Author

Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
×
Subscribe now for Gulf Times
Personalise your news and receive Newsletters!
By signing up with an email address, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy .
Your email exists
 Pratap John
Pratap John
Pratap John is Business Editor at Gulf Times. He has mainstream media experience of nearly 30 years in specialties such as energy, business & finance, banking, telecom and aviation, and covered many major events across the globe.
The likelihood of government support for banks in financial difficulty remains very high and its capacity to do so has improved, according to Moody’s.
Business
Moody’s maintains 'stable' outlook for Qatar banks on expectation of country's higher economic growth

Moody’s has maintained a stable outlook on the Qatari banking system, driven mainly by its expectation of higher economic growth in the country.Businesses in the non-oil-related parts of the economy is expected to benefit from projects linked to the expansion of Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) production capacity, it noted.“Our stable outlook also takes into account the banks' strong capital and liquidity buffers, although these strengths will be counterbalanced by their weakening loan performance, particularly in the real estate, contracting and hospitality sectors.“Consequently, loan-loss provisioning costs will likely remain high and, combined with stable operating income and costs, will keep profitability broadly stable,” Moody’s said in a report on Wednesday.High oil prices will boost domestic deposits but reliance on confidence-sensitive foreign funding will likely remain high, increasing banks' vulnerability to shocks.The likelihood of government support for banks in financial difficulty remains very high and its capacity to do so has improved.Moody’s expect Qatar's real GDP to accelerate to 2.2% in 2024, from 1.3% in 2023, but down from 4.2% in 2022.Non-oil growth will likely accelerate to 3.5% from an estimated 2% in 2023, benefiting from sporting events, business exhibitions and related economic activities, as well as projects linked to the expansion of Qatar’s LNG production capacity.But this remains well below the 5.7% achieved in 2022, when Qatar hosted the FIFA World Cup and benefited from related infrastructure and investment activity.As a result, Moody’s expects private-sector credit growth in 2024 to be around 3% to 4%. Still, an escalation of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas presents the main geopolitical tail risk, according to Moody’s.Qatari banks' capital benefits from good profit generation and provides substantial loss-absorption capacity. Tangible common equity stood at a high 16.8% of risk-weighted assets as of September 2023 and regulatory ratios remain well above central bank minimum requirements.Moody’s expects Qatari banks' net income to remain between 1.2% and 1.4% of tangible assets in 2024. Growth in fee and commission income will balance a marginal drop in net interest income, keeping operating income broadly stable.Provisioning costs will remain high as pressures on certain sectors, such as real estate, contracting and hospitality persist. Margins will be temporarily compressed by interest rate cuts in 2024, because interest on deposits and other funding costs will fall more slowly than interest received from loans.That is despite the fact that funding is mostly short-term (less than one year maturity) meaning Qatari banks can respond to lower interest rates quickly.The banks’ cost efficiency is the best among the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) banking systems, with cost-to-income at 22.9%. This is driven by Qatar’s small and concentrated population, which allows banks to reach customers without the need for extensive and costly branch networks. The banks' high efficiency supports their profitability despite costly investment in digital services and technology.According to Moody’s high oil prices will boost flows of domestic deposits into the banking system. This will help compensate for the impact of prudential regulations aimed at curbing Qatari banks' overreliance on confidence-sensitive foreign funding, a result of their rapid growth.The banks' foreign liabilities fell to 34% of total liabilities at the end of December 2023 from a peak of 39% at the end of 2021. Risks from volatility-prone foreign funding are partially offset by the fact that sources are well-diversified across geographies and maturities. In addition, Qatari banks' have stocks of liquid assets at around 25.1% of total assets as of September 2023 that provide a sound buffer. Most Qatari banks report high liquidity coverage ratios.“We also expect banks to shift towards a longer-term funding structure in a lower interest rate environment,” Moody’s noted.Qatari banks’ benefit from a very high probability of government support in a crisis. The government strong willingness to provide a backstop is shown by the pre-emptive support it has extended to the banks in times of stress and the fact that it has never let a domestic bank default on its debt or deposit obligations.The government’s capacity to support banks has also improved, with the sovereign long-term issuer rating now at Aa2, Moody’s noted.

The codeshare will give customers greater access to more destinations across the UK and Ireland, and benefit passengers across the globe – including in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and New Zealand
Business
Qatar Airways, Aer Lingus launch new codeshare partnership

Qatar Airways and Aer Lingus (EI) have launched a new codeshare partnership, with effect from March 13.The codeshare will give customers greater access to more destinations across the UK and Ireland, and benefit passengers across the globe – including in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and New Zealand.Qatar Airways will add its codeshare on flights operated by Aer Lingus, the national carrier of Ireland, and Aer Lingus Regional, in a move which further strengthens Qatar Airways’ ongoing partnership expansion with International Airlines Group (IAG).Once implemented, Qatar Airways will have codeshare coverage with all IAG carriers, including British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, and Aer Lingus, solidifying its position in the European market.This new codeshare will enable connections between Qatar Airways and Aer Lingus (EI) flights through Dublin, London, and Manchester. Customers will be able to travel between Irish and UK destinations including Aberdeen, Belfast, Cork, and Glasgow, and Qatar Airways’ extensive global network through Doha’s hub at Hamad International Airport.Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori said, “Our new codeshare partnership with Aer Lingus demonstrates Qatar Airways’ commitment to its customers, who will benefit from a wider choice of global destinations.The move also builds on our long-term strategic relationship with IAG as we expand our codeshare coverage even further. It is an exciting opportunity to extend our exceptional service to even more travellers through this partnership.”Aer Lingus Chief Strategy and Planning Officer Reid Moody said, “We are pleased to launch our new codeshare partnership with Qatar Airways, offering their customers a great choice of routes and destinations on Aer Lingus’ extensive network of flights across the UK and Ireland. Customers can expect a warm welcome and friendly service and we look forward to welcoming them on board.”This follows the recent expansion of the strategic alliance between Qatar Airways, British Airways and Iberia, which offers global connectivity between more countries than any other airline joint business.

