Saudi Crown Prince unveils Aramco energy megaproject Spark

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince HRH Mohammed Bin Salman unveiled Saudi Aramco’s energy megaproject Spark on 10 December, 2018 [image: Twitter/ksa_spark].

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, HRH Mohammed Bin Salman, unveiled King Salman Energy Park (Spark), a Saudi Aramco megaproject, on 10 December, 2018. Spark will generate 100,000 direct and indirect jobs and contribute up to $6bn (SAR22bn) to the kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2035, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 programme.

Located between Dammam and Al-Ahsa in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Spark is a three-phase 50km2 hub for energy, industrialisation, and technology that will report Phase 1 construction completed in 2021. Phase 1 spans 12km2, with investments totalling $1.6bn (SAR6bn).

Construction work on Spark started in September 2017, as per a Saudi Aramco statement on 6 December, and engineering designs for the scheme are currently more than halfway complete. Investor plot allocations were carried out in Q3 2018. 

READ: Saudi Crown Prince attends Bahrain launch of Aramco-Bapco oil pipeline

According to an Arabic-language report by Saudi Arabia’s state news agency, SPA, the city features five major regions. Phase 1 will comprise general manufacturing, industrial facilities, a dry port area, a Saudi Aramco well-drilling and maintenance area, and a specialised training zone for 10 centres focused on enhancing Saudi citizens’ skills. The project also includes residential, commercial, and recreational areas. At maturity, the dry port will have a capacity of eight million metric tons of cargo, with high levels of automation. The completion of Phase 1 will see Spark attracting more than 120 investments, according to a separate, English-language report by SPA.

Spark will be operated and anchored by Saudi Aramco, which will build its drilling and workover headquarters within the city, as well as operate its procurement and supply chain management centre from the space. Aramco will develop, operate, manage, and maintain the park’s infrastructure in partnership with Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technological Zones (Modon). 

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According to Spark’s website, the project seeks to attract industrial investors across five major sectors, such as upstream, downstream, petrochemicals, power, and water and wastewater. In addition to work for Phase 1, also under way is the development of a regional logistics zone with customs that will link Spark to the rest of the kingdom and Gulf States along the region’s planned rail project.

On its Twitter account, Spark said that its first 10 investors and tenants include Baker Hughes, a GE Company, Borets, Valvo Spain, Schlumberger, Al Rushed Group, Halliburton, Emerson, University of North Dakota Aerospace, Oilfields Supply Centre Ltd, and NESR. On its website, Spark stated that interested investors can be offered land access as Phase 1 development work continues. Schlumberger signed on as Spark’s first investor in December 2017, with the firm to build a centre for manufacturing onshore oil and gas well platform, plus supply chain products, within the city, Aramco revealed earlier this month. 

In a statement on its website dated 6 December, Aramco said that Spark is part of its supply chain initiative, In-Kingdom Total Value Add (Iktva), adding that the energy city would house “manufacturing and service activities ranging from equipment for drilling, electrical services, and liquids treatment [and] exploration and production services; to pipes, vessels, tanks, valves, and pumps”. Spark’s location, Aramco added, facilitates its integration with Dammam’s Third Industrial City, and offers it access to power generation and water sources, plus logistical services.

Spark is the latest in a string of endeavours by Saudi Arabia to diversify its economy away from petrodollars. Its launch comes days after the Crown Prince accompanied Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, alongside other GCC leaders, at the launch of the Al-Turaif historical district in Diriyah. The tourism project encompasses Saudi Vision 2030’s ambitions and is expected to generate tourism revenue for the kingdom. 

READ: Saudi Crown Prince to attend Aramco megaproject launch

Additionally, Spark embodies Aramco’s ambitions to capitalise on its position as a global energy giant. The state-held firm has already noted progress on major projects this year, such as the Marjan and Berri oil fields. 

The involvement of global energy giants such as Schlumberger, Halliburton, and Baker Hughes builds on the memorandums of understanding (MoU) signed between the firms and Saudi Arabia at the Future Investment Initiative summit held in Riyadh this October. Saudi Aramco was a key signatory for many of the total 20 MoUs – worth a combined value of $50bn (SAR187.6bn) – signed on Day 1 of the summit, held on 23-25 October, 2018.

