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Thursday, February 02, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 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.
Matthieu Bouyer, managing director, Total E&P Qatar and Total country chair in Qatar.
Business
Total keen to participate in bid for entering North Field East (NFE) project with QP: Bouyer

French broad energy company Total, which has been present in Qatar since 1936, looks forward to participate in the bid for entering the multi-billion dollar North Field East (NFE) project with QP, said Matthieu Bouyer, managing director, Total E&P Qatar and Total country chair in Qatar. In February, Qatar Petroleum (QP) took the final investment decision for developing the $28.75bn North Field East Project (NFE), the world’s largest LNG project, which will raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77mn tonnes per year (mmtpy) to 110 mmtpy by 2025. “HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad bin Sherida al-Kaabi mentioned in February that the results should be known by the year end. We are mobilised and would definitely like to be associated with this giant expansion,” Bouyer said in an interview with Gulf Times in Doha. Total, which has been active in all areas of Qatar’s energy sector, from exploration and production to refining, petrochemicals and marketing of lubricants, is a founding partner of Qatargas and a founding member and leading partner of Dolphin Energy. Speaking about Total’s short and mid-term strategy, Bouyer said, “In our current joint ventures, we are on the verge of launching large scale projects… so we are putting a lot of efforts to support them as much as possible in the project definition and execution phases in order to secure future energy production for the State of Qatar. “Our short and mid-term strategy involves diversification of our business and implementing the group strategy in Qatar through renewables in particular.” Bouyer was quick to emphasise the importance Total attaches to safety of its staff and operations. “Although Qatar has been managing Covid-19 remarkably well, our clear daily priority is to keep our staff and operations safe amid the pandemic crisis. Beyond the Covid risk management, we expect the highest level of safety in a context of fatigue and weariness.” Bouyer sees a “bright” future for liquefied natural gas and Qatar’s LNG industry as a whole. “Economists and market analysts believe LNG holds significant growth prospects in the long run. Natural gas stands out as a transition fuel, to replace coal in particular, thereby reducing emissions. “Two major economies in Asia – China and India have been witnessing increasing demand for LNG… even in 2020 in the middle of the most unprecedented crisis the world has faced.” “At Total, our goal is clear – more energy and less emissions. Our ambition is to be Net Zero by 2050 together with society”, Bouyer said and noted “to achieve this, we base our strategy in particular on two growth pillars – LNG and renewables. We are one of the top leading players in LNG. That said, as a broad energy company, our portfolio comprises not only oil and gas, but also power, mainly from renewables.” To anchor this strategy, Total will propose to its shareholders in May this year to change its name to become ‘TotalEnergies’, Bouyer said. Praising Qatar’s efforts at developing its LNG industry, Bouyer said, “In the last 25 years, Qatar has become the largest LNG exporting country with more than 77mn tonnes per annum annum (Mtpa) of high quality LNG capacity. In February, Qatar launched the biggest LNG project worldwide – North Field Expansion, with an additional 33 mtpy with high environmental standards. And they are working to further increase this with a future phase – North Field South that is planned to be put online right after. “So definitely, LNG has a role and will be the main contributor to Qatar energy development, looking forward.” Total is the shareholder and sole operator of Al Khalij offshore oilfield. In 2016, Total won the bid for Al Shaheen offshore oilfield, resulting in North Oil Company, established as a partnership between Total and QP. Total is present in five downstream joint ventures (JVs) in Qatar, three in petrochemicals (Qapco, Qatofin, RLOC) and two in refining (Laffan Refineries 1 and 2). Total supported Qatar to build the first ethane cracker in the Middle East at Qapco. “Since then, Total has been involved in many upgrades or expansions of the downstream sector in Qatar, supporting its JVs and their projects with secondees and specialised technical services,” Bouyer said. Total Marketing Qatar has a prominent market share for lubricants in Qatar for automotive, construction, industrial and marine customers. The Total Research Center Qatar at QSTP has leading edge and innovative research projects related to sustainable development, marine biodiversity, biofuels, and solar energy. Total said its commitment to sharing its expertise is fuelled by its aim is to develop home-grown solutions to its local operational challenges, thus supporting and contribution to Qatar’s vision of developing a knowledge-based economy. TRC-Q also acts as a bridge between industry and academia to bring innovative solutions to our operations, he said.    

