Petrofac, Oman Hydrogen to collaborate to strengthen renewable energy sector

Petrofac, a leading provider of services to the global energy industry, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oman Hydrogen Centre (OHC) to collaborate in building capabilities for Oman’s renewable energy sector, the company announced on Wednesday.

The agreement aims to strengthen the sector, particularly in green hydrogen.

The partnership “will bring considerable benefits to the efficient implementation of green hydrogen projects and help accelerate the Sultanate’s energy transition,” the statement said.

Oman reveals plan to become global hydrogen player

Additionally, the collaboration will help in the development of Omani talent.

Petrofac recently completed front-end engineering design (FEED), for green hydrogen production facilities followed by studies for small-scale industrial globally.

The building company will provide technical expertise, design experience, project management and execution, and building capacity through knowledge transfer, the statement said.

“Green hydrogen provides an opportunity to help accelerate the energy transition in Oman through the decarbonisation of many parts of our industries,” Petrofac Oman’s country manager Dr Khalid Al Jahwari said.

Al Jahwari said the partnership with OHC “is designed to meet the needs of new complex energy assets,” adding it will focus on engineering excellence and a skilled workforce.

“With our combined knowledge, experience and capabilities, we are here to support this transition,” he said.

In June this year, the Sultanate’s Ministry of Energy and Minerals was in the process of appointing a think tank to promote Oman as a hub for production and export of green hydrogen.

Oman aims to be at the forefront of green hydrogen production, especially as key resources such as solar and wind energy and adequate lands will play a pivotal role in achieving this target.

The government also aims to attract foreign direct investments in the green hydrogen sector, as “there is a good demand for investments,” according to Ministry of Energy and Minerals’ director-general of renewable energy and hydrogen, Abdulaziz Said Al Shedhani.

“Remarkable efforts from governmental units, industries, and scientists take place towards accelerating the energy transition and green economy,” Oman Hydrogen Centre’s director Dr. Sausan Al Riyami said, adding “this will enable the building of our Omani talents in energy sector.”


Bahrain opens registration for World Robot Olympiad Training Session

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Applications are now open for training courses for public and private school students participating in the World Robot Olympiad, which organises tournaments in over 85 countries worldwide.

Bahrain is among the nine countries organising the tournament in the Middle East. The theme of the 2022 Olympiad is “My Robot, My Friend”.

The Ministry of Education is organising the training session with Britus International School – Bahrain. Britus School Principal Andy Hubble expressed pride in joining hands with the Ministry for the tournament.

He noted that the school has been organising this event since 2011 in Bahrain. MoE said the training focuses on students between 8 and 19 years of age. The training sessions are for learning the technical aspects of building and programming robots, understanding the rules and procedures of the game, and preparing students for the competition.


Is investing in real estate worth it in Bahrain?

One investment at Kazerooni Heights can go a long way.
In today’s uncertain economic times, investors are looking for something they can rely on to add value to their portfolios. Real estate is known to be one of the most reliable long-term investments and apartments are a good option to consider:

Kazerooni Heights offers two investment options for those looking to diversify their portfolio by investing in real estate:

Investment plan with guaranteed 6% net return for 3 years
5-year (interest free) payment plan with 10% down payment
Bahrain ranked first for economic freedom and fourth for financial, investment, and trade freedom in the MENA region, according to the 2022 Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation.

According to the report, overall investment framework in Bahrain remains transparent and investors (foreign or domestic) are treated equally. According to the Economic Development Board (EDB) Bahrain, the Kingdom’s real estate transactions jumped 46% in 2021. As demands surge, residential, retail, and tourism properties would present plenty of investment opportunities.

Why Kazerooni apartments?

Their amenities include a rooftop temperature-controlled pool, BBQ facility with dining room at the pool deck, state-of-the-art gym, steam and sauna facilities, and more. Located in Amwaj Islands, the property is in close proximity to The Lagoon, which offers indoor and outdoor cafes and restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment.

