Iraq to Import Electricity from Jordan

Iraq's Minister of Electricity has announced the successful completion of the electricity connection with Jordan, adding that imports from Jordan will start in the coming days.

Ziad Ali Fadel also confirmed that the electricity connection contracts with neighboring countries are progressing as planned. He clarified that the GCC-Saudi connection is also progressing smoothly, with no problems to report.


Consortium of TotalEnergies, Eni, QatarEnergy Applies for Lebanon Project

A coalition of Total Energies, Eni and Qatar Energy applied for the second licensing round to bid on oil and gas blocks 8 and 10 in Lebanese waters, just an hour before the deadline on Monday, Lebanon's energy ministry said.

The consortium is the same one that last month began drilling an exploratory well in Lebanon’s Block 9, one of the blocks falling alongside the newly delineated maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.

The boundary was drawn last year following US-mediated talks. The deadline to bid on Blocks 8 and 10 had already been extended several times in recent years.


Petroleum Development Oman Looks Forward to Expanding Project Portfolio with UAE

Steve Phimister, Managing Director of Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), said that the company has drawn a clear road map to building a sustainable future, low-carbon and fulfilling climate commitments towards carbon neutrality by 2050. Phimister stressed that the plans of the company and the Sultanate of Oman are consistent with the visions and objectives of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).

In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM) on the sidelines of ADIPEC 2023, Phimister added that the company is looking forward to expanding partnerships that focus on developing core businesses in the field of oil and gas with the UAE and the GCC countries, in an effective and competitive manner, to include expansion in various areas such as carbon capture and storage.

He explained that the company’s portfolio includes more than 150 projects that focus on reducing hydrogen emissions and developing the production base, stressing that PDO is looking forward to adopting modern technologies for carbon capture and storage.

PDO Managing Director explained that the company has developed a road map to remove carbon from its operational base, which includes investing in a number of areas such as solar energy and wind energy. Phimister said that ADIPEC is a prominent platform to attract investments and new solutions to enhance the sustainable energy landscape, reduce carbon emissions and grow business, stressing the company's support for COP28 plans to ensure a sustainable future.


Bahraini Bapco Energies Chairman Joins Global Energy Leaders at Abu Dhabi Event

His Majesty King Hamad’s representative for humanitarian work and youth affairs and Bapco Energies Group chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa has affirmed Bahrain’s keenness to formulate the future of global energy systems, renewing its commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 30% by 2035, and reaching net zero by 2060. He made the statements while addressing the opening of the Abu Dhabi International Progressive Energy Congress (ADIPEC 2023), hosted by the UAE, under the patronage of President Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Shaikh Nasser asserted that the kingdom’s participation in ADIPEC 2023 is within the framework of its commitment to leading the global transformation in the energy fields, as well as in facing the challenges created by the current energy landscape, through a forward-looking strategy and a strong commitment to climate action, affirming Bahrain’s full readiness to play a proactive role in shaping the future of energy.

He indicated that the importance of ADIPEC 2023 emanates from the gathering of the whole world in the UAE to attend the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), where the values of humanity, ambition and creativity will come together under the umbrella of the UAE, which, he said, is a great country in the region that calls for unity in delivering innovative, sustainable and real action on climate challenges.

Themed ‘Decarbonising. Faster. Together’, ADIPEC 2023 aims to bring together world energy leaders and mobilise their efforts in confronting the pressing challenges facing the global economy as a result of the current energy crisis.

Shaikh Nasser was accompanied by Oil and Environment Minister and Special Envoy for Climate Affairs Dr Mohammed Bin Daina and CEOs, in addition to Bapco Energies’ officials and representatives. UAE Energy Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei said fuel prices consumers pay at the pump will be driven by a willingness to keep investing in fossil fuels. “The Opec+ producer group cares that the price is right for consumers, but right for the consumers for a very limited time only is short-sighted.” “More investment is needed in oil and gas for prices to be right at the pump,” he added.

When asked whether high crude prices could threaten the health of the global economy, Mr Al Mazrouei said Opec+ never targets a certain oil price. The group in June agreed to extend their oil output cuts until the end of 2024. Saudi Arabia and Russia have also extended 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of additional voluntary cuts until the end of the year. That helped push Brent crude prices to above US$90 a barrel in early September, with the futures contract last week approaching the psychological threshold of US$100 a barrel.