Qatar has lot of potential for future solar projects, says Matthieu Bouyer, managing director, Total E&P Qatar and Total country chair in Qatar.
Business
Potential for future solar projects in Qatar: Total country chair

Qatar has lot of potential for future solar projects, says Matthieu Bouyer, managing director, Total E&P Qatar and Total country chair in Qatar. In renewables, Total is partnering alongside Marubeni and Siraj Energy, a Joint Venture between Qatar Petroleum and QEWC (Qatar Electricity & Water Company) to develop Al Kharsaa, the largest solar project in Qatar, with 800MW, which should be in full capacity by the end of first quarter 2022, he told Gulf Times in an interview. Once fully started, it will represent around 10% of electricity peak demand of the country. “This project will reduce emissions from power generation significantly with 26 million tons of carbon saved during the life of the project. We are proud to partner with QP on this strategic project that will contribute to making Qatari energy mix greener,” Bouyer noted. He said Total’s ambition is to be among the top five “renewables players worldwide” by 2030 and targets 35GW gross capacity by 2025. Speaking about the activities of Total Marketing Qatar (TMQ), Bouyer said TMQ did experience a drop in sales volume during the pandemic period from some regular oil change centres, both aftermarket and franchise dealers due to low customer footfall. “While we have made sure that we offer our best support to this segment during the tough times, we also kept our focus on other key segments such as industrial and commercial road transport, both directly and via our local partners, where actually we have won new businesses amid stiff competition. “Overall, our volumes sold in 2020 have been good compared to 2019 despite the pandemic. This has helped us maintain our market position.” In 2021, he said, “TMQ is emerging even stronger as we aim to explore new opportunities in key segments through our brand, service, and concept support but also by offering new to range synthetic products from Total Lubricants, which are becoming quite popular among our customers for the enhanced equipment performance. He said Total is a committed energy partner of Qatar with more than 85 years of presence and where all business segments are represented and developed. Now with renewables, the whole strategy of the company is deployed. “This is a clear reflection of our strong partnership with Qatar underlining the convergence of Qatar’s National Vision together with Total’s own strategy and climate ambition. Additionally, he affirmed “developing national capabilities” is a top priority for Total in Qatar. “Despite the worldwide hire freeze, we have hired new Qatari staffs to join our technical teams last year. We keep developing new programmes with high-profile entities such as Qatar University or Texas A&M University at Qatar (Tamuq) recently. “These are part of our initiatives to help in the career development of future executives of the country,” Bouyer added.    

Matthieu Bouyer, managing director, Total E&P Qatar and Total country chair in Qatar.
Business
Total keen to participate in bid for entering North Field East (NFE) project with QP: Matthieu Bouyer

