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Intel Saudi Arabia

  • ‘Fuel of the future’ comes of age as Aramco opens first hydrogen filling station

    Frank Kane
    Mon, 2019-06-17 23:25

    DUBAI: Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, cracked a joke in the Financial Times a couple of weeks ago.
    “Hydrogen is the fuel of the future, and it always will be,” he wrote about the fuel that many experts agree could hold the key to the world’s energy problems.
    It was a deliberate poke at those experts who think that the sheer logistics of hydrogen — generation, storage, and transportation — make it always an unlikely solution to global energy challenges.
    Birol’s article was followed by a report from the IEA that put some meat on the bones of the argument that hydrogen is key to solving such problems as global warming and environmental degradation.
    “The world has an important opportunity to tap into hydrogen’s vast potential to become a critical part of a more sustainable and secure energy future … The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future,” the report said.
    That argument will get a critical boost today, when Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world, opens its first hydrogen fueling station in Dhahran Techno Valley, in the heart of the Kingdom’s oil producing region.
    Aramco has partnered with Air Products, a US company that has been a pioneer in the use of industrial gases, to produce a filling station for hydrogen-fueled vehicles.


    It is very much a test. “The collected data during this pilot phase of the project will provide valuable information for the assessment of future applications of this emerging transport technology in the local environment,” Aramco said when the project was first announced.
    But it is something Aramco has been investigating for a long time. Ahmed Al-Khowaiter, Aramco’s chef technology officer, said: “The use of hydrogen derived from oil or gas to power fuel cell electric vehicles represents an exciting opportunity to expand the use of oil in clean transport.”
    Hydrogen — essentially what is left when you take the oxygen out of water — has been recognized as a potential fuel source for many decades. Motor manufacturers developed a hydrogen motor engine 50 years ago, but the ease and accessibility of hydrocarbon fuels — oil, gas and coal — made it uneconomic to develop this technology beyond the prototype stage.
    Now, as the debate over the role of hydrocarbons in the global environmental balance has become ever more intense, some experts, including Birol and other influential parts of the thought-leadership establishment, believe hydrogen is the next Big Thing in global energy trends.
    The World Economic Forum (WEF) said recently that “green” hydrogen offers a solution to the world energy challenge, and that is the problem the theoreticians are struggling with: Hydrogen is released naturally in the process of burning hydrocarbons, but it is self-defeating, in an environmental sense. if you have to burn oil, gas or coal to produce it.
    On the other hand, renewable sources, like sun, wind and water, do not produce enough hydrogen to be practically or commercially viable, and not at the right times, when people actually need it.
    But, as the WEF noted recently “low-cost green hydrogen is coming”, as technology advances mean the cost of renewable energy falls dramatically each year. The Middle East already has a very big and very cost-efficient program for solar energy generation.
    The other challenges lay in how to store and transport hydrogen. It can be loaded onto a tanker like LNG, or pushed through pipelines, but it would require a huge investment to change current logistics systems — essentially designed for oil and LNG — to handle hydrogen.
    Many countries, including Saudi Arabia, already have the infrastructure associated with oil and gas refining and petrochemicals production to be able to equip “hydrogen hubs,” as long as there is government will and commercial incentive to do so.
    For the Kingdom, it looks like a no-brainer for the future. As Birol said: “So, hydrogen offers tantalising promises of cleaner industry and emissions-free power. Turning it into energy produces only water, not greenhouse gases. It’s also the most abundant element in the universe. What’s not to like?”

    Main category: 

    Aramco to build Saudi Arabia’s first hydrogen fuel cell filling stationGermany rolls out world’s first hydrogen train

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Egypt agrees to pay Israel $500 million to end gas dispute

    Associated Press
    Mon, 2019-06-17 15:11

    CAIRO: Egypt says it has struck a deal with the state-owned Israel Electric Corp. to settle a fine for halting deliveries of natural gas.
    A statement from Egypt’s Petroleum Ministry said the settlement deal, which was signed Sunday, would reduce the $1.7 billion fine to $500 million.
    It says Egypt will pay the amount over eight and a half years.
    In return, the Israeli company would drop other claims resulting from a 2015 arbitration decision.
    Israel Electric had sued the state-owned Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and Egyptian Natural Gas after a 2005 deal to export natural gas to Israel collapsed in 2012 amid militant attacks on a pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula, where Egypt has been battling insurgency for years.
    Israel relied on the pipeline to meet its energy needs.

    Main category: 

    Turkey’s natural gas, electricity price hikes to impact inflation — economistsEgypt’s natural gas prices rise despite major discoveries

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Ethiopian Airlines rejects ‘pilot error’ claim in US

