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BUSINESS BRIEFS.

GlassPoint, Occidental of Oman to set up large solar thermal energy plant

GlassPoint Solar and Occidental of Oman announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that could lead to a large solar thermal energy plant, exceeding two gigawatts, at the Mukhaizna oilfield in the Sultanate. As the lead developer of the proposed project, GlassPoint would deploy its proven solar technology to produce up to 100,000 barrels of solar steam per day. The solar steam would be purchased by Occidental and used to facilitate production of heavy oil. With preliminary studies complete, engineering work has now commenced to define the project scope and field integration plans.

HE Dr Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Minister of Oil and Gas said, As we continue to diversify Omans economy and develop the renewable energy sector, we are also identifying ways to save our natural gas resources. Omans vast heavy oilfields present one of the largest opportunities to deploy solar energy and conserve gas, which can instead be used to fuel industries and generate power. Were pleased to see this progress between Occidental of Oman and GlassPoint, which can deliver substantial economic and environmental benefits to the Sultanate.

Steve Kelly, president and general manager of Occidental of Oman said, We are excited about working with GlassPoint to enhance our environmental stewardship in Oman and strengthen Occidentals position in the lower- carbon economy. This is a strategic opportunity for us to tap into solar as a sustainable source of energy in order to minimize the carbon footprint of our operations.

Steven Moss, CEO of GlassPoint Solar said, Were looking forward to building on our success with another major solar project in Oman. Occidental of Omans interest shows the scale of opportunity renewables can play in reducing the energy use and environmental impact of oil production. Were pleased to work with Occidental of Oman to grow Omans solar industry and the global market for solar powered oil production.

CMA becomes signatory to global body

Omans Capital Market Authority (CMA) has become a member of the IAIS Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (IAIS MMoU). This was announced by Dr Victoria Saporta, chair of the executive committee of the IAIS.

I am pleased that the CMA has become a signatory to the IAIS MMoU, which will definitely enrich, facilitate and improve our operations, HE Abdullah bin Salim Al Salmi, executive president of the CMA, said. This agreement strengthens our ability to work cooperatively with other supervisors and monitor large cross-border insurers cooperation that is critically important to promoting effective supervision and protecting our consumers.

The MMoU is a global framework for cooperation and information exchange among insurance supervisors. It sets minimum standards to which signatories must adhere. All applicants are subject to a review and approval by an independent team of IAIS members.

Through membership in the MMoU, supervisors are able to exchange relevant information with and provide assistance to other signatories, thereby promoting the financial stability and sound supervision of cross-border insurance operations for the benefit and protection of consumers.

We are pleased to welcome CMA, Oman, as a signatory to the MMoU, said Dr Saporta. In order to achieve our ultimate goal of policyholder protection within the global insurance marketplace, an insurance supervisor must be able to cooperate quickly and effectively. The MMoU is an essential regulatory tool not only in crisis situations, but on a day-to-day basis for supervisors to foster safer and more stable insurance markets.

SGRF achieves highest returns since 1980

Abdul Salam bin Mohammed Al Morshedi, CEO of the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), said that the fund achieved the highest returns since its establishment 38 years ago. He said that the recent withdrawals due to the low oil prices did not affect its investment commitments and none of its assets were sold to support the deficit. He added that SGRF maintained its annual rate of return at 7 per cent, an increase of nearly 200 per cent or more of its size since its inception. He pointed out that SGRF operates with a very high transparency and is subject to internal and external audits from independent parties.

He explained that the annual investment volume of SGRF was between $1bn and $1.5bn. It also

invests in more than 70 countries in different geographic regions according to the fundamentals and strategies, including the study of global phenomena in the next ten years, which determine the major economic directions. He said that SGRFs direct investments were diversified into five targeted economic sectors, namely the real estate, mining, healthcare, logistics, ports, food industries and various investments including energy, electricity and education.

He added that sovereign wealth funds aim to achieve steady returns and maximise their assets by investing in assets and tools. He said that SGRF had two main objectives: balancing the state budget and saving for the future generations, adding On this basis, the funds assets are distributed in a balanced manner to achieve both goals.

Mwasalat, Busworld to host international passenger transport exhibition

Mwasalat, Omans national transport company, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Busworld Foundation to host Busworld Middle East in Muscat in 2021. A first for the region, the event will be part of a series of exhibitions organised by the Busworld International, the biggest bus and coach trade exhibitors in the world. The signing took place during the IRU World Congress in Muscat, where leaders within the industry came together to network, discuss and debate innovate solutions

to road transport, mobility, logistics and trade challenges in the 21st century.