French broad energy company Total, which has been present in Qatar since 1936, looks forward to participate in the bid for entering the multi-billion dollar North Field East (NFE) project with QP, said Matthieu Bouyer, managing director, Total E&P Qatar and Total country chair in Qatar. In February, Qatar Petroleum (QP) took the final investment decision for developing the $28.75bn North Field East Project (NFE), the world’s largest LNG project, which will raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77mn tons per year (mmtpy) to 110 mmtpy by 2025. “HE the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida al-Kaabi mentioned in February that the results should be known by the year end. We are mobilised and would definitely like to be associated with this giant expansion,” Bouyer said in an interview with Gulf Times in Doha. Total, which has been active in all areas of Qatar’s energy sector, from exploration and production to refining, petrochemicals and marketing of lubricants, is a founding partner of Qatargas and a founding member and leading partner of Dolphin Energy. Speaking about Total’s short and mid-term strategy, Bouyer said, “In our current joint ventures, we are on the verge of launching large scale projects… so we are putting a lot of efforts to support them as much as possible in the project definition and execution phases in order to secure future energy production for the State of Qatar. “Our short and mid-term strategy involves diversification of our business and implementing the group strategy in Qatar through renewables in particular.” Bouyer was quick to emphasise the importance Total attaches to safety of its staff and operations. “Although Qatar has been managing Covid-19 remarkably well, our clear daily priority is to keep our staff and operations safe amid the pandemic crisis. Beyond the Covid risk management, we expect the highest level of safety in a context of fatigue and weariness.” Bouyer sees a “bright” future for liquefied natural gas and Qatar’s LNG industry as a whole. “Economists and market analysts believe LNG holds significant growth prospects in the long run. Natural gas stands out as a transition fuel, to replace coal in particular, thereby reducing emissions. “Two major economies in Asia – China and India have been witnessing increasing demand for LNG… even in 2020 in the middle of the most unprecedented crisis the world has faced.” “At Total, our goal is clear- more energy and less emissions. Our ambition is to be Net Zero by 2050 together with society”, Bouyer said and noted “to achieve this, we base our strategy in particular on two growth pillars – LNG and renewables. We are one of the top leading players in LNG. That said, as a broad energy company, our portfolio comprises not only oil and gas, but also power, mainly from renewables.” To anchor this strategy, Total will propose to its shareholders in May this year to change its name to become ‘TotalEnergies’, Bouyer said. Praising Qatar’s efforts at developing its LNG industry, Bouyer said, “In the last 25 years, Qatar has become the largest LNG exporting country with more than 77mn tonnes per annum annum (Mtpa) of high quality LNG capacity. In February, Qatar launched the biggest LNG project worldwide - North Field Expansion, with an additional 33 mtpy with high environmental standards. And they are working to further increase this with a future phase- North Field South that is planned to be put online right after. “So definitely, LNG has a role and will be the main contributor to Qatar energy development, looking forward.” Total is the shareholder and sole operator of Al Khalij offshore oilfield. In 2016, Total won the bid for Al Shaheen offshore oilfield, resulting in North Oil Company, established as a partnership between Total and QP. Total is present in five downstream joint ventures (JVs) in Qatar, three in petrochemicals (Qapco, Qatofin, RLOC) and two in refining (Laffan Refineries 1 and 2). Total supported Qatar to build the first ethane cracker in the Middle East at Qapco. “Since then, Total has been involved in many upgrades or expansions of the downstream sector in Qatar, supporting its JVs and their projects with secondees and specialised technical services,” Bouyer said. Total Marketing Qatar has a prominent market share for lubricants in Qatar for automotive, construction, industrial and marine customers. The Total Research Center Qatar at QSTP has leading edge and innovative research projects related to sustainable development, marine biodiversity, biofuels, and solar energy. Total said its commitment to sharing its expertise is fueled by its aim is to develop home-grown solutions to its local operational challenges, thus supporting and contribution to Qatar’s vision of developing a knowledge-based economy. TRC-Q also acts as a bridge between industry and academia to bring innovative solutions to our operations, he said.  

Jihad Azour addressing an IMF-hosted virtual media event
Qatar
Early vaccine rollout seen helping Qatar's economic recovery: IMF

Early vaccine rollout and the improvement in the relationship between GCC countries following the Al Ulha Accord will help Qatar economy recover, said Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF. “These will create better conditions, help increase the level of exchange of goods, services and also people and provide an additional source of visitors- both for tourism as well as for the FIFA World Cup 2022 from the region,” Azour said in reply to a question by Gulf Times at an IMF-hosted virtual media event Sunday. He said, “Qatar like other GCC countries was affected last year by the pandemic and the sudden drop in oil prices as well as also in demand. “Qatari Government and the authorities here also took certain number of important measures, to extend additional social support, increase the fiscal stimulus as well as also an important package of support to the private sector through the banks. These include additional liquidity and additional financial schemes that had cushioned the impact of the shock on the economy.” Azour said, “In addition to the recovery in the non-oil sector, the oil sector with the development of new oil and gas fields will also contribute to the improvement in economic outcome for 2021 and also for the medium term.” Addressing the media event, Azour said the economies of "early inoculating" countries in the Middle East and North Africa will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels next year, after raising IMF’s 2021 MENA growth forecast. The region, which includes the Arab countries and Iran, saw its real GDP growth shrink by 3.4% in 2020 due to lower oil prices and sweeping lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But with rapid vaccination campaigns underway particularly in the GCC countries, the International Monetary Fund earlier this week predicted that GDP growth would rise to 4% this year, an upgrade of 0.9% from the last projection. "This recovery is moving on a diverging path with the vaccine rollout and the policy response playing an important role in the quality and the depth of the recovery," Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF, told AFP. "This multi-speed recovery is on different levels, one between those who are fast in inoculating the vaccine and who will rapidly reach a level of full coverage of their population or 75% or so, and those who will be slow in vaccinating, and those who will be late," he added. In its latest Regional Economic Outlook Update report released Sunday, the IMF said it expects early inoculators' GDP to reach 2019 levels in 2022. By contrast, slow and late inoculators will happen recover sometime between 2022 and 2023, it said. Many countries in the region, especially the wealthy GCC region, have launched vast vaccination campaigns and are administrating some of the fastest per capita deliveries in the world. By contrast, access to adequate vaccine supplies remains a challenge for many others due to worldwide shortages, internal conflicts or political troubles, and weak finances. After a 4.8% contraction in 2020, oil-rich GCC countries are now expected to grow by 2.7% this year, an upgrade of 0.2% from October.

Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax.
Qatar
Qatar Airways to vaccinate 37,000-strong workforce by month-end: Al-Baker

* National airline is working with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) to administer 1,000 vaccines for its employees per day; 20% of QR employees are already vaccinated, says Group Chief Executive   Qatar Airways is working with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) to administer 1,000 vaccines for its employees per day, said Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker. “20% of our employees are already vaccinated and before the end of this month, our entire population of nearly 37,000 employees would have been vaccinated,” al-Baker said at a recent webinar hosted as part of the ‘Qatar – US Business Culture Series’. Al-Baker noted, “The impact of Covid-19 on global air transport is without precedent. I encourage all states to consider harmonised mitigation measures to reduce public health risks to air passengers and aviation workers while strengthening confidence among the public, similar to what Qatar Airways has committed to. “This includes the harmonisation of passenger testing protocols, which will be a key to restoration of public confidence and sustained and effective recovery of the air transport sector. The air transport sector is an important and vital industry in our lives and for commerce. “These measures will assist airline’s efforts to accelerate demand for air travel, which has been heavily impacted by Covid-19, while we all work together for the common objective to ensure safety and support economic recovery and growth.” Citing a recent IATA report, al-Baker said the industry (air transport) losses will continue in 2021, even though performance is expected to improve over the period of the forecast. He said, “Based on IATA’s latest forecast, global revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) will not return to pre-Covid-19 levels until 2024, a year later than previously projected, which I agree will happen. Passenger numbers are expected to rise 62% in 2021 of the depressed 2020 basis, but still will be down almost 30% compared to 2019. I still think these figures are over optimistic.” Al-Baker said, “We need to get borders safely reopened without quarantine so that people will fly again and with airlines expected to bleed cash at least until the fourth quarter of 2021 there is no time to lose.” He said Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA’s recent success as the first and only airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provide assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. Qatar Airways’ aircraft features the most advanced air filtration systems, equipped with industrial-size HEPA filters that remove 99.97% of viral and bacterial contaminants. Qatar Airways is also the first global carrier to operate Honeywell’s Ultraviolet (UV) Cabin System, further advancing its hygiene measures onboard. In clinical tests, UV light has been shown to be capable of inactivating various viruses and bacteria when properly applied. Al-Baker said Qatar Airways has increased its health and safety measures onboard by introducing new personal protective equipment (PPE) for customers and cabin crew. The airline’s additional robust measures include offering face shields and protective kits to all passengers, in addition to a new protective gown for cabin crew. Ends    

Located in the Qatar Airways Technical Maintenance complex, the new 9,000 sq. ft. Engine Facility was officially opened by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, in the presence of the President of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, HE Abdulla Nasser Turki al-Subaey and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker
Qatar
Qatar Airways formally opens new state-of-the-art Engine Facility