Construction Week’s video on Spark will be published at 9am Dubai time on 11 December, 2018. Set a YouTube reminder for yourself to receive an early notification to watch the video:

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Mizoram polls: MNF wins 16 seats, Congress wins 4

[India], Dec 11 (ANI): As the counting of votes cast in the Mizoram Assembly elections continues, the Mizo National Front (MNF) has won 16 seats and is leading in nine, while the Congress party has won four seats and is leading in one.

According to the latest figures by the Election Commission of India, the Independents have won five seats and are leading in three. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to lead on one seat.

The Congress party, which has been in power in Mizoram since 2008, is eyeing a third consecutive term. However, incumbent Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, who contested from Serchhip and Champhai South, has lost both the seats.

The land-locked Mizoram in the North-East has 40 Assembly constituencies spread across eight districts, out of which 39 seats are reserved for scheduled tribes, while one is for the general category.

MNF, the regional political party, formed the government in Mizoram twice, first in 1986 and then in 1998. However, it lost the 2008 elections and won only three seats.

Currently, it’s a part of the North-East Regional Political Front, which supports the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Pu Zoramthanga, is the president of the MNF.

The state, which went to polls on November 28, saw a voter turnout of about 80 per cent. As many as 7,70,395 lakh voters were eligible to cast their vote in the state including 3.75 lakh males and 3.95 lakh females. (ANI)

BOC Aviation orders three 777-300ERs

BOC Aviation has ordered three Boeing 777-300ERs that will be delivered in 2020 to a leasing client.

The lessor disclosed the transaction in a stock exchange statement, but did not identify the client that will lease the aircraft, nor any other terms of the order.

The transaction is valued at $1.08 billion based on list prices, but it is likely that BOC Aviation will pay significantly less as the aircraft will be among the last -300ERs produced as Boeing transitions to the 777X series.

Flight Fleets Analyzer indicates that there are 10 -300ERs due for delivery in 2020, two of which are for Aeroflot Russian Airlines, while the other eight are listed as ordered by unidentified customers.

BOC Aviation manages 20 -300ERs, which are leased to Air Canada, Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, EVA Air and Air China.

Growth & Jobs | Jamaica leads the Caribbean in renewable energy

Jamaica is now developing its renewable-energy potential at a leading pace among its Caribbean neighbours with support from private investment, says David Delaire, managing director, Germany-based MPC Capital.

This is demonstrated by its 170 megawatts of installed generating capacity and rapidly developing solar plants, he stated. The expansion under way in Jamaica

is based on the country’s appealing market conditions; robust regulatory framework, Government’s support for the development, and a utility company that is willing to work with private power producers.

“We are getting about 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour,” with respect to the price of electricity being generated by MPC’s Paradise Park solar plant being constructed in Westmoreland, Delaire said. He added, “We also have a 20-year agreement with the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to purchase the power we produce.”

Most of the electricity produced across the Caribbean comes from diesel plants that are more than 50 years old, which produce electricity at a cost that is in “double digit” cents per kilowatt-hour, he said. Delaire declared that “these plants are obsolete.”

Delaine said that the low power-production cost that the Paradise Park plant can feed to Jamaica’s national grid and the fact that the national power utility company signed an agreement to take this electricity show the benefits Jamaica gets from having reformed its electric power industry to accommodate independent power producers.

He was speaking at an MPC renewable energy forum, mounted by JN Fund Managers, a member company of The Jamaica National Group, and MPC Capital at the Spanish Court Hotel recently. His audience consisted mainly of potential investors in the MPC Clean Energy Fund, which is financing regional renewable energy plant development.

“In 2015, CARICOM states agreed on a framework in which they outlined where each member state needed to have a certain amount of renewable energy installed by 2030,” he said, pointing out “Jamaica outlined its National Energy Policy 2009-2030, thus carving out a role for the development of renewable energy in the country’s future.

