options were limited to shallow and deep groundwater and desalinated water.
The rise in population to 33.5 million in 2018 from just 25.2 million in 2007 brought about a 70 percent increase in potable water demand, according to a research report published in the Journal of Water Process Engineering back in 2019.
The report added that it would be impossible for groundwater to last 50 years at this consumption rate, highlighting the option of water desalination, which has been strategically considered and implemented by the government.
In 2010, SWCC produced some 1.1 billion cubic meters of water at its 30 desalination plants located on the east and west coasts of the Kingdom, which met approximately 50 percent of the domestic water demand in the Kingdom.
The company further improved its capacity to 5.2 million cubic meters per day of water or 1.9 billion cubic meters a year, in 2018.
In 2021, SWCC produced 2.2 billion cubic meters of water and operated 32 production plants. As a byproduct of water distillation, it generated 47 million megawatts per hour of electricity.
In major cities, the desalinated share in total water consumption is pretty high, especially in the cities like Makkah, Jeddah and Taif where almost all of their drinking water comes from nearby desalination plants.
The share for Riyadh and the Kingdom stood at 63-64 percent in 2020.
Thermal distillation and reverse osmosis are the two most popular methods used to convert seawater into potable water.
The former uses heat to vaporize seawater, separating the salt from the water, and then the vaporized gas is cooled down into the water through condensation.
The latter passes seawater through a semipermeable membrane that separates salt from water, wasting less energy in the process.
Moreover, SWCC has partaken in two renewable energy projects being developed in alignment with the Vision 2030 blueprint.
The future of water desalination in Saudi Arabia looks promising and challenging simultaneously. Therefore, SWCC aims to take on more renewable sources for its water desalination projects, to reduce the conversion cost, thereby improving conversion efficiency and cutting carbon emissions simultaneously.
Assuming the current population growth rates hold through the next 10-15 years, the Kingdom may require a desalinated water capacity of up to 4.5 billion cubic meters per year in 2040, a profound research report released in 2014 suggested. In effect, the output will be required to double again from the 2021 production level.
No matter how efficient or productive methods of water desalination get, at this rate, Saudi Arabia will have to resort to methods of decreasing demand, whether it is through awareness campaigns or imposing taxes on high water usage.
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.