* The new 9,000sft facility will streamline costs of technical maintenance operations by more than $2.2mn a year  Qatar Airways formally opened a new state-of-the-art ‘Engine Facility’ as part of the vision to streamline the cost of its Technical Maintenance operations by more than $2.2mn a year, further supporting the airline’s growth despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Located in the Qatar Airways Technical Maintenance complex, the new 9,000sft Engine Facility was officially opened by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, in the presence of the President of the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority, HE Abdulla Nasser Turki al-Subaey and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar al-Baker. HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti speaking to the media at Qatar Airways' new state-of-the-art ‘Engine Facility’ yesterday. Picture: Jayan Orma It is estimated the new facility will enable the airline to improve workflow by over 1,800 man hours per month, or 23,400 man hours per year, by centralising its engine production and engine parts storage processes, increasing the number of its engine production lines from four to eight covering a variety of aircraft engine types. In addition to this, the ultramodern facility is able to house a total of 80 engines of varying sizes in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, with two specialist ‘Dust Control’ rooms to limit the presence of dust and harmful particles, as well as a dedicated Supply Chain area to minimise waiting times for the ordering and transportation of spare parts. HE Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti and other dignitaries touring the facility Al-Sulaiti said, “This achievement will boost the ongoing growth of the aviation industry in Qatar and contribute to localising that major industry. This event also keeps pace with the remarkable development in transportation sector in the country in light of the upsurge in development under the country’s wise leadership. “Lately, the nation’s milestones in the field of aviation industry have increased despite the exceptional circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hamad International Airport has continued winning awards as the best airport in the world in terms of efficiency, service and amenities for travellers and Qatar Airways has ranked first and won several global awards. “The State of Qatar, will continue the course of giving and work, as well as carrying out several projects in the future to keep pace with all developments in aviation industry, which is one of the most advanced industries in the world, toward a promising future and an advanced country that takes its position among world countries, until reaching the horizons of Qatar National Vision 2030.” Al-Baker said, “The continuous improvement and expansion of our Technical Maintenance facilities is a key element in supporting the airline’s ongoing efforts to rebuild our global network to more than 140 destinations by the summer peak season.” “With the new Engine Facility, we have not only created one of the most technologically-advanced engine assembly and disassembly facilities available within the commercial aviation industry to date, but also doubled our engine production capabilities. “The facility’s extensive dedicated Supply Chain area also means that we have instant access to a ready supply of engine parts and equipment, reducing our reliance on external suppliers and further supporting the reliability and technical capability of Qatar Airways’ fleet of next-generation aircraft.” Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star Covid-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA’s recent success as the first and only airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provide assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Qatar Airways US network to reach 12 destinations: Al-Baker

* Qatar Airways to resume Atlanta flights in June Qatar Airways’s US network will reach 12 destinations with resumption of flights to Atlanta in June, Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker has said. “Our commitment to the US market has also seen us add and expand strategic partnerships with American carriers, offering our passengers hundreds of additional flight connections with Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, and Cape Air,” he told a webinar hosted as part of the “Qatar – US Business Culture Series” Tuesday. Al-Baker said: “American Airlines is now Qatar Airways’ largest partner worldwide, which speaks volumes about the importance of US operation and partnership for us.” “I am glad to report that our current US network has already surpassed the number of destinations we used to operate (before the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic), keeping in mind that we were the only international carrier that kept on launching new destinations during the pandemic when others shut their network,” he stated. “Our passengers travelling to and from the US can enjoy seamless connections via the best airport in the Middle East – Hamad International with the widest network of destinations in Africa, Asia pacific and the Middle East.” Al-Baker noted: “Qatar Airways has always been positively engaged with US authorities. And we will continue to support job creation and greater consumer choice for all Americans.” “As part of our engagements and with a view to ensure equal opportunity to compete amongst all players in the market, the open skies air transport agreement between the US and Qatar was ratified by the US in July of last year,” he said. “With this milestone we now have an aviation agreement in effect.” By the peak of the IATA Summer Season, the national carrier plans to operate more than 1,200 weekly flights to more than 140 destinations. Qatar Airways continues to expand its network of destinations, offering more flights to international destinations than any other airline. By the middle of summer 2021, Qatar Airways plans to rebuild its network to more than 140 destinations: 23 in Africa, 14 in the Americas, 43 in Asia-Pacific, 43 in Europe, and 19 in Middle East. Many cities will be served with a strong schedule with daily or more frequencies.