Omans transport and logistics sector has witnessed consistently strong growth patterns in recent years. As the country continues to invest heavily in the transportation infrastructure to support its long-term growth, Mwasalat has worked to transform passenger transport within the Sultanate to meet world-class standards, said Ahmed bin Ali Al Balushi, CEO of Mwasalat.

Playing host to Busworld Middle East for the first time ever within the region is a testament to the progress we have made in the industry and the Sultanates strategic endeavour to adopt the latest innovations and technological advancements.

Mwasalat is part of Oman Global Logistics Group ASYAD, which was established to maximise the economic and financial returns from Government investments in ports, freezones, land and sea transport and logistic services companies.

Over the years, Mwasalat has made significant progress in building public transportation services in Oman and remains committed to playing a vital role in the social and economic advancement of the country.

Jan Deman, managing director Busworld Foundation said, The regulations and economic stability within a country that hosts Busworld is, of course, very important. Oman is a place that is very accessible and has exceeded our expectations on a number of fronts. We are confident that the renewal and expansion of the bus fleet in the Sultanate and neighbouring countries are going to be very big in the coming years. The world is looking at the Middle East because it is different compared to the rest of the world. In many other regions, buses on the roads were produced in those regions. But here, we see buses from China, India, and Europe. There is buying power and growth to renew and increase fleets.

Bank Muscat wins GCC award for innovative CSR initiatives

Bank Muscat has won a prestigious GCC award in recognition of its innovative corporate social responsibility initiatives and contributions to sustainable development in the Sultanate. The event was held in Kuwait to award the leading CSR projects in the GCC region, organised by the executive office of the council of ministers of labour and council of ministers of social affairs in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The guest of honour, HE Hind Subaih Barak Al Subaih, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour and Minister of Economic Affairs in Kuwait, presented the award toAhmed Faqir Al Balushi, DGM human resource.

Ahmed Faqir Al Balushi said: Bank Muscat is proud to receive the prestigious GCC honour in recognition of its unique CSR initiatives. As a forward looking financial institution, Bank Muscat is at the forefront in contributing to society and thereby setting a fine example to develop social responsibility as a corporate culture. As the pioneer of CSR activities in the banking sector in Oman, the bank has implemented several initiatives benefiting various segments of society and remains

committed to sustainable development in Oman.

The sustainability and CSR strategy pursued by Bank Muscat is focused on long-term benefits to the community and the nation. As the leading financial institution in the Sultanate, Bank Muscat delivers on its commitment to the people and the nation through strategic CSR programmes covering various segments such as youth, sports, education and SMEs.

Bank Muscat is a pioneer of CSR activities in the banking sector in Oman. Reflecting the corporate ethos, the bank seizes every available opportunity to channel resources for creating sustainable, positive changes in communities by investing in their welfare to equip them for a better life. Through strategic partnerships with the government and private sector entities, the bank has touched the lives of thousands of individuals, positively impacting the local communities and society.

Muscat Airport named worlds leading new airport

Muscat International Airport has won the prestigious title of the worlds leading new airport in 2018. The coveted accolade was announced during the 25th edition of the World Travel Awards hosted in Lisbon, Portugal. Recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of industry excellence, this years ceremony saw the participation of leading travel and tourism service providers from around the world.

Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed Al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports, said This esteemed award recognises our efforts in writing a new chapter in our journey of excellence. Muscat International Airport aims to not only raise the bar on customer experience but operational efficiency as well. This new state-of-the-art passenger terminal is the first encounter visitors have with Oman and we have worked to ensure that it is a true representation of our genuine hospitality and beautiful country.

Commercially opened in March of this year with a gross floor area of approximately 580,000

sqm, the new airport has the capacity to serve 20 million passengers per year. Al Hosni added, We are committed to playing a pivotal role in realizing the governments ambitious national logistics strategy and becoming one of the top 20 airports in the world by 2020. The new infrastructure is vital to deliver the level of service that our customers expect and to expertly manage and develop the gateways of Oman.

Since opening its doors, the airport has received worldwide acclaim for its Omani- themed architecture, advanced technology, and exceptional passenger experience. With an expansion potential of up to 80 million passengers per annum, it was designed and constructed to the highest standards of quality and service, meeting the International Air Transport Associations classification for top airports. As a result, it was voted best new Middle East tourism development project at the World Travel Awards just four weeks after starting its operations.