    Mon, 2019-06-17 10:38

    LONDON: A US politician who blamed pilot error for contributing to the deadly crash of a Boeing 737 Max flown by Ethiopian Airlines was “seriously misinformed,” the carrier’s boss has said.
    Republican Sam Graves told a House of Representatives hearing last month that “facts” in investigations after crashes in both Ethiopia and Indonesia “reveal pilot error as a factor in these tragically fatal accidents.”
    He also said “pilots trained in the United States would have successfully handled the situation” in both incidents.
    But in a BBC interview aired Monday, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam said criticisms of his crew’s actions were “seriously misinformed,” and that Graves did not “have the facts in his hands.”
    “People who’ve made those comments should ask themselves, ‘Why on earth have they grounded 380 airplanes over the world?’ The facts speak for themselves,” he said.
    The 737 MAX 8 is currently grounded worldwide after the March crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which killed all 157 people onboard and drew scrutiny to the new Boeing model’s anti-stall system.
    Pilots were already worried about the safety of the model following the October 2018 crash in Indonesia of a Lion Air 737 MAX 8 that killed 189 people.
    Boeing is working to submit a modified version of the aircraft’s software and hopes to get the approval of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its counterparts throughout the world.
    But aviation regulators meeting last month were unable to determine when the popular jet might again be allowed to fly, causing costly headaches for airlines worldwide.
    Revelations of close ties between Boeing and the FAA in testing the MAX led to a crisis of confidence among the public and airline pilots, as well as some of the other agencies that regulate civil aviation.
    “We have work to do to win and regain the trust of the public,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg conceded at the Paris Air Show on Sunday.

    Main category: 

    Boeing made mistake in handling warning-system problem: CEOBoeing crisis, trade tensions cast pall over Paris Air Show

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Iraq lifts production at Exxon’s West Qurna 1 oilfield to 465,000 bpd: officials

    Mon, 2019-06-17 10:29

    WEST QURNA 1 OILFIELD, Iraq: Production at Iraq’s giant West Qurna 1 oilfield in the south has reached 465,000 barrels per day (bpd) after the completion of new crude processing facilities and oil storage tanks, Iraqi oil officials said on Monday.
    West Qurna 1 oilfield, developed by Exxon, was previously producing about 440,000 bpd, officials working at the field told Reuters on the sideline of a ceremony to launch the new installations.
    Exxon’s foreign staff were present, having returned to the oilfield on June 2, two weeks after Exxon pulled about 60 people from the oilfield and flew them to Dubai.
    The evacuation came days after the United States withdrew non-essential staff from its embassy in Baghdad, citing a threat from neighboring Iran.
    Iraqi oilfield officials said Exxon’s foreign staff, including senior management and engineers, returned to the oilfield only after the Iraqi government agreed to provide extra security measures at the field, including the deployment of additional police and armed forces.
    The officials and Exxon managers accompanied reporters on a tour inside West Qurna 1 on Monday where armored vehicles and soldiers from the Iraqi army were seen stationed at the gates of the oil production facilities.
    Two new crude processing facilities with a joint capacity to process 150,000 bpd of oil, a unit to separate water and oil and five oil storage tanks started testing operations on Monday. The new projects would help to boost production at the field to progressively reach 490,000 bpd, said a senior oilfield manager.
    Iraq is producing slightly more than 4.5 million bpd, below its full capacity of nearly 5 million bpd in line with an agreement between OPEC and other producers such as Russia to curtail global supply in order to support prices.

    Main category: 

    $526m drilling deal for West Qurna oil fieldProtests heating up near Qurna-2 oil field

    Posted: by Arab News

  • Lufthansa profit warning spooks European airline sector

    Mon, 2019-06-17 09:48

    FRANKFURT: Germany’s Lufthansa sent shockwaves through the European airline sector on Monday as it cut its full-year profit forecast, with lower prices and higher fuel costs compounding the effect of losses at its budget subsidiary Eurowings.
    The warning follows gloomy comments last month from Irish budget airline Ryanair, which vies with Lufthansa for top spot in Europe in terms of passengers carried. Air France-KLM also reported a widening quarterly loss last month.
    In a statement issued late on Sunday, Lufthansa forecast annual EBIT of between €2 billion and €2.4 billion, down from the previously targeted €2.4 billion to €3 billion.
    “Yields in the European short-haul market, in particular in the group’s home markets, Germany and Austria, are affected by sustained overcapacities caused by carriers willing to accept significant losses to expand their market share,” it said.
    European airlines are locked in a battle for supremacy, with a surfeit of seats holding down revenues and higher fuel costs adding to the pressure. A number of smaller airlines have collapsed over the past two years.
    Lufthansa cited falling revenue from its Eurowings budget business as a key reason for the profit warning.
    “The group expects the European market to remain challenging at least for the remainder of 2019,” it said.
    It also pointed to high jet fuel costs, which it said could exceed last year’s figure by €550 million, despite a recent fall in crude oil prices.
    Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary last month warned of the impact of what he called “attritional fare wars” and said four or five European airlines were likely to emerge as the winners in the sector.
    “No signs that anyone is prepared to reduce capacity, therefore we would anticipate the wave of consolidation in European short haul is not over,” said analyst Neil Wilson, analyst at London-based broker
    Earlier this month global airlines slashed a widely watched industry profit forecast by 21 percent as an expanding trade war and higher oil prices compound worries about an overdue industry slowdown.
    Lufthansa’s problems are centered on its European business, with a more positive outlook for its long-haul operations, especially on transatlantic and Asian routes.
    Eurowings management is due to implement turnaround measures to be presented shortly, Lufthansa said, adding that efforts to reduce costs had so far been slower than expected.
    Lufthansa’s adjusted margin for earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) was forecast between 5.5 percent and 6.5 percent, down from 6.5 percent to 8 percent previously, it said in a statement.
    Lufthansa also said it would make a €340 million provision for in its first-half accounts, relating to a tax matter in Germany originating in the years between 2001 and 2005.

    Main category: 

    Lufthansa profit dips as it digests Air BerlinLufthansa Group wins four Skytrax awards

    Posted: by Arab News

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