Al-Baker said expansion at Hamad International Airport was in full force and would ensure a capacity to handle 58mn passengers by 2022
Qatar
HIA expansion ‘very advanced already’, says al-Baker

  *Qatar to have huge capacity increase to meet the needs of '2022 World Cup passengers' Hamad International Airport (HIA) “is very advanced already in the expansion to cater to the huge rush we will have during 2022” (FIFA World Cup 2022), Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said Tuesday. Addressing a webinar hosted as part of the ‘Qatar – US Business Culture Series’, al-Baker said, “The expansion is also on the western side of the runway, which will hugely increase additional aircraft parking spaces. And in order to cater to a huge influx of chartered flights in an already very busy scheduled airline airport, we have started work to renovate and reactivate the old airport, which is just 5km to the west of Hamad International. “So, totally we will have a huge capacity increase to efficiently and smoothly connect all the passengers who will be coming to watch the FIFA games in 2022.” In an interview with Qatar TV in February, al-Baker said expansion at HIA was in full force and would ensure a capacity to handle 58mn passengers by 2022. “Soon after 2022, after the FIFA World Cup, there will be another final phase of the expansion, to increase the capacity to just under 70mn passengers,” al-Baker told Qatar TV. HIA, the airline’s home and hub, was recently ranked “Third Best Airport in the World”, among 550 airports worldwide, by the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020. Rising from fourth position in 2019 to third in 2020, HIA has been steadily rising in the ‘World's Best Airports’ rankings since the start of its operations in 2014. In addition, HIA was voted the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the sixth year in a row and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row. HIA is the first and only airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star Covid-19 Airport Safety Rating.

HE Akbar al-Baker
Business
Qatar Airways expects delivery of ‘first three’ 777X passenger jets in 2023: Al-Baker

Qatar Airways expects to take delivery of its “first three” 777X passenger jets in 2023, Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said Tuesday. “Boeing has already notified us that there will be a delay on the delivery of those aircraft until 2023. We will take the 777x whenever it is ready… as soon as it is ready,” al-Baker said at a webinar hosted as part of the ‘Qatar – US Business Culture Series’. As far as the freighter 777X is concerned, al-Baker said, “We don’t know about it, they have not launched it officially. And when they notify us that they are going to launch freighter version of the 777x, we will definitely be interested to look into it.” Qatar Airways would need to start replacing older 777 jets with more state-of-the-art fuel efficient aircraft by the time Boeing or Airbus launch any new aircraft programmes, he said. On the performance of General Electric GE9X engines, he said, “Well, we are constantly pushing for improvement by engine manufacturers – the current engines we operate and the future engines that we will be getting is very important…because without engines airplanes are not going to fly. “Being an airline, which keeps a close watch on emissions, we are always looking for improvements. And I would also recommend that GE get into a future technology engine sooner than later because we have all (through IATA) committed to a carbon-neutral growth by 2050. “When we look at how long things take to develop, 2050 is not very far away. It is very easy for people to blame airlines for emissions but we depend on aircraft and engine manufacturers and fuel producers to deliver the technology to us so that we then can invest in those new technologies and fly our airplanes more efficiently and with the least effect on our environment.” Asked whether Qatar Airways expects to be the launch customer for 777x, al-Baker said, “Let us see. I don’t know, the aircraft is still on the drawing board… I need to see the figures…I need to see the performance and most importantly, I need to see the price. I hope Boeing is hearing me.” A Reuters’ dispatch cited Boeing and said the jet (777X) would start deliveries in 2023, three years later than initially planned with a longer and costlier certification process. European planemaker Airbus is also gauging airline interest in a freighter version of its A350 passenger jet, which if launched would target a market key to Boeing, Reuters reported in March.