GECF secretary-general Dr Mohamed Hamel addressing the Africa Group of Ambassadors Meeting in Doha.
Business
GECF's 9 African members account for 245bn cubic metres of annual gas production: Hamel

The nine African member countries of Doha-headquartered Gas Exporting Countries Forum account for 245bn cubic metres of annual gas production, which constitutes 94% of the continent’s total, according to GECF secretary-general Dr Mohamed Hamel.He was addressing the Africa Group of Ambassadors Meeting in Doha.Hamel said African countries played an important role in the global energy landscape, and indeed, in the affairs of the GECF.“Since taking office, we have been privileged to welcome three new African countries to the forum – Mozambique, Mauritania, and Senegal.“I wish to reiterate our sincere congratulations for Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal, and convey our best wishes for peace and prosperity and all the success in the development of their natural gas resources.”He said, “We now proudly count nine distinguished countries from the African continent among our family, representing nearly half of our membership.”Collectively, these nine countries hold over 15tn cubic metres of proven gas reserves, accounting for an impressive 94% of Africa's gas reserves. Furthermore, these countries contribute 245bn cubic metres of annual gas production, which constitutes 94% of the continent’s total gas production.Hamel noted Africa already plays a considerable role in global gas trade, as a major supplier of both pipeline gas and LNG. The pipeline network from North Africa serves as a crucial supply route for the European market, while the region’s LNG exporting capacity significantly contributes to the global LNG trade.Moreover, Africa’s gas production is to become one of the main drivers of incremental global natural gas supply in the medium to long term.Conversely, Africa’s primary energy consumption remains at a relatively low level. Natural gas is the leading source of electricity generation on the continent, contributing 40% to the total power mix. Biofuels and waste dominate the final energy consumption, accounting for 52%, while natural gas represents only 8%.Given the vast natural gas reserves in Africa, he said there is “undoubtedly great potential for growth” in natural gas consumption, which could help alleviate energy poverty and foster social and economic development across the continent.He said the GECF stands firmly beside its African partners in addressing these challenges. The forum presents a distinct opportunity for collaboration among member countries across various segments of the gas markets.It serves as a platform for exchanging expertise, best practices and technologies, harnessing collective experience to drive sustainable development. Developing dialogue with Africa’s consuming countries is also one of our strategic objectives, Hamel added.

A general view of the coastal city of Lusail (file). Notable projects handed over in Qatar during the last quarter of 2023 include Al Serdal (120 apartments) and Al Kharaej (150 units) residential buildings in Lusail, according to ValuStrat.
Business
11,000 residential units delivered in Qatar in 2023: ValuStrat

Approximately 11,000 residential units were delivered in the country in 2023 out of the expected 12,500 residences for the year, ValuStrat said in a report.Notable projects handed over in Qatar during the last quarter of 2023 include Al Serdal (120 apartments) and Al Kharaej (150 units) residential buildings in Lusail.Residential stock in the country crossed 343,500 units for Q4, 2023 with the addition of 795 homes in the last quarter, ValuStrat said.More than 2,200 units are in the pipeline for Q1 2024, with 40% concentrated in The Pearl Island and 30% in Lusail.In terms of residential sales in Qatar in 2023, ValuStrat said the volume of transactions increased by 14% QoQ and 33% yearly.The median ticket size for residential units remained stable quarterly at QR2.7mn, but decreased 5.3% YoYDoha, Al Rayyan, and Umm Salal had the highest volume of transactions of residential houses during Q4, 2023Qatar in 2023 saw 114 transactions of residential buildings, reflecting a decline of 31% YoY in volume, while the value was down by 19% yearly to QR1.4bn.The Pearl Island and Al Qassar experienced respective surges of 82% and 44% in transaction values and volume in 2023 compared to 2022.During Q4, 2023, total office stock was estimated to be nearly 7mn sq m GLA, with 65% falling within the Grade A categoryProjects expected to be delivered in Q4, 2023 have been pushed to next year, the researcher noted.ValuStrat research has adjusted the expected office supply downward to 490,000sq m GLA in 2023 due to project delays.For this year, office projects in the pipeline are expected to reach 185,000sq m GLA, ValuStrat noted.In Q4, 2023, the retail stock of shopping centres in the country remained stable at approximately 2.4mn sq m GLA.Hamad International Airport debuted Souq Al Matar with seven shops and two restaurants aesthetically designed as Qatari traditional market.In the fourth quarter of 2023, ValuStrat Price Index (VPI) for residential market remained stable on a quarterly basis, but declined 1.7% annually to reach 64.1 points, when compared to a "100 point base" set in Q1, 2016.In the fourth quarter of 2023, ValuStrat Price Index (VPI) for residential market remained stable on a quarterly basis, but declined 1.7% annually to reach 64.1 points, that’s compared to a 100 point base set in Q1, 2016.According to ValuStrat, the gross yield for residential units decreased to 5.9% from 6.1%. Apartments contributed 8.2% while villas accounted for 4.8%. The price-to-rent ratio increased to 19 years, it said.

A cargo handler prepares air freight containers for a British Airways flight at Heathrow Airport. The booming e-commerce sector is continuing to help air cargo demand to trend above growth in both trade and production since the last quarter of 2023.
Business
Air cargo demand trend above growth in trade, production lifted by e-commerce

Air freight plays a crucial role in global economy, providing a fast and efficient means of transporting goods across the world..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[149702]**The booming e-commerce sector is continuing to help air cargo demand to trend above growth in both trade and production since the last quarter of 2023.Air cargo demand was up 18.4% year-on-year in January, according to data provided by the International Air Transport Association.Total air cargo demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), up 18.4% on January 2023 levels (19.8% for international operations).This significant upturn marks the highest annual growth in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs) since the summer season of 2021.Capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), was up 14.6% compared to January 2023 (18.2% for international operations).This was largely related to the growth in belly capacity. International belly capacity rose 25.8% year-on-year (YoY) on the strength of passenger markets.Air cargo growth outpaced trade and production, IATA said and noted several factors in the operating environment.First, it said the global cross-border trade increased by 1% in December compared to the previous month (-0.2% YoY).In January, the manufacturing output Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) improved to 50.3, surpassing the 50 mark for the first time in eight months, indicating expansion.The new export orders PMI also saw an increase to 48.8, but remains below the critical 50 threshold, suggesting a continuing yet decelerating decline in global exports.Inflation in major economies continued to ease from its peak in terms of Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January, reaching 3.1% in both the US and in the EU, and 2.1% in Japan.China’s CPI, however, indicated deflation for the fourth consecutive month, raising concerns of an economic slowdown. China’s negative inflation rate of -0.8% was the lowest since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.In terms of regional performance, IATA said Middle Eastern carriers have had the strongest performance in January this year, with a 25.9% year-on-year increase in cargo volumes. This was a significant improvement from the previous month’s performance (+18.3%).Carriers in the region benefited from growth in the Middle East–Asia (+29.5%) and Middle East–Europe markets (+46.1%). Capacity increased 17.1% compared to January 2023.Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 24.6% in January 2024 compared to the same month in 2023. This performance was above the previous month (+18.5%).Carriers in the region benefitted from ongoing growth in international CTKs on three major trade lanes: Africa-Asia (+52.5%), Middle East-Asia (+29.5%) and Europe-Asia (+27.5%). Available capacity for the region’s airlines increased by 25.0% compared to January 2023 as more belly capacity came online from the passenger side of the business.However, North American carriers had the weakest performance of all regions in January with a 9.3% increase (YoY) in cargo volumes. This was an improvement in performance compared to December (2.0%).Carriers in the region benefitted from growth on the North America-Asia trade lane (+17.1%) and North America-Europe trade lane (+3.5%). Capacity increased by 3.8% compared to January 2023.On the other hand, European carriers saw their air cargo volumes increase by 16.4% in January compared to the same month in 2023. This was a stronger performance than in December (+8.6%). Carriers in the region benefited from the strong growth in international CTKs in the within Europe market (+18.4%) and the Europe – Asia route (+27.5%).Gains made from the significant expansion in the Middle East-Europe trade lane (+46.1%) also benefited carriers in the region. Capacity increased 12.5% in January 2024 compared to the same month in 2023.African airlines saw their air cargo volumes increase by 17.0% in January 2024, much improved compared to December’s performance (-1.2%).Carriers in the region benefitted from strong growth on the Africa-Asia trade lane. Capacity in January was 19.4% above January 2023 levels.IATA Director General Willie Walsh noted, "Air cargo demand was up 18.4% year-on-year in January. This is a strong start to the year. In particular, the booming e-commerce sector is continuing to help air cargo demand to trend above growth in both trade and production since the last quarter of 2023.“The counterweight to this good news is uncertainty over how China’s economic slowdown will unfold. This will be on the minds of air cargo executives meeting in Hong Kong next week for the IATA World Cargo Symposium with an agenda focused on digitalisation, efficiency and sustainability."Undoubtedly, air freight is a key enabler of global trade, connecting businesses and consumers worldwide, and contributing significantly to the efficiency and resilience of the global economy.