Opec Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais said that he is optimistic about oil demand growth, and that he saw under-investment as a risk to energy security. “We are... running quite low on spare capacity, we have said this repeatedly, and this requires a concerted effort by all of the stakeholders to see the importance of investing in this industry,” he said.

Mr Al Mazrouei said investment by both international and national oil companies was needed, and that “these investments need the financial world to be willing to finance oil and gas”. He later told reporters that his country is on track to expand its oil production capacity to 5m bpd by 2027 from 4.2m bpd currently. US oil and gas producer Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub warned that low investments will drive energy prices higher.


Oil Declines on Worries over High Interest Rate, OPEC+ Panel Awaits

Oil fell on Wednesday ahead of a panel meeting of OPEC+ ministers, as the market weighed expectations of supply tightness against fears that high interest rates could reduce fuel demand.

Brent crude oil futures dipped 18 cents, or 0.2%, to US$90.74 a barrel by 0611 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) fell 20 cents to US$89.03 per barrel.

Data on Tuesday night showed that US job openings increased by the largest amount in more than two years, prompting a further sharp rise in Treasury yields.

Oil benchmarks have also been pressured by concerns that the strengthening dollar would dent demand, as it makes oil more expensive for holders of other currencies.

"A resilient labour market is deemed to be providing more room for the Federal Reserve (Fed) to keep rates high for longer," said Yeap Jun Rong, market analyst at IG.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, or OPEC+, is expected to keep output policy unchanged when it meets on Wednesday, after members Saudi Arabia and Russia extended output cuts to the end of the year.

Saudi Arabia is expected to raise its November official selling price of Arab Light crude to Asia for a fifth straight month, according to a Reuters survey, as market participants expect supplies of medium sour crude to remain tight.

"The recent oil price reversal could be a reason for the cartel to keep their supply cuts unchanged in today's review meeting," ANZ Bank analysts Brian Martin and Daniel Hynes said in a note.

Meanwhile, talks to restart Iraqi oil exports via a crude oil pipeline that runs through Turkey are still ongoing, an Iraqi oil official told Reuters, one day after Turkey said operations would start again this week following a near six-month stoppage.

The Russian government is ready to partially lift its ban on diesel exports in coming days, the daily Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

Investors are also closely watching supply and demand in the United States. Industry data showed crude stocks fell by about 4.2 million barrels in the week ended Sept. 29, according to market sources citing American Petroleum Institute figures on Tuesday.

US government data on stockpiles is due on Wednesday. Eight analysts polled by Reuters estimated on average that crude inventories fell by about 500,000 barrels in the week to Sept. 29.


Iran, Uzbekistan Sign MOU to Expand Cinematic Collaboration

Iran and Uzbekistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Sunday, with an aim to increase collaboration and promote their respective cinema industries.

The MOU was signed by the Director of the Cinema Organization of Iran, Mohammad Khazaei and the Director-General of the Cinematography Agency of Uzbekistan, Firdavs Abdukhalikov, in Tashkent.

The MOU seeks to strengthen bilateral relations and spur cinematic collaboration between Iran and Uzbekistan, based on mutual respect and shared interests, IRNA reported. Under this agreement, the two nations will facilitate exchange programs, film screenings and commercial presentations, while also providing necessary facilities to filmmakers.

The agreement also includes initiatives such as easing participation of filmmakers in events in both countries, encouraging communication and exchange of skilled personnel for film projects, sharing of technical knowledge, and promoting the production of joint films, such as feature films, documentaries, short films, and animations, in areas of common history and culture.

Additionally, the parties will hold joint film weeks, while strictly observing copyright laws for cinema works. In order to ensure the successful implementation of the MOU and to address any potential future issues, a joint committee consisting of representatives from both Iran and Uzbekistan has been formed.

The committee will work collaboratively to ensure all provisions of the memorandum are effectively implemented, and to facilitate communication and resolve any concerns that may arise in the future. - Iran News


30 Global Auto Brands to Join Debut GIMS Qatar

Thirty global automotive brands will take part in the inaugural GIMS Qatar, taking place in Doha from October 5 to 14 with ten new cars planned to be unveiled at the event. Qatar, host nation of some of the world’s most high-profile sporting events, from FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023, will see the first edition of the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) taking place outside the event’s native country of Switzerland. The strong demand from exhibitors is reflective of GIMS’ innovative, first-of-its-kind event concept, which is setting new standards for trans-continental motor shows and naturally complements the marketing strategies of major OEMs and suppliers, said a Qatar Tourism and the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) statement.