“You have taken the time to outline an integrated resource plan,” the engineer stated. “In terms of renewable energy, what I find is more appreciated by investors such as ourselves is that we would like to know that the Government is behind rules.”

The electricity sector development plan has involved regulators, the Government, JPSCo and the private sector, Delaire pointed out, declaring that “Jamaica has done an exceptional job.”

Looking at Caribbean counterparts, he said that Antigua has “a couple of projects installed or in development”, but others, such as Guyana, Barbados, and the British Virgin Islands, were all “a bit behind in terms of what they need to be doing”.


Milverton Reynolds, managing director of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), told the audience that the cost of imported petroleum was what prompted a change in Jamaica’s energy policies.

The DBJ participated in a government push to reduce the burden that energy placed

on the national economy. Subsequently, Reynolds said, “We ramped up our activities in our privatisation and public-private partnership programmes, and currently, we have two major active privatisation projects. We are indeed very excited about the possibilities they present.”

Jermaine Deans, deputy general manager, JN Fund Managers, is spearheading the team that is collaborating with the initial public offering of the MPC Clean Energy Fund and providing support for the debt refinancing of the state-owned Wigton Wind Farm

“Pension funds need sure and reliable returns,” Deans told the audience of leading financial-sector representatives. “Investing in cost-efficient renewable-energy projects provides this requirement, and most of the time, your cash flow will be indexed to the United States dollar.

“Assisting Jamaica to move the renewable component of its electricity consumption from less than 20 per cent currently to a targeted 50 per cent by 2030 offers excellent opportunities for portfolio managers,” Deans stated.

Highview Power’s Liquid Air Energy Storage Named Technology of the Year

Highview Power’s Liquid Air Energy Storage has been Named Technology of the Year by BusinessGreen Magazine. 

Liquid Air Energy Storage – Using liquefied air to create a potent energy reserve.

Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) uses electricity to cool air until it liquefies, stores the liquid air in a tank, brings the liquid air back to a gaseous state (by exposure to ambient air or with waste heat from an industrial process) and uses that gas to turn a turbine and generate electricity. LAES systems use off the shelf components with long lifetimes (30 years +), resulting in low technology risk. Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES) is sometimes referred to as Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES). The word “cryogenic” refers to the production of very low temperatures.

Executive Summary

Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES), also referred to as Cryogenic Energy Storage (CES), is a long duration, large scale energy storage technology that can be located at the point of demand. The working fluid is liquefied air or liquid nitrogen (~78% of air). LAES systems share performance characteristics with pumped hydro and can harness industrial low-grade waste heat/waste cold from co-located processes. Size extends from around 5MW to 100s+MWs and, with capacity and energy being de-coupled, the systems are very well suited to long duration applications.

Read More.

Congress Tastes Success in Hindi Heartland

This has been the battle of ballots. One loses while the other wins.

December 11, 2018 will go down in history as a defining moment for Indian politics. Perseverance pays, arrogance does not.

The 4 year old Modi storm seems to have disappeared. The results brought smiles on Congress’ faces because they were out of power for several years. Rahul Gandhi’s leadership got a boost.  Let voters decide who won – Dassault Rafale or Augusta?

Papu has become param pujya: Raj Thakerey

The Congress banked on the state’s ‘revolving door’ anti-incumbency factor.
The BJP stated that it will break the state’s tradition of having chief ministers of alternate parties for every assembly election since 1993.
But, Congress triumphed. Rest is history.

Rajasthan Elections
Sachin pilot

Madhya Pradesh:
Since 2003 this has been a BJP bastion. Shivraj Singh Chouhan is looking towards a fourth term in the state where his party had more than 15 years back managed to break the stronghold of the Congress which now smells victory.

Here the anti incumbency didn’t work. TRS maintained a steady lead over its rivals in Telangana. “No one knows Telangana like KCR,” says his daughter. It is KCR’s territory, as his party swept the polls handsomely.

Raman Singh’s development agenda was fighting three tenures of voter fatigue. His claims of development politics and the fight against red terror didn’t bear fruit.
Finally, anti incumbency won.