10th Doha Islamic Finance Conference in a communiqué noted Artificial Intelligence in Shariah audit analytics can significantly enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy of compliance processes within Islamic finance institutions.
Classified
AI use in Shariah audit analytics significantly enhances effectiveness, accuracy of compliance processes

The use of Artificial Intelligence in Shariah audit analytics can significantly enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and accuracy of compliance processes within Islamic finance institutions, 10th Doha Islamic Finance Conference said in a communiqué.This, it said, can be done through automated data analysis techniques, predictive analytics for risk assessment, enhanced reporting and documentation, and real-time monitoring to promote trust, transparency, and integrity in Islamic finance industry.The conference noted that robots and electronic trading agents may be regarded as legally competent and financially liable by drawing parallels with the financial responsibility of non-human entities, such as groups of individuals, funds, endowments, and bait al-maal (the treasury).Exploring Shariah rulings based on the provisions applicable to the al-‘abd al ma-doon (authorised slave) in Islamic jurisprudence can provide further insight into their legal status and responsibilities.Chat-GPT and similar artificial intelligence applications cannot be independently relied on in issuing authoritative fatwas, particularly in matters that require interpretation skills of religious texts, contextual analysis, and consideration of specific circumstances.Nonetheless, artificial intelligence techniques can be utilised as auxiliary tools in issuing religious ruling, gathering scholarly sources and fast-checking information.“We encourage endowment institutions to embrace advancements of artificial intelligence and incorporate them into their operations for documentation, preservation, and safeguarding endowment assets. Moreover, endowment institutions can leverage on artificial intelligence in endowments management and investment decision making.“The integration of artificial intelligence in endowments operations aims to enhance the effectiveness, governance, and overall management of endowments,” the conference noted.The utilisation of Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology has the potential to advance the creation of Islamic financial products, improve customer services, and deepen the comprehension of Islamic financial products and decision-making among consumers and investors.“We advocate for enhancing collaboration and forming partnerships between Islamic financial institutions and technology firms specialising in Islamic financial product development. This collaboration aims to foster innovation, facilitate knowledge exchange, and devise inventive solutions tailored to market demands.”In light of the urgent need for data sharing, legislation should impose stringent regulations aimed at regulating and safeguarding privacy. Regulatory agencies should fortify the pertinent provisions while organisations operating within this domain endeavour to elevate their expertise and promote ethical awareness regarding data handling and sharing in a way that ensures the protection of the rights of individuals, society, and public order.The communiqué noted it is important to explore the intersection of technology, finance, and ethics, by integrating cutting-edge advancements of artificial intelligence in the ethical framework of Islamic finance, to enhance ethical integrity and transparency, thereby contributing to attracting customers to the Islamic finance industry and the growth and sustainability of Islamic finance institutions in light of the objectives of Sharia.By harnessing the power of generative AI technologies such as machine learning and deep learning, the communiqué said Islamic banks can drive an unprecedented transformation in several areas including decision-making, risk management, fraud detection, customer segmentation and personalisation, algorithm trading, and empower the workforce with modern technological developments, while upholding to the ethical principles of Islamic finance.

A passenger aircraft flies from Frankfurt Airport in Germany. In its ‘2023 Annual Safety Report’ for global aviation, IATA said aviation continues to make progress on safety with several 2023 parameters showing “best-ever” results.
Business
2023 'safest year for flying' by several parameters: IATA

In its ‘2023 Annual Safety Report’ for global aviation, IATA said aviation continues to make progress on safety with several 2023 parameters showing “best-ever” results.There were no hull losses or fatal accidents involving passenger jet aircraft in 2023, IATA noted Wednesday.However, there was a single fatal accident involving a turboprop aircraft, resulting in 72 fatalities. There were 37mn aircraft movements in 2023 (jet and turboprop), an increase of 17% on the previous year.Report highlights include:• The all accident rate was 0.80 per million sectors in 2023 (one accident for every 1.26mn flights), an improvement from 1.30 in 2022 and the lowest rate in over a decade. This rate outperformed the five-year (2019-2023) rolling average of 1.19 (an average one accident for every 880,293 flights).The fatality risk improved to 0.03 in 2023 from 0.11 in 2022 and 0.11 for the five years, 2019-2023. At this level of safety, on average a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident.IATA member airlines and IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registered airlines experienced no fatal accident in 2023.A single fatal accident occurred in 2023, on a turboprop aircraft, resulting in 72 fatalities. This is reduced from five fatal accidents in 2022 and an improvement on the five-year average (2019-2023) which was five. As for the Middle East and North Africa region that covers Qatar and the GCC, the all accident rate improved from 1.30 accidents per million sectors in 2022 to 1.16 in 2023 and was also better than its five-year average of 0.96.While no accidents were related to Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) interference, it has emerged as a critical area of concern in the region.The 2023 all accident rate improved compared to 2022 for all regions with the exceptions of North America and Asia Pacific. No regions experienced a jet hull loss in 2023.Asia-Pacific recorded a fatal turboprop hull loss, a loss-of-control accident in Nepal in January 2023 with 72 fatalities. As a consequence, all regions except Asia-Pacific recorded a fatality risk of zero in 2023.IATA’s Director General Willie Walsh said, "2023 safety performance continues to demonstrate that flying is the safest mode of transport. Aviation places its highest priority on safety and that shows in the 2023 performance. Jet operations saw no hull losses or fatalities. 2023 also saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record.“A single fatal turboprop accident with 72 fatalities, however, reminds us that we can never take safety for granted. And two high profile accidents in the first month of 2024 show that, even if flying is among the safest activities a person can do, there is always room to improve. This is what we have done throughout our history. And we will continue to make flying ever safer.”