Here are the available units at Kazerooni Heights:

1 Bedroom (starting at 87sqm)
2 Bedroom (starting at 128sqm)
2 Bedroom + Maid’s Room (starting at 164sqm)
3 Bedroom + Maid’s Room (starting at 251sqm)
3 Bedroom Duplex + Maid’s Room (starting at 247sqm)
In addition to the investment opportunities, there are also a limited number of apartments available for rent that come with a complimentary membership at Vida Beach Resort Marassi Al Bahrain starting from BD 425 (1-Bedroom).


Bahrain set for maiden FIA World Touring Car Cup races

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Bahrain International Circuit (BIC), “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”, announced today a fantastic new international racing series that will be coming to Sakhir and the region for the first time later this year, as part of the FIA WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain this November 11 and 12.

The 2022 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup will be a major part of the support programme of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) 8 Hours of Bahrain weekend, with the WTCR Race of Bahrain.

It is the first time the WTCR will take place alongside the FIA WEC, making for a fantastic touring car and sportscar spectacle. The Kingdom’s event is also part of a double-header with Saudi Arabia that will decide the series’ title winners this year. The Saudi event will take place November 25 to 27.

The calendar update has been approved by the recent meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council and represents a big opportunity for the WTCR, which has never previously visited the Middle East, a key motorsport hub.

Adding Bahrain International Circuit and Jeddah Corniche Circuit to this season’s schedule means the 2022 WTCR title chase will be decided at two Formula One Grand Prix venues built to FIA Grade One standards of safety. With the WTCR joining the FIA World Endurance Championship event in Bahrain, two FIA world-level competitions will appear on the same timetable. Indeed, the inaugural WTCR Race of Bahrain, which is being organised in partnership with WEC promoter Le Mans Endurance Management, will feature one race on Friday November 11 with the second race following on the morning of Saturday November 12 prior to the 8 Hours of Bahrain WEC season finale getting underway later in the day.

The inaugural WTCR Race of Bahrain will use BIC’s full 15-corner, 5.412-kilometre Grand Prix Circuit layout.

WTCR Race of Bahrain will count as Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2022 season, while WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia will form Rounds 17 and 18.


Rain Financial cuts jobs amid crypto sell-off

Rain Financial Inc, a crypto exchange in the Middle East with several customers from Saudi Arabia, UAE & Bahrain, announced axing 30 of its Bahraini employees in various markets, citing challenges in the global cryptocurrency.

The company informed its staff this week about the decision, where the cuts impact a range of departments. “As cryptocurrencies and global markets continue to slow down, this has, in turn, impacted businesses across the globe,” Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Dallago said in a statement.

The move, the company said, aims at fulfilling its operational requirements under the circumstances in the international markets. Rain further said it is confident in overcoming the challenges and moving forward “stranger than ever.” Cryptocurrency prices have declined this year from the highs reached in early November.


WestPoint to invest $9 mn afresh in Bahrain

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WestPoint Home (WPH), a global marketer and manufacturer of home products, has announced an investment of $9 million in the third phase expansion of its manufacturing complex in Bahrain.

The announcement followed the recent meeting between WPH senior officials and the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, Zayed R Alzayani. Officials from the American Chamber of Commerce Bahrain (AmCham) also were present, according to media reports.

The meeting also discussed how WPH will mitigate the impact of the potential expiration of the Tariff Preference Level (TPL) that allows duty free access for textile exports from Bahrain to the US.

WestPoint Home announced it will begin the third expansion of its spinning capacity at its Bahrain Manufacturing Complex in the next three years. “The third phase expansion project will cost $9 million and will increase spinning capacity by 38 per cent. Spinning more yarn in Bahrain will decrease lead times, increase flexibility and will, along with other initiatives help to mitigate the impact of the anticipated TPL expiration mid 2016 and will allow the company to continue to import Bahrain manufactured textile product into the US duty free,” said Normand Savaria, President and CEO.

“The support that we have been provided from various ministries of the Bahraini government as we conduct our business activities and implement these expansion projects and hire and train both foreign and local employees has given us the confidence to continue to build out our manufacturing base in Bahrain and increase our imports to the US by 15 per cent just last year. We look forward to our future in Bahrain,” he added.

The company will have invested over $25 million in expanding capacity, capabilities and environmental projects over the past three years including additional weaving, the spinning projects, expansion of manual and automatic sewing and embroidery capacity at the conclusion of this project.