Bell to set up Prototyping centre in Oman

The Omani Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD) signed a contract with the US-based Bell for the implementation of the Prototyping Centre project. The centre will support Omans innovation and industry system, transfer of knowledge, enhance research and development studies, promote new technologies, train Omani researchers to transform ideas, scientific research, innovation and industrial products into experimental products and prototypes usable on the ground and the establishment of institutions capable of entering the labour market efficiently and is considered one of the integrated centres.

The agreement signed by Dr Dhafer bin Awadh Al Shanfari, CEO of OAPFD, and Brian Volmer, Bells senior director of industrial cooperation and offset, states that the US company will establish an equipped and integrated centre,

consisting of manufacturing workshops, specialised laboratories and a number of modern studios furnished with the latest equipment and technologies that enable the centres users from small and medium enterprises, industrial institutions, various research centres, university students, colleges and various training institutes, from turning ideas and innovations into live models that can be manufactured on the ground.

The centre will also contribute to the transfer of the international expertise and practices in the field of innovation and modelling to the Sultanate, as well as its role in supporting and upgrading Omani-registered intellectual property, and establishing small and medium enterprises. Al Shanfari said that economic diversification and the promotion of different and promising sectors in the Sultanate was a key objective for OAPFD, and the prototyping centre follows the Sultanates orientations to promote the culture of innovation in the Sultanate and create an integrated environment to support innovators, whether individuals or institutions. We are delighted to partner with the Sultanate to establish the Centre for Prototyping and Innovation, which will help innovators and SME owners, Volmer said.

OOMCO, Nafath launch new initiative called Solar

Oman Oil Marketing Company (OOMCO), in partnership with Nafath Renewable Energy, has launched a new initiative called Solar. This is a joint initiative to build portable solar science labs to educate students across Oman on how sustainable solar energy is more resilient and cost effective. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, over 500 students in schools within Muscat, North and South Al Batinah and South Al Sharqiyah regions will benefit from four of these state-of-the-art facilities, encouraging them to explore solar technology and its potential use to build a better tomorrow for the Sultanate. We are always striving to launch environmentally friendly initiatives in line with the Sultanates drive to support clean energy. We work to keep our customers and communities at the heart of everything we do. We realise the importance of solar education to empower future generations with the knowledge they need to lead environmentally conscious lives, David Khalife, CEO at Oman Oil Marketing Company, said.

The Solar initiative will be managed by the Ministry of Education, including student workshops highlighting solar kit systems, as well as theoretical and practical classes in which students learn how to read meters, how solar structures work, and eventually build their own solar panel systems. Part of Oman Oil Marketing Companys commitment to sustainable practices and its dedication to support Omans long-term renewable energy strategies, the initiative will help to further cultivate a culture of renewable energy and eco- friendly practices in the minds of students.

As a local renewable energy company, we are committed to a green, clean and eco-friendly future. We understand that the way in which we make the largest impact is through educating the younger generation, said Abdullah Al Saidi, CEO of Nafath. The initiative has so many positive aspects, but most importantly, we want to get students involved from an academic standpoint to learn how solar energy works, while having units to experiment with and be able to deploy their knowledge in real-life applications.

Bait Al Osool wins ISO 9001-2015 certification for quality management system Bait Al Osool Real Estate (BOS), a leading integrated facility management services and landscaping project and maintenance company, has been awarded ISO 9001-2015 Quality Management System certification.

Hassan Mohammad Juma, managing director of BOS received the certificate from Brain Dawes,

general manager of Velosi Quality Management International. The certification which came after a stringent audit by Velosi, an internationally reputed company who stands tall in the field of certification through its rigorous procedures and strict audits, testifies that BOS has a clearly defined and robust procedures in all its business areas and its projects and services meet the needs of clients through a certified quality management system.

BOS is part of the MJS Group which was originally emerged as a food and beverage company and has diversified its activities into real estate services from leasing to property management, facility management, construction and landscaping for execution and maintenance.

Established in 2007, BOS has designed, imple- mented and established its quality management system for improving the customer service to main- tain a high level of quality for overall performance.

We are now continuously challenging ourselves for further improvements to the systems and procedures, though we integrate in ourselves the attitude of quality in our daily works through an already set out procedures, says Hassan Mohammad Juma. We consistently provide the services that meet customer and statutory and regulatory requirements. The company aims to enhance customer satisfaction through effective application of the system, he added.

Oman Energy Forum calls for sustainable energy blueprint

More than 200 officials from Omans top energy companies have met at the Oman Energy Forum to chart out a plan in enabling the Sultanate to adopt a sustainable energy policy, as the country moves towards a policy of clean, renewable energy.