Air turbulence due to irregular and often unpredictable movement of air currents in the atmosphere can severely impact crew and passenger safety. Although modern aircraft are designed to withstand turbulence, severe turbulence or encounters with unexpected weather phenomena can put stress on the airframe.
Business
Airline industry gathers accurate, real-time, globally scaled weather data for turbulence mitigation

Air turbulence due to irregular and often unpredictable movement of air currents in the atmosphere can severely impact crew and passenger safety. .text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[146592]**As climate change continues to impact weather patterns, managing turbulence has become challenging. This has implications for both safety and efficiency of flight.In 2023, more than 380mn "turbulence observations" were generated by the global aviation industry, according to International Air Transport Association.At present, some 21 airlines participate in the IATA Turbulence Aware Platform with more than 2,000 aircraft providing data daily.Turbulence is certainly a major safety concern. Every year, a significant number of people get injured by turbulence, while not wearing seatbelts. Cabin attendants are particularly at risk.Occasionally, turbulence events require an aircraft to divert, with all the inconvenience and associated costs that entails. Lacking accurate information to guide them, pilots may opt to minimise risk, but this can adversely impact fuel costs.With industry-wide sharing of actual occurrences, in real time, pilots could take appropriate action with confidence.Although modern aircraft are designed to withstand turbulence, severe turbulence or encounters with unexpected weather phenomena can put stress on the airframe. This can result in damage to the aircraft structure.Highlighting the importance of its Turbulence Aware Platform, IATA says that with "objective, automated, in-situ" turbulence reports, dispatchers, pilots and cabin attendants can know exactly where turbulence and smooth air are, and take appropriate action, be able to reassure passengers and cabin attendants and optimise fuel burn.Recently, IATA expanded transmission of its turbulence aware data for use within industry-leading aviation solutions by The Weather Company, which serves a majority of North American commercial airlines and many others globally.With this enhancement, participating airlines will soon be able to access Eddy Dissipation Rate (EDR) turbulence data directly through ‘Fusion’ and ‘Pilotbrief’ tools by The Weather Company. IATA Turbulence Aware will be enabled as an additional data layer within these tools, allowing pilots, dispatchers and flight planners to have needed turbulence observations integrated directly into their mission critical applications in one place rather than relying on multiple screens.Turbulence can impact crew and passenger safety, route planning, arrival and departure times, customer satisfaction, equipment maintenance and more.Combining IATA Turbulence Aware observations with forecasts from The Weather Company aims to better mitigate the impacts of weather and turbulence for contributing airlines globally.Accessing real-time, accurate turbulence information enables pilots and dispatchers to choose optimal flight paths, avoid turbulence and fly at optimum levels to maximise fuel efficiency and thereby reduce CO2 emissions.IATA Turbulence Aware was launched in 2018 to help airlines mitigate the impact of turbulence, which is a leading cause of passenger and crew injuries and higher fuel costs each year.The platform pools anonymised EDR turbulence data from thousands of flights operated by participating airlines. EDR is the official ICAO and WMO atmospheric turbulence intensity metric.“As weather grows more impactful due to a changing climate, it is critical now more than ever for aviation leaders to incorporate accurate, real-time, globally scaled weather data and insights within decisions,” said Ravi Vanmali, head of aviation for The Weather Company.“Reliable weather data and forecasts, combined with human expertise, can help airlines and pilots plan around inclement weather and turbulence, improve crew and passenger safety, and mitigate impact to the bottom line.”“It is our aim to make access to turbulence-related data as simple as possible. By collaborating with The Weather Company, IATA Turbulence Aware data will be available to pilots and dispatchers through existing flight deck and flight planning applications and tools, enhancing the decision-making process in turbulence mitigation and avoidance”, said Frederic Leger, IATA’s senior vice president (Commercial Products & Services).While turbulence itself is a common and generally harmless phenomenon, it can have various consequences on airline crew and passenger safety, depending on its severity.To mitigate the impact of air turbulence, the airline industry employs various strategies and technologies. These include weather forecasting and route planning, advanced avionics and radar systems, communication and co-ordination, turbulence detection systems, improved aircraft design, training and education and in-flight monitoring and reporting.While these measures can certainly help mitigate the impact of turbulence, it is not always possible to eliminate it entirely. However, through a combination of technology, training, and communication, the airline industry can work to enhance safety and passenger comfort during flights.

Ooredoo Qatar CEO Sheikh Ali bin Jabor bin Mohammad al-Thani with Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer Badr Mohammed al-Meer at the event where Ooredoo signed a strategic partnership with Qatar Airways to develop and co-design a state-of-the-art ‘Hybrid Multi-Cloud’ environment. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Business
Ooredoo, Qatar Airways in partnership to develop, co-design 'Hybrid Multi-Cloud' environment