For 2021, world oil demand growth is expected at 5.9mn barrels per day, to stand at 96.3mn bpd, the Vienna-based organisation said in its latest report
Business
Global oil demand may be higher in H2 on 'stronger' economic recovery: Opec

* For 2021, world oil demand growth is expected at 5.9mn barrels per day, to stand at 96.3mn bpd, the Vienna-based organisation said in its latest report Global oil demand is expected to be higher in the second half (H2) of this year, reflecting expectations for a stronger economic recovery with the positive impact of vaccination rollouts, Opec has said in a report. For 2021, world oil demand growth is expected at 5.9mn barrels per day, to stand at 96.3mn bpd. In regional terms, OECD oil demand is expected to increase by 2.6mn barrels per day (mbpd) this year to stand at 44.6mn bpd, while non-OECD demand is seen rising by 3.3mn bpd to average 51.6mn bpd, Opec said in its latest report. Demand for Opec crude in 2021 is forecast to stand at 27.3mn bpd, around 4.9mn bpd higher than in 2020. Spot crude prices surged by more than 13% in February to their highest monthly average since January 2020. Oil prices were supported by ongoing improvements in oil market fundamentals and a futures market that remained bullish in anticipation of a recovery in demand amid restrained global oil supplies, Opec said. Oil prices extended gains after severe winter weather triggered a supply disruption in the US. The Opec Reference Basket (ORB) gained $6.67, or 12.3%, to average $61.05/b for the month. Similarly, crude oil futures prices increased sharply in February on both sides of the Atlantic, with the ICE Brent front month up $6.96, or 12.6%, to average $62.28/b while NYMEX WTI rose $6.96, or 13.4%, to average $59.06/b. Consequently, the Brent-WTI spread was unchanged in February, averaging $3.22/b. The forward curve of the three main futures prices – Brent, WTI and Dubai – steepened further in February as the market rebalancing process continued. World oil demand in 2020 showed a contraction of 9.6mn bpd, to stand at 90.4n bpd. Meanwhile, hedge funds and other money managers were bullish on the outlook for oil prices, further increasing combined futures and options net long positions linked to ICE Brent and NYMEX WTI to their highest point in more than a year. Non-Opec liquids supply for 2021 is forecast to grow by almost 1mn bpd to average 63.8mn bpd. The US liquids supply forecast remains unchanged, with growth of 0.16mn bpd in 2021, although uncertainties persist. The main contributors to supply growth are expected to be Canada, the US, Norway, Brazil and Russia. Opec NGLs are forecast to grow by 0.08mn bpd in 2021 to average 5.2mn bpd, following a decline by 0.13mn bpd last year. In February, Opec crude oil production decreased by 0.65 mb/d, m-o-m, to average 24.85mn bpd, the Vienna-based organisation said citing secondary sources.    

Kamil al-Awadhi, IATA regional vice president (Africa and the Middle East).
Business
Middle East airlines post losses of $7.1bn in 2020: IATA

Region's airlines received $4.8bn in government aid in 2020; despite this, several Mideast airlines remain at risk of bankruptcy or business administration, says International Air Transport Association Middle East airlines posted losses of $7.1bn in 2020; a loss of $68.47 for each passenger flown, IATA said and noted that with traffic at less than 20% of 2019 levels, the cash burn continues even with severe cost-cutting. Airlines in the region received $4.8bn in government aid in 2020, the International Air Transport Association said. Most of this support ($4.1bn) was distributed through direct cash injections. Despite this, several airlines in the Middle East remain at risk of bankruptcy or business administration, it said. IATA called upon governments in the Middle East to develop re-start plans to safely re-link their citizens, businesses and economies to global markets when the Covid-19 epidemiological situation permits. IATA also called for regional coordination to ensure that the plans can be efficiently implemented and urged governments to remain vigilant about the industry’s financial situation. “Re-establishing air connectivity will energise the economic recovery from Covid-19. With millions of jobs at risk from the prolonged shutdown, not a day should be lost once the epidemiological situation enables a re-opening. Restarting safely after a year or more in lockdown will need careful preparations. At the national level it is important that governments work with industry, so everyone understands the benchmarks that need to be achieved to facilitate the lifting of travel restrictions. And at the regional level, where traffic is expected to ramp-up first, it is critical that governments are talking to each other so that all parties are aligned and ready for a restart,” said Kamil al-Awadhi, IATA regional vice president (Africa and the Middle East). IATA data shows January air passenger traffic in the region was down 82.3% compared to January 2019. The ongoing crisis puts over 1.7mn jobs in the Middle East and $105bn in GDP at risk. “This is a unique situation. But we have good practices to rely on. Safety is the top priority for anything associated with aviation. That is because governments have long established global best practices for working together with industry and with each other. This same approach will help the re-start. There are two ends to every route. Both must be prepared or the restart cannot happen,” said al-Awadhi. He said, “A financially viable air transport sector will be needed to energize the recovery. Government relief for airlines has avoided massive failures that would jeopardise a restart. This has not been uniform across the region. With no clear timeline to recovery the situation is far from resolved. “Governments that have provided relief will need to be prepared for more. And governments that have not yet stepped-up must recognise the growing risk to their economies as the crisis drags on.”    