Car enthusiasts attending the show will have the opportunity to be among the first to see 10 ground-breaking new cars, which are set to be unveiled during the event. Exhibitors will cover more than 10,000 sq m within the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC). A total of five prominent external venues across the country will provide a diverse and immersive festival experience for visitors and guests. GIMS will now begin the space allocation process following the closure of registrations at the end of June. Participating brands will be unveiled on the GIMS social media channels in the coming weeks, said the statement.

Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer at Qatar Tourism, said: “With its wide selection of exceptional hotels, exciting excursions, and captivating landmarks, Qatar is the ideal location to inaugurate the first-ever GIMS to be held outside of its home country. Qatar has maintained an incredible momentum since the close of the FIFA World Cup last year, welcoming a record number of visitors and maintaining its sporting legacy through multiple global sporting events that have taken place in the first half of the year. We’re gearing up for an exciting social calendar in the months ahead and we see that Qatar is well on its way of becoming the fastest growing tourism destination in the region by 2030.”

Sandro Mesquita, CEO of the Geneva International Motor Show, said: “Excitement is building for the first edition of the Qatar show in Doha, which is now only a few months away. We’re on track to make the event the new, top-tier motor show for the Middle East, bridging the gap between the exciting automotive industries in the east and west. Qatar Tourism, GIMS and our partners are delighted with the outstanding support we have received from global brands. For us, it’s indicative of the high levels of confidence and loyalty they have in the GIMS model. One of our exhibitors has participated in every edition of the Geneva Motor Show since 1924 and is just as enthusiastic to join us in Doha.”

Starting with an exclusive opening ceremony and gala dinner on October 5, GIMS Qatar will welcome the world’s media on October 6, before opening to the public from October 7 to 14. The event has been staged to coincide with the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023, also being held in Doha from October 6 to 8. The full GIMS Qatar program of events will be unveiled soon. Activities will include a Forum for the Future of car design, held at the National Museum of Qatar. There will also be off-road adventure experiences at Sealine Desert, ride and drives at the Lusail International Circuit and the chance to visit a ‘best of the best’ gallery of classic automobiles.


Increase in Iran’s Shrimp Exports

The value of Iran’s shrimp export has risen 48% in the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-August 22), compared to the same period of time in the past year. According to Abbas Mokhtari, the director general of the Agriculture Ministry’s Office of Quality Improvement, Processing, and Aquatic Market Development, 11,104 tons of shrimps worth US$37.6 million were exported during the mentioned five months, also registering a 46% rise in terms of weight.

As the official has announced, the value of the country’s fishery export has risen 32% in the first five months of the present year, compared to the same period of time in the previous year. He said that over 83,000 tons of fisheries and aquaculture products worth US$140 million were exported during the mentioned five months, also registering a 32% rise in terms of weight.

Iran's aquaculture industry is on a wave of progress and has world ranks in the production of some fishery products. According to the head of the Iran Fisheries Organization (IFO), the country exported US$600 million worth of fishery products in the previous Iranian calendar year 1401.

Announcing a positive balance of US$520 million in the previous year, Hossein Hosseini said that there is a capacity of up to US$2 billion in exports for the country's fishery industry. It is worth mentioning that the growth and development of Iran’s aquaculture industry has reached the point where the country has become a model for the countries of the region and the world.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) believes that Iran plays a responsible and central role in the fishing and aquaculture industry in the region, and for this reason, it can be considered a model for the countries of the region. Now the world markets have become the target of the export of the country's fishery products, so that, the value of fishery exports also increased by 67% in the Iranian calendar year 1400 compared to the preceding year.

In addition to the executive role of the IFO, the role of research and knowledge-based activities in this field is very important, and the entry of young specialists and knowledge-based experts in various sectors of the fishery industry has made the sanctions ineffective. - Tehran Times


Overall Saudi Unemployment Rate Falls in Q2

Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has started paying dividends, with the Kingdom’s overall unemployment rate declining to 4.9% in the second quarter of this year, a dip of 0.2 percentage points compared to the previous three months, official data showed. The report released by the General Authority for Statistics revealed that the rate of joblessness among Saudi nationals reached 8.3% in the second quarter, dropping 0.2 percentage points compared to the first quarter of this year. The overall unemployment rate in the Kingdom decreased by 1.4 percentage points in the second quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2022, the report added.