Ooredoo has signed a strategic partnership with Qatar Airways to develop and co-design a state-of-the-art ‘Hybrid Multi-Cloud’ environment. This cutting-edge solution will bring together the prowess of world-renowned Hyperscalers, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, coupled with the resilience and security of Qatar Airways’ dedicated Private Cloud, powered by global technology providers including Nutanix, F5 and Cisco. Commenting on the partnership at an event Monday, Sheikh Ali bin Jabor bin Mohammad al-Thani, CEO, Ooredoo Qatar, said: “As pioneers in our respective fields, both Ooredoo and Qatar Airways recognise that innovation is about adopting new technologies and reshaping how we connect with the world. Through this collaboration, we are setting a new standard for digital transformations globally.” Reflecting on the joint venture’s potential, Sheikh Ali said: “At Ooredoo, we believe that the future belongs to those who innovate. By joining with Qatar Airways, we are making a bold statement—that together, we are poised to redefine the boundaries of innovation leveraging Hybrid cloud, Analytics and AI, ensuring that Qatar remains a beacon of progress in an ever-evolving digital landscape. “Trust is the foundation of any lasting partnership. With Qatar Airways, we’re not just building a robust digital infrastructure but fostering a bond based on mutual respect and a shared vision for a hyperconnected world.” Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer Badr Mohammed al-Meer shared his insights on the strategic partnership, stating: “Qatar Airways is an unparalleled leader in the aviation industry and consistently offers the best-in-class products and services. “Our commitment to technology innovation and adoption has been a key driver for our success and growth. In our partnership with Ooredoo, we are implementing Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure and Platform services by utilising leading technologies." He added, "This partnership allows us to offer unmatched services to our customers, ensuring seamless scalability, top-tier performance, and robust security. We are thrilled to collaborate with industry giants like Microsoft, Google, and Nutanix to build an efficient and secure Cloud Infrastructure.” One of the key elements of this transformation is the unparalleled agility it promises. The Hybrid Multi-Cloud setup will ensure that Qatar Airways has the flexibility to choose where its workloads reside depending on a host of factors, including but not limited to business demands, data security, data sovereignty and latency. By harnessing the expansive capabilities of the Public Cloud, Qatar Airways is poised to accelerate innovation and rapidly deploy new and exciting services to continually improve its customers’ experience, while operating its high-performance workloads that require unmatched speeds, low latency, and iron-clad security in its dedicated Private Cloud environment. Ooredoo will also provide Qatar Airways with a network fabric that enables direct links between the airlines’ premises and both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud platforms. This monumental transformation highlights the shared vision between Qatar Airways and Ooredoo to charter a path of innovation and endless opportunity in today’s digital world. “This partnership reinforces Ooredoo’s commitment to innovating ICT solutions that align with evolving market needs and our relentless drive to partner with the best-in-class technology providers to support our customers’ requirements in a continually changing business environment,” an Ooredoo statement said.

Guy Parmelin, Switzerland’s Federal Councillor.
Business
Several possible fields exist for increased co-operation with Qatar, says Swiss federal councillor

The ongoing visit of the high-level Swiss delegation visit to Qatar will provide the platform and framework for bilateral business relationships to flourish, says delegation head and Switzerland’s Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin.“However, it is important to note that Switzerland works bottom-up. It is ultimately the businesses, which decide where to invest and who to trade with,” noted Parmelin, also the head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education, and Research in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times in Doha Wednesday.With the Qatar National Vision 2030, the country is pursuing the goal of diversifying its economy and expanding its infrastructure, which opens numerous opportunities for Swiss companies, Parmelin said.“There are several possible fields for an increased co-operation. Swiss companies are traditionally strong in the clean-tech sector, infrastructure sector (such as railways) or the medical sector,” he pointed out.On his current visit to Qatar, which follows a successful one to Saudi Arabia, Parmelin said, “My visit to Qatar, during which I will be accompanied by a large delegation of leading business representatives, aims to evaluate how Swiss companies can potentially contribute to the implementation of QNV 2030 and take further advantage of the solid foundation of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Qatar to create win-win situations for our economies.“For this, I will meet with various ministers, starting with HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani. Then, together with HE the Minister of Finance, Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari, I will also open the financial and economic dialogue between the State Secretariat for International Finance, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the Qatari Ministry of Finance.“Moreover, at the invitation of HE the Minister of Municipality, Abdullah bin Hamad bin Abdullah al-Attiyah my delegation and I will attend the agricultural and horticultural Expo 2023 Doha, during which I will contribute to an event on innovation in the agri-food sector.Asked whether Switzerland planned to sign new agreements with Qatar, he said ‘No’.“No new agreements are planned to be signed, as there is already a solid foundation of bilateral agreements between Switzerland and Qatar. The Vision 2030 offers interesting opportunities for Swiss businesses. It’s important to see these changes first-hand, to get a better feel for the country and also to better understand the current developments.”On the volume of current bilateral trade between Switzerland and Qatar, Parmelin said that in 2022, Qatar was Switzerland’s third most important trading partner in the Middle East, with trade in goods amounting to over $2bn.“The highlight of the bilateral trade is its volume over the years, which has hovered around the $1bn mark, with 2022 representing a large increase. Given the size of both our countries population, this is an impressive trade statistic,” the senior Swiss minister said.A Joint Commission on Financial and Economic Areas was established in 2022 to promote and strengthen bilateral relationship between the two countries in the areas of finance and economy for mutual benefit. The first session of the Joint Commission was held in Switzerland. The second session will be held in Doha Thursday.Parmelin touched upon Switzerland’s renowned tourism capabilities and said, “I can highly recommend Switzerland as a tourist destination. However, Switzerland cannot determine the entry requirements on its own, since a Swiss visa is valid throughout the European “Schengen area”.Asked whether there are plans (for Qatar Airways) to add more destinations or enhance the number of weekly flights, Parmelin said, “This is something that is regulated by the market and the relevant authorities. Qatar Airways can apply for additional slots at any time.”

Gulf Times
Business
QatarEnergy drills 20+ appraisal wells past 10 years; confirms huge increase in NF gas reserves

The drilling of more than 20 appraisal wells in the past 10 years using state-of-the-art technologies has confirmed significant increase in North Field (NF) gas reserves, to more than 2,000 trillion cubic feet, said HE the Minister of State for Energy affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.Addressing a press conference at the QatarEnergy headquarters yesterday, al-Kaabi said, “I want to specifically mention the tireless work over the past two decades to evaluate the giant North Field and unlock its potential, especially in sectors that were not covered extensively by previous drilling and evaluation work.”Most recently, QatarEnergy has focused its efforts and attention on determining how far west the North Field extends in order to evaluate the production potential from those areas.“We have continued geological and engineering studies and have drilled a number of appraisal wells in that area.“I am pleased to announce today that, praise be to God, these great efforts have confirmed, through technical tests of the appraisal wells, the extension of the North Field’s productive layers further towards the west, which means the ability to produce significant quantities of gas from this new sector.“Recent studies have shown that the North Field contains huge additional gas quantities in the North Field estimated at 240tn cubic feet, which raises Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760tn cubic feet to more than 2,000tn cubic feet, and the condensates reserves from 70 to more than 80bn barrels, in addition to large quantities of liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, and helium.”Al-Kaabi noted, “These are very important results of great dimensions that will take Qatar’s gas industry to new horizons, as they will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field’s western sector with a production capacity of about 16 MTPY.“As such, Qatar's total LNG production will reach about 142MTPY when this new expansion is completed before the end of this decade. This represents an increase of almost 85% compared to current production levels. With the completion of this project, Qatar’s total hydrocarbon production will exceed 7.25mn barrels of oil equivalent per day.”The minister revealed that QatarEnergy will immediately commence the basic engineering works necessary to ensure that the planned progress is achieved according to the approved schedule for this new project, which will be called the ‘North Field West’.“These expansion project, which we are working to implement, aim to achieve optimal utilisation and management of our natural resources with the aim of contributing to what our wise leadership aspires to in terms of ensuring the economic and social well-being of current future generations of Qatar as articulated by the Qatar National Vision 2030.“At the same time, these projects reaffirm QatarEnergy’s commitment to reinforce its global leadership in the production and supply of LNG and live up to its commitment to provide an economic, safe and reliable energy source, giving priority to environmental sustainability for a more prosperous and brighter future.”Minister al-Kaabi also expressed his sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his wise leadership and guidance, and the unlimited support of Qatar’s energy sector.

HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, addressing the press conference Sunday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Business
Qatar announces raising LNG production capacity to 142mn tpy by 2030

QatarEnergy has announced that it is proceeding with a new LNG expansion project, the “North Field West” project, to further raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 142mn tonnes per year (MTPY) before the end of this decade, representing an increase of almost 85% from current production levels.HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, made the announcement during a press conference held at QatarEnergy’s Headquarters in Doha Sunday.Addressing local and international media, Minister al-Kaabi said extensive appraisal drilling and testing have confirmed that productive layers of Qatar’s giant North Field extend towards the west, which allows for developing a new LNG production project in Ras Laffan.Al-Kaabi said, “QatarEnergy has focused its efforts and attention on determining how far west the North Field’s productive layers extend in order to evaluate the production potential from those areas. We have continued geological and engineering studies and have drilled a number of appraisal wells in that area.“I am pleased today to announce that, praise be to God, these great efforts have confirmed, through technical tests of the appraisal wells, the extension of the North Field’s productive layers further towards the west, which means the ability to produce significant additional quantities of gas from this new sector.”Minister al-Kaabi also announced the presence of huge additional gas quantities in the North Field estimated at 240tn cubic feet, which raises Qatar’s gas reserves from 1,760tn cubic feet to more than 2,000tn cubic feet, and the condensates reserves from 70 to more than 80bn barrels, in addition to large quantities of liquefied petroleum gas, ethane, and helium.Al-Kaabi noted, “These are very important results of great dimensions that will take Qatar’s gas industry to new horizons, as they will enable us to begin developing a new LNG project from the North Field’s western sector with a production capacity of about 16 MTPY.“As such, Qatar's total LNG production will reach about 142MTPY when this new expansion is completed before the end of this decade. This represents an increase of almost 85% compared to current production levels. With the completion of this project, Qatar’s total hydrocarbon production will exceed 7.25mn barrels of oil equivalent per day.”Al-Kaabi revealed that QatarEnergy will immediately commence the basic engineering works necessary to ensure that the planned progress is achieved according to the approved schedule for this new project, which will be called the ‘North Field West’.He said QatarEnergy continues work to implement various elements of the North Field production expansion projects, including the North Field East project and the North Field South project.“I would like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to my colleagues the managers and employees at QatarEnergy and in the energy sector in Qatar, women and men, Qataris and expatriates, who work as one family tirelessly and with dedication to advance the energy sector for the benefit of Qatar, QatarEnergy, and our partners. And I would like to say: I am proud of you all.” Minister al-Kaabi concluded his remarks by expressing sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for his wise leadership and guidance, and the unlimited support of Qatar’s energy sector.HE The Minister Of State For Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Also The President And CEO Of QatarEnergy, Addressing The Press Conference Sunday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.

A general view of the coastal city of Lusail (file). This year will see the completion of a “high concentration” of apartments ValuStrat said and noted most under-construction residential buildings are located in Fox Hills, Lusail, and in La Plage South, according to ValuStrat.
Business
21 residential projects expected to be added in Qatar in 2024: ValuStrat

Some 21 residential projects are expected to be added in Qatar in 2024, with more than 60% in Doha located in Lusail and the rest in Doha, researcher ValuStrat said in a report. This year will see the completion of a “high concentration” of apartments ValuStrat said and noted most under-construction residential buildings are located in Fox Hills, Lusail, and in La Plage South, Doha. According to the researcher, the country’s residential segment will experience an “annual depreciation reflecting a gradual correction” in the sales market, which it said will be reflected on its ValuStrat Price Index (VPI). In the office segment, for 2024, projects in the pipeline are expected to reach 350,000sq m gross leaseable area (GLA), representing an estimated increase of 50% in the forecast. With the majority of the projects being delayed during 2023, oversupply is projected to exceed 2mn sq m GLA, which may continue to put “downward pressure” on the performance of the commercial sector. In the retail segment, ValuStrat noted Shop Qatar, a recurring January event, has elevated mall footfall and consumer engagement around the country. Most of the retail expected to be added during 2024 is developed in conjunction with mixed-use developments such as residential clusters or hospitality. The researcher noted that an upcoming development includes a Souq on Qetaifan Island North in Lusail, projected to be the size of a community mall, spanning around 11,000sq m GLA. As per ValuStrat research, for the year 2024 more than 2,225 keys are expected to be added to the hospitality stock. Qatar’s first Habitas hotel is commencing operations in 2024 in Ras Abrouq, with 42 villas, adventure, retail, and F&B the hotel promotes a stage for art exhibits, concerts, and film screenings. IHG Hotels & Resorts is set to complete its first Velero Hotel Vignette Collection in Lusail, Doha in the first quarter (Q1) 2024. Qatar’s tourism segment will be a major beneficiary of the Expo 2023 Doha, Qatar (International Horticulture Expo 2023-2024) expected to bring in 3mn tourists during the event period. Generally on the local economy, the researcher noted, “As per the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Qatar’s real GDP growth is expected to reduce to 2.2% during 2024 moving towards further adjustment after the World Cup boost. The US Federal Reserve has indicated the possibility of at least three rate cuts in 2024. It is anticipated that the Qatar Central Bank will likely follow suit. “Qatar’s inflation is forecasted to reach 2.3% in 2024, as per the IMF.”

The global aviation industry faces various challenges that impact its operations, growth, and sustainability. Some of these challenges include fuel price volatility, geopolitics, global economic conditions, environmental concerns, infrastructure constraints and cybersecurity threats
Business
Aviation transitioning to net zero CO2 goal by 2050 comes at a cost!