Under the countrys Tanfeedh programme for economic diversification, energy has been earmarked as one of the sectors of expansion, as the Sultanate seeks to transition away from fossil fuels and conventional sources of energy. It involves the right governance, local skills development and supply chains, enabling infrastructure and a progressive mind set aimed at achieving sustainable growth and prosperity. The ability to engage on these issues and ensure key building blocks are in place is increasingly critical for all stakeholders involved in the countrys energy industry, said Raoul Restucci, managing director, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO).

Oman has one of the worlds highest solar densities and has already made some significant steps towards its energy transition strategy in its goal to generate 10 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2025. The move towards adopting energy transition strategies across the Gulf region is propelled by an urgency triggered by rapid consumption, which has grown by eight per cent annually since 1972, compared to two per cent for the world. The focus of the 2018 Oman Energy Forum was to review and adopt comprehensive actions for the oil and gas industry to help accelerate Omans energy transition.

The sixth edition of the Oman Energy Forum took place in partnership with the Oman Ministry of Oil and Gas, as part of an on-going commitment by government, industry and academia stakeholders to review, refresh and, where broadly and strategically agreed, implement key recommendations put forward in the Oman Energy Master Plan 2040 (2015), including a transition to harvest a range of new renewable energy sources. The companies supporting the forum included Petroleum Development Oman, Shell Development Oman, Oman Trading International, Occidental Oman, GlassPoint, PETRONAS and Oman LNG.

PEIE unveils new brand identity, Madayn

The Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) unveiled its new brand identity at an event organised to celebrate its silver jubilee at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre under the auspices of H E Dr Ali bin Masoud bin Ali al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Along with H E Sunaidy, a number of senior officials from various government departments and private organisations attended the event, a press release said. The new brand identity of the PIE is Madayn, which literally means Small Cities. The name Madayn has been chosen to represent the Sultanates thriving nationwide network of world-class business hubs.

While speaking at the ceremony, Hilal bin Hamad al Hasani, CEO of PEIE said, For the tenth year in a row, the indicators show growth at various levels witnessed by the PEIE, which is seen

in the number of localised projects, volume of investments, and direct and indirect job opportunities,

He said, the residential project of Raysut Industrial Estate has been completed and work is underway to implement residential projects in all the industrial estates, and soon a new residential project will be inaugurated this year in Sohar Industrial Estate. Hasani said, In view of the global trends in various areas, we had to shape a new brand identity for the PEIE, which comes in line with the current and future local and global aspirations. The new identity is inspired by the authentic principles and fundamentals of Oman that takes into account all aspects related to modern investment operations. The event also highlighted the history of the PEIE and its major achievements along with the launch of its new website and social media accounts.

Voltamp Power, Tatung sign technological collaboration agreement

Voltamp Power and Tatung of Taiwan have recently signed technology collaboration related to 220 kV and 400 kV Class Power Transformers which will involve technical documents, designs documents, software for design and plant design information for power transformers. The agreement has been signed by Eng Ahmed Al Subhi, director of Voltamp Power and Frank Shiue, vice president of Tatung Co. in Taiwan. With this, Voltamp has extended and upgraded its capability for design and manufacture of 220 kV Class and 400 kV Class power transformers. The collaboration enables developing of methods and collaborative work environments based on the latest technology.

Voltamp Power is the first and the only one who have designed, manufactured, tested and supplied 160 MVA, 125 MVA of 132 kV Class power transformers in the GCC region with an annual capacity of 6,500 MVA. Voltamp Power has type tested its 125 MVA 132 kV class and 20 MVA 33 kV class power transformers at KEMA, Netherlands proving its design and manufacturing capability.

Voltamp Power Transformers has already supplied more than one hundred 132 kV class powers transformers which includes about sixty 125 MVA 132/33 kV power transformers for various projects of Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC) and 40 various ratings up to 160 MVA to power plants and oil and gas sector viz. Petroleum Development of Oman (PDO), a Shell.

Voltamp Powers Sohar Factory which was formally inaugurated in October 2011 by HH Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq Al Said and ever since supplied more than 500 power transformers of various ratings up to 160 MVA 132 kV class power transformers across the Sultanate, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Yemen to various customers in utility, oil and gas and industry segments.

Voltamp Power has one of its kind, world-class manufacturing factory which has a built-up area of 14,500 sq m on a total plot of 80,000 sqm. The Technology provided for the plant are the Tatung Company of Taiwan. Tatung is a well-respected and diversified company and its products include heavy electric products such as gas insulated switchgears, transformers up to 1000 MVA 500 kV Class, Wires & Cables, Motors that are exported all over the world including Japan, USA and Australia.

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Publication:Oman Economic Review (OER)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Dec 2, 2018
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