WestPoint Home manufactures and sells products globally to leading retail and hospitality customers under popular owned brands including Martex, Vellux, Grand Patrician, Patrician, Luxor, Utica, Modern Living and Nostalgia. (SH)


Bahrain Global Sea-to-Air Logistics Hub opens; fastest in the region

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Bahrain recently launched the fastest regional multi-modal logistics hub—the Bahrain Global Sea-air Hub—with only a two-hour turnaround time for all containers. So products can reach customers in half the time and at 40 per cent of the present cost. The advantages include a 50 per cent reduction in average lead time compared to pure sea freight.

The hub exploits the country’s strategic position midway between European and Asian markets as well as on its proximity to regional target markets.

The hub relies on streamlined clearance procedures, optimized logistics, and full digitization to achieve an end-to-end lead time of just under two hours for goods transiting from Bahrain International Airport to Khalifa bin Salman Port, and vice versa, according to media reports from the Gulf region.

Bahrain will grant partner status in this initiative to all global markets that will grant their national companies the opportunity to become an authorised ‘trusted shipper’ at the hub.

The operating cost within the logistics sector is 45 per cent lower in Bahrain compared to neighbouring markets, according to a 2019 KPMG report.


Bahrain joins industrial partnership for sustainable development

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Bahrain has now joined the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan to become the fourth member of the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development at its second Higher Committee meeting held in Cairo, Egypt. Bahrain will boost the partnership’s total industrial manufacturing value from $106.26 billion to $112.5 billion. The Partnership will focus on textiles and clothing among other sectors in the next phase.
Bahrain possesses a strong industrial sector with more than 9,500 companies and 55,000 employees as well as industrial foreign direct investments worth $4.3 billion. The UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain represented 30 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa’s industrial contribution to the GDP, adding up to industrial exports worth $65 billion in 2019. The combined population of the countries is 122 million, which is 27 per cent of the Middle East and North Africa and 49 per cent of the region’s youth population under 24.

In May 2022, the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan had launched the Industrial Partnership for Sustainable Economic Development in Abu Dhabi. The initiative aims to establish integrated industries that contribute to diversifying the economy, promoting its growth and providing specialised job opportunities.

In the first phase, the Partnership has shortlisted 12 projects costing $3.4 billion, of the 87 proposals it received for setting up industrial projects in fertilisers, agriculture and food sectors. Along with textiles and clothing, the Partnership will focus on chemicals, plastics, and metals in the next phase.

Foreign direct investment in the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan touched $151 billion between 2016-2020, which is about 42 per cent of the new foreign direct investment in the Middle East. In 2019, the countries exported goods valued at $433 billion in total, while the imports added up to around $399 billion.


Threat of internet outages in Lebanon continue amid Ogero strike

Network failures across Lebanon still loom as employees of state-owned internet provider Ogero continue their strike after negotiations hit a dead-end.

The strike started on Tuesday, with Ogero employees demanding for higher salaries amid an economic meltdown.

A three-and-a-half-hour long meeting was conducted between the disgruntled workers and Lebanon’s communications minister Johnny Corm, but no resolution was met.

Business across Lebanon have reported internet and power outages on Friday, according to local reports. Network services were only intermittently available in Tripoli, with electricity generators operating for about 12 hours a day.


Saudi Arabia, Bahrain to boost bilateral cooperation in labour sector

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are set to further enhance their bilateral cooperation in the labour sector and discussed various measures to boost joint efforts in this sector.

A meeting between Saudi minister of human resources and social development Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi and minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain Jameel bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan in Riyadh on Sunday discussed a number of issues related to labour market and opening new horizons for joint work to achieve the goals of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030 as well as Bahrian’s economic vision 2030, SPA reported.

The ministers also discussed ways to unify the efforts between the two sides to face regional and international challenges and the most prominent international developments in the sector.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthnain, deputy minister for labour sector, and Dr. Adnan bin Abdullah Al-Naeem, undersecretary of the ministry for international affairs.

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthnain, deputy minister for labour sector, and Dr. Adnan bin Abdullah Al-Naeem, undersecretary of the ministry for international affairs.