The global aviation industry faces various challenges that impact its operations, growth, and sustainability..text-box { float:left; width:250px; padding:1px; border:1pt white; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 30%;}}**media[143634]**Some of these challenges include fuel price volatility, geopolitics, global economic conditions, environmental concerns, infrastructure constraints and cybersecurity threats.That said, the aviation industry made notable progress and recovery during 2023, following a few years of significant downturn mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic.Full year 2023 was at just over 94% of where the industry was in 2019. And that consisted of very strong performance in domestic markets, almost 4% ahead of 2019, with international markets lagging at just over 88%, according to the global body of airlines- the International Air Transport Association.Looking forward, IATA estimates that over the next 20 years, the industry will grow at about 3.3% every year. That is significantly lower than the growth the industry witnessed during the period 2010 to 2019, noted IATA director general Willie Walsh.“But I think it does reflect some of the challenges that we as an industry are facing and will face going into the future. Infrastructure constraints both in the air and on the ground. Supply chain issues which have now been a feature of the industry for a number of years and are likely to continue for a few more years.“The delay and delivery of new aircraft, the problems in relation to engines, labour shortages in some parts of the world, and significantly the cost impact of our transition to net zero in 2050.“Because whatever way you look at this, there will be a cost associated with transitioning to net zero. And ultimately, that costs will have to be reflected in the ticket prices that we charge our customers, which will have a dampening effect on the level of growth that the industry sees going forward.”IATA looks at six major geographic regions when assessing the industry’s economic performance. That's Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and North America.In 1990, African airlines contributed 2.2% of global aviation. Asia-Pacific carriers were 19.7%, Europe 28%, Latin America and Caribbean 5.4%, Middle East carriers 2.4% and a lot has been written about what has happened in the Middle East.But significantly, North American carriers accounted for 42% of the global markets.Now if one roll forward and look at 2019, one sees Africa continuing at 2.1%. But significant growth was seen in the Asia-Pacific region, reaching almost 35% of the global market in 2019. Europe remained pretty static at 27%, Latin America 5%, the Middle East has grown from 2.4% to 9.1%, and North American carriers had reduced from 42% to just over 22%.The figures for 2023 are broadly similar, IATA says. Asia Pacific, reflecting the fact that the recovery has been slightly slower in international markets at about 32%.A look at the major domestic markets indicate the domestic market in China in 1990 was just over 1% of all global activity, and India about 0.2%.Looking forward at 2023, the Chinese domestic market now represents over 11%, of total commercial aviation, and India has grown to almost 1.8%.Significant growth was seen in these markets in that period.“And I think when you look at the demographics of the world, it doesn't take much to imagine what is going to happen in these countries going forward, particularly in India, which I think represents a fantastic opportunity for the industry,” Walsh says.He said the aviation industry is absolutely committed to achieving its “net zero CO2 goal” in 2050. And we cannot fail or falter in our efforts to achieve that goal.“It is absolutely essential that we work together to ensure that we can credibly provide people with confidence that we have a pathway to decarbonise our industry. And I think we can take a lot of confidence from what we've achieved already.“If you look at the CO2 produced by the industry in 2000, and compare that to what we did in 2019 just before the pandemic, our CO2 footprint increased by almost 54%. But during that same period, passenger traffic grew by 175%. So, there is complete disconnect between passenger growth and our C02 growth.”Central to achieving the industry’s goal will be the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), Walsh insists.“I believe the industry has shown strong demand for this product. Every single drop of sustainable aviation fuel that has been produced has been used by the industry.”In 2020, 2021, 2022, during the height of the pandemic, the industry continued to invest in this expensive product.“And I have absolutely no doubt that we will continue to do so. What we need to see as an industry is greater production. We need to see governments providing the incentive for production to significantly increase. And with that increase in production, I guarantee you that the airlines will use all of the fuel produced despite the cost impact that will represent,” Walsh added.Undoubtedly, addressing critical challenges facing the industry requires a collaborative effort from industry stakeholders, governments, and regulatory bodies to create a sustainable and resilient aviation sector.

HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi speaking during the the foundation stone for the Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex, which is one of the largest in the world.
Business
$6bn world scale Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex to have multiplier effects on Qatar economy

Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex will have multiplier effects on Qatar’s economy as it is expected to generate significant economic benefits for the country including increased tax revenue and foreign investment, noted HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi.On Monday, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani laid the foundation stone for the $6bn Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex, one of the largest in the world, which will raise Qatar’s overall petrochemical production capacity to about 14mn tonnes a year by the end of 2026.The Ras Laffan Petrochemicals complex consists of an ethane cracker with a capacity of 2.1mn tonnes of ethylene per year.The 435-acre project site also includes two polyethylene trains with a combined output of 1.7mn tonnes per year of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) polymer products.QatarEnergy has joined hands with Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (CPChem) on the projected and created a joint venture, in which QatarEnergy will own a 70% equity share, and CPChem 30% stake.Together their large and diverse portfolio will not only help meet the world’s growing needs for advanced plastics and petrochemicals, but also enable balanced growth and facilitate human development in a responsible and sustainable manner.Speaking at Ras Laffan on Monday, al-Kaabi noted Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex is QatarEnergy’s largest investment ever in country's petrochemical sector, and marks an important milestone in the country’s downstream expansion strategy.The petrochemical complex will not only facilitate further expansion in Qatar’s downstream and petrochemical sectors, but will also reinforce the country’s integrated position as a major global player in the upstream, LNG and downstream sectors.In a few years, the Ras Laffan petrochemicals complex will help meet the rising global demand for high-density polyethylene, when the largest ethane cracker in the Middle East and one of the largest in the world begins production in 2026.Polyethylene is used in the production of durable goods like pipe for natural gas and water delivery and recreational products such as kayaks and coolers. It is also used in packaging applications to protect and preserve food and keep medical supplies sterile.  The facility will be constructed with modern, energy-saving technology and use ethane for feedstock, which along with other measures, is expected to result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than similar global facilities.The integrated olefins and polyethylene facility will be utilising “state-of-the-art design and technology” during its construction and operation to promote energy efficiency.It is important to stress the unique environmental attributes of this world-scale complex. It will have lower waste and greenhouse gas emissions, when compared with similar global facilities.“Our prominent standing in the petrochemical industry will be further strengthened when we commence production of the Golden Triangle Polymers Plant in 2026, which we are developing in the US state of Texas at a cost of $8.5bn in partnership with Chevron Phillips Chemical, and which is considered the biggest in the world,” al-Kaabi noted.The joint venture between Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) and QatarEnergy is named for the Golden Triangle region encompassing the cities of Orange, Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas.Chevron Phillips Chemical President and CEO Bruce Chinn said, “This project advances CPChem’s long-held strategy to expand its operations in regions where feedstock is reliable and abundant and will help meet the global demand for polyethylene products.“CPChem and QatarEnergy have a long history of safely building and operating petrochemical facilities, and this celebration represents the next step toward bringing these world-scale assets into our successful portfolio here in Qatar.”The facility is designed to use modern, energy-saving technology, which along with other measures, is expected to result in lower greenhouse gas emissions intensity than similar global facilities.QatarEnergy and CPChem successfully operate three joint ventures in Qatar – Qatar Chemical Company Ltd., Qatar Chemical Company II Ltd. and Ras Laffan Olefins Company.