The GASTAT data further revealed that Saudi Arabia’s employment-to-population ratio decreased by 0.6 percentage points in the second quarter to hit 47.4% compared to the previous quarter. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has set ambitious targets for the joblessness rate to drop to 7% by the end of the decade, alongside a predicted women’s participation rate in the workforce of 30%. According to the GASTAT report, the unemployment rate among Saudi females decreased to 15.7%, down by 0.4 percentage points from the previous quarter. Meanwhile, the rate among Saudi males remained unchanged at 4.6% in the second quarter. zhe report also acknowledged that a significant 95.3% of unemployed Saudis are open to job opportunities in the private sector. Regarding commuting preferences, the GASTAT survey revealed that 58.9% of Saudi females without jobs and 44.9% of unemployed Saudi males would be willing to commute for a maximum of one hour.

Furthermore, 75% of such Saudi females and 90% of Saudi males who are jobless expressed their readiness to work for eight hours or more each day. mong Saudi job seekers, the most commonly used active search method was seeking assistance from friends and relatives, with 85.6% of aspirants using this method. Some 70.9% applied directly to employers, while 61.3% utilized the National Employment Platform, known as Jadarat.

Meanwhile, Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah announced that the cooperation agreement between his ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund had boosted employment support in the cultural sector from 30% to 50%. “This initiative was introduced, in cooperation between the Ministry of Culture and the Human Resources Development Fund under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, to enhance professional sustainability in the cultural sectors,” said the minister. e further added that the supported cultural professions encompassed a wide range of jobs in language, books and publishing as well as libraries, fashion arts, theatre, and performing arts.


Saudi Aramco Investing in Hydrogen as Part of Focus on Renewables

Saudi Arabia's Aramco is drawing charts for investing in hydrogen production as part of its focus on renewables. The oil giant is set to produce 2 million tons of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030, according to Ashraf Al Ghazzawi, EVP Strategy and Corporate Development, at Aramco. Al Ghazzawi was speaking at the annual ADIPEC summit in Abu Dhabi, the biggest energy conference in the Middle East. "We are following the developments in hydrogen very closely and have plans to produce 2 million tons by 2030; that's roughly around 100 million tons of blue ammonia. Aramco is ahead of our partners and peers as we have twice tested the whole supply chain of hydrogen production," he said.

In 2020, Aramco collaborated with SABIC to dispatch the world’s first shipment of low-carbon ammonia to Japan in a pilot project. In 2022, Aramco and SABIC received the world’s first independent accreditation for low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia products. By the end of 2022, the two companies had delivered the world’s first accredited low-carbon ammonia shipment to South Korea. However, the fossil fuel exporter is also making investments in LNG. Aramco picked up a minority holding in MidOcean Energy for US$500 million. According to a statement from Aramco, MidOcean, which is managed by EIG Global Energy Partners, is in the process of acquiring interests in four Australian LNG projects.


Audi’s Urbansphere Concept Enters Dubai

Audi urbansphere concept, which aims to shape the future of urban travel, has arrived in the Middle East for the first time at the Museum of the Future in Dubai. The Audi urbansphere is the third and the largest of the four concept vehicles in the sphere series, which also includes the skysphere, grandsphere and activesphere, promising to revolutionize the urban travel with its ground-breaking design and innovative technologies. The strategic partnership between Audi Middle East and the Museum of the Future holds immense significance for both entities. Through this collaboration, Audi can showcase its audacious vision for the future of the automotive industry and its commitment to sustainable mobility. At the Museum of the Future, this partnership provides a unique opportunity for visitors to delve into the mesmerizing world of automotive innovation, offering a tantalizing glimpse into the cutting-edge capabilities and designs that will shape the future of transportation.