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi and other dignitaries at the foundation stone laying programme of the Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex on Monday.
Qatar
Amir lays foundation stone for $6bn world scale Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani laid the foundation stone for the $6bn Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex, one of the largest in the world, which will raise Qatar’s overall petrochemical production capacity to about 14mn tonnes a year by the end of 2026.The groundbreaking ceremony for the world-scale integrated polymers complex was held at Ras Laffan Industrial City, and attended by HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, Mark Lashier, President and CEO of Phillips 66, Bruce Chinn, President and CEO of Chevron Phillips Chemical, and senior executives from QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical.The complex will house an ethane cracker with a capacity of 2.1mn tonnes per year of ethylene, making it the largest in the Middle East and one of the largest in the world, and raising Qatar’s ethylene production capacity by more than 40%.The 435-acre site also includes two polyethylene trains with a combined annual output of 1.7mn tonnes of high-density Polyethylene (HDPE) polymer products, raising Qatar’s overall production by about 50%.QatarEnergy holds an equity share of 70% in the Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex, with Chevron Phillips Chemical owning the remaining 30%.Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony, al-Kaabi highlighted the project’s unique environmental qualities, and the world-class construction, operation, and technology standards, all designed to ensure energy savings, and significant reduction of emissions and hydrocarbon waste compared with similar global facilities.“The Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex is being built at a cost of $6bn, making it the largest investment in history of QatarEnergy in Qatar’s petrochemicals sector. There is no doubt that this is an important landmark in QatarEnergy’s downstream expansion strategy as it will reinforce our integrated position as a global energy player and generate significant economic benefits for the country,” the minister said.“Our prominent standing in the petrochemical industry will be further strengthened when we commence production of the Golden Triangle Polymers Plant in 2026, which we are developing in the US state of Texas at a cost of $8.5bn in partnership with Chevron Phillips Chemical, and which is considered the biggest in the world,” al-Kaabi noted.Al-Kaabi expressed his thanks to the management and staff of Chevron Phillips Chemical, QatarEnergy’s partner in this project, and extended his appreciation to the dedicated teams from QatarEnergy who are working diligently to implement this project as well as its contractors.“I am honoured to extend ample thanks to His Highness, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Amir of the State of Qatar, for his patronage of this event and honouring us with his presence, and for his unlimited support to the energy sector,” al-Kaabi added.Later addressing a press conference along with Chinn, the minister said the Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex is expected to generate significant economic benefits for the country including increased tax revenue and foreign investment.Earlier the JV partners – QatarEnergy and Chevron Phillips Chemical Company (CPChem) announced they have secured $4.4bn financing for the Ras Laffan Petrochemicals project.The senior debt financing package comprises commercial and Islamic facilities as well as Export Credit Agency (ECA) financing.Ends

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has laid the foundation stone for the $6bn Ras Laffan Petrochemical Complex – one of the largest in the world – which will raise Qatar’s overall petrochemical production capacity to about 14mn tonnes a year by the end of 2026.
Business
Qatar set for more LNG deals; more value added partners to join North Field expansion project

QatarEnergy expects more LNG deals with European and Asian buyers and more value added partners (VAPs) are expected to join the multi-billion dollar North Field expansion project, noted HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi.The North Field expansion comprises North Field South (NFS) and North Field East (NFE) and will increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity from the current 77 MTPY to 126 MTPY in a few years.Qatar has been securing sales contracts for some of that capacity and is still seeking to place volumes in an effort to ensure the country remains a key supplier for decades to come.In reply to a question by Gulf Times at a media event at Ras Laffan on Monday, al-Kaabi said “yes” when asked whether more value added partners would be joining the North Field expansion since many long-term deals are being signed with buyers, mostly based in Asia.In June last year, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) joined the North Field expansion project as the first value added partner.Last year, al-Kaabi told Gulf Times at a media event held on the sidelines of the event at QatarEnergy, “Our project provides lucrative returns in the industry. So the returns are very high.”He said, “The way we have structured the project is that 75% in each venture will be with us - QatarEnergy - and the remaining 25% tendered out to competition for international oil companies (IOCs).“Of the 75% stake we have, 5% is potentially for value added partners. We will only give up 5% of our stake in the project if someone actually secures a long-term market. And add value to the project, long-term. Today’s agreement shows that value addition through CNPC,” al-Kaabi had said.

HE Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah with HE Abdulaziz bin Nasser bin Mubarak al-Khalifa and IIA Qatar office-bearers and other dignitaries.
Business
Al-Attiyah calls for professional, independent, and objective auditing

The work of auditors is essential in safeguarding assets, detecting potential fraud, and promoting a culture of accountability and integrity in the society, said HE the former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah.In his opening remarks at the 7th National Conference on Internal Auditing in Doha on Sunday, al-Attiyah, who is the chairman of The Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Foundation for Energy and Sustainable Development, said, “In a world facing complex challenges including sustainability and environmental protection, data security, increased poverty, to the escalating risks of fraud and corruption, the need for professional, independent, and objective auditing has never been greater.”Al-Attiyah noted that by conducting thorough assessments, internal auditors contribute to the overall efficiency and transparency of an organisation. They provide valuable information and insights for making the right decision.Commending the Institute of Internal Auditing – Qatar Chapter, for organising the “important and timely conference”, al-Attiyah recalled that he had the privilege of heading Qatar's Administrative Control and Transparency Authority for many years.“As a true reflection of the insightful vision of our wise leadership, the authority aims to strengthen the institutional framework for integrity, transparency, and anti-corruption. A mission that goes hand in hand with internal auditing,” he emphasised.He said he was pleased to see that the agenda of the conference covers the entire spectrum of internal auditing, starting from risk management and data security, to fraud detection and audit reporting.Throughout the conference, he said participants will have the privilege to engage with esteemed professionals and expert speakers from around the globe in the field of auditing.The conference also aligns with the Qatar National Vision 2030 and reflects commitment to fostering a culture of transparency, integrity, and accountability, al-Attiyah noted.“I encourage you to take the insights and knowledge gained here to elevate audit practices in your organisation,” he told the delegates from around the world.Themed ‘Be Brave,’ the conference was held under the patronage of HE Abdulaziz bin Nasser bin Mubarak al-Khalifa, President, Civil Service and Government Development Bureau, who also addressed the opening session.Al Attiyah Architectural Group Holding Company is the event's title sponsor, with other major sponsors including QNB, Qatar Islamic Bank, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Deloitte, Mazars, Protiviti and Moore.Jenitha John, past chairperson of the Global Institute of Internal Auditors; Naji Fayad, board member of the International Internal Audit Standards Board (IIASB); and Adulqader Obaid Ali, chairman of the Board, UAE Internal Auditors Association, were some of the prominent speakers, in addition to some 20 top experts from the internal audit domains.Adel al-Hashimi, president, IIA Qatar chapter; Chris Adonis, conference chair; and Sundaresan Rajeswar, board member, IIA Qatar were among the other prominent speakers.