Visitors to the museum can immerse themselves in Audi's vision for the future of mobility and witness the seamless integration of advanced technology, sustainability, and supreme comfort. The Audi urbansphere concept will be on display at the museum as part of the 'Tomorrow, Today' exhibition until mid January 2024. Built on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) technology platform with an electric drive system, the urbansphere promises an awe-inspiring range and power output. Its battery module, between the axles, holds around 120 kilowatt hours of energy, empowering rapid charging with up to 270 kilowatts at fast-charging stations. The high-voltage system, with 800 volts, ensures swift charging times, making the urbansphere ready for action at a moment's notice as the model can be charged from five to 25% in just under 25 minutes. The opulent interior of the vehicle is designed to offer the highest level of comfort and personalization. The absence of a traditional steering wheel and dashboard creates a spacious and liberating atmosphere, allowing passengers to relax and enjoy the journey. Passengers have the futuristic option of hiding or displaying the steering wheel, pedals and dashboard. The concept car's lounge-chair-inspired architecture, with light-colored, pillow-like upholstery elements, provides a sense of tranquillity and serenity during travels. Advanced control interfaces and connectivity options enable seamless integration of technology, allowing passengers to work, communicate, or unwind during their journey.

The urbansphere brings virtually limitless possibilities due to Audi's extensive range of options and seamless integration of digital services. These capabilities enable access to a diverse array of services directly related to the traveler’s current journey. Moreover, the vehicle excels in addressing everyday tasks that transcend the act of driving, including making dinner reservations and conducting online shopping from within the vehicle. Furthermore, the autonomous Audi urbansphere concept takes passenger convenience to the next level by providing door-to-door service, autonomously identifying parking spaces, and managing battery charging independently. The concept car's dimensions, 5.51 m (18 feet) long, 2.01 m (6.6 feet) wide, and 1.78 m (5.8 feet) high, make it one of the largest vehicles in the Audi concept car line-up. Elmir Arnautovic, Audi Middle East Marketing and Communications Director, commented: "Bringing the Audi urbansphere to the Middle East represents a momentous milestone for Audi and the region. This exceptional concept car showcases our strong commitment to innovative mobility solutions and provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of luxury, environmentally conscious transportation. Audi invites everyone to visit the Museum of the Future for this unparalleled opportunity to witness the urbansphere while it’s here, first-hand."


Abu Dhabi Carrier Takes Off to 3 New Destinations

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, has made good on its promise of growth and greater connectivity by starting flights to three key destinations. Inaugural services to Dusseldorf (DUS), Germany began on September 28, followed the next day by Copenhagen (CPH), Denmark and then Osaka (KIX), Japan on October 1. Meanwhile, the airline has unveiled increased frequencies to popular destinations Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Malaysia and Colombo (CMB), Sri Lanka. The flights are part of a package of new routes and increased frequencies designed to meet customer demand for more opportunities to visit Abu Dhabi and provide even more connectivity to Etihad’s growing global network. "The new flights are the next important steps as we enhance our network delivering greater connectivity for our guests, and serving their demand for more opportunities to visit Abu Dhabi,” said Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways. “We are helping accelerate economic growth for the city by providing more travel options and seamless connections, ensuring it’s easier for guests to visit Abu Dhabi either as a destination, or as part of a stopover as they explore our growing global network.” Etihad has already announced the launch of nine new destinations this year, including Malaga, Mykonos, Lisbon, Kolkata, St Petersburg, Dusseldorf, Copenhagen, Osaka, and Boston. In addition, the airline recently announced new routes to the Indian Subcontinent, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, to be launched in January 2024.

To complement these developments, Etihad has made several recent network changes and frequency adds to enhance travel options and connectivity. Highlights include:

* Improved Departure Times: Enhanced passenger convenience with adjusted departure times for European and Asian destinations.
* Expanded Frequencies: Increased regularity to Chennai (MAA), Colombo (CMB) Islamabad (ISB), Kochi (COK), Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Madrid (MAD), Milan (MXP), Munich (MUC), Rome (FCO), and Phuket (HKT) offer travelers more choice while improving travel options and connectivity.
• Cairo: An additional 5 flights per week to make triple daily operations to Cairo, effective from January 1, strengthening the link between Abu Dhabi and the Egyptian capital.
• Colombo: Seven direct flights per week to Colombo with 3 flights effective from Dec 1 and 4 flights effective from Jan 1,increasing to 10 per week from May 2024, further enhancing travel options to this destination.
• Kuala Lumpur (KUL): Double daily from January 15, 2024
• Maldives (MLE): An additional 7 flights per week, with 3 flights effective from Dec 1 and 4 flights effective from Jan 1.