The introduction of superconducting materials, Airbus says, can lower electrical resistance, meaning that electrical current can supply power without energy loss
Business
Airbus to boost 'cold' technology testing as part of decarbonisation roadmap

Airbus has launched ‘Advanced Superconducting and Cryogenic Experimental powertraiN Demonstrator’ (ASCEND) to explore the impact of superconducting materials and cryogenic temperatures on the performance of an aircraft’s electrical propulsion systems. The introduction of superconducting materials, the European planemaker says, can lower electrical resistance, meaning that electrical current can supply power without energy loss. When coupled with liquid hydrogen at cryogenic temperatures (-253 degrees Celsius) electrical systems can be cooled in order to significantly increase the performance of the overall electric propulsion system. Airbus said it will use ASCEND to explore the feasibility of these promising technologies in order to optimise propulsion architecture ready for low-emission and zero-emission flight. Results are expected to show the potential for component weight and electrical losses to be at least halved, as the volume and complexity of systems installation is reduced, as well as a reduction in voltage to below 500V, compared to current systems. ASCEND will assess electric architectures from several hundred kilowatts to multi-megawatt applications with and without liquid hydrogen on board. Airbus will design and build the demonstrator over the next three years at its E-Aircraft System House. Solutions that could be adapted to turboprop, turbofan and hybrid propeller engines will be tested and evaluated by the end of 2023. It will support Airbus’ decision making-process for the type of propulsion system architecture required for future aircraft. ASCEND is also expected to support performance improvements on existing and future propulsion systems across the entire Airbus portfolio, including helicopters, eVTOLs, as well as regional and single-aisle aircraft. The demonstrator is hosted within Airbus UpNext, an Airbus subsidiary created to give future technologies a development fast-track by building demonstrators at speed and scale, evaluating, maturing and validating new products and services that encompass radical technological breakthroughs.  

Refrigerated containers carrying AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford Covid-19 vaccines exit from a cargo aircraft at Galeao Air Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway around the world. More than 574mn doses have been administered across 141 countries and the latest rate was roughly 14.8mn doses a day.
Business
Global vaccines roll out hinges on smooth air cargo flow

Aviation Page - Beyond the Tarmac Pandemic-induced lockdowns have become quite common in many parts of the world since the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020. Obviously, the pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of human life, causing global economies to stall, changing the way we work and interact with one another, and stretching our healthcare systems to the limit. Governments around the world have been forced to implement harsh restrictions on human activity to curb the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, we still have to keep hearing news about new lockdowns and strict requirements for travelling due to the emergence of new variants of the Covid-19 virus, which has prompted many governments to reverse efforts to ease travel restrictions. Covid-19 vaccination is now offering a way to transition out of this phase of the pandemic. Without them, many scientists believe that natural herd immunity would not have been sufficient to restore society to its normal status quo and that it would have resulted in extreme fatality. This is something that has been echoed by many health experts including those at WHO. The biggest vaccination campaign in history is underway around the world. More than 574mn doses have been administered across 141 countries, according to data collected by Bloomberg. The latest rate was roughly 14.8mn doses a day. While the best vaccines are thought to be 95% effective, it takes a co-ordinated campaign to stop a pandemic. Anthony Fauci, the top American infectious-disease official has said that vaccinating 70% to 85% of the US population would enable a return to normalcy. On a global scale, that’s a daunting level of vaccination, Bloomberg says. At the current pace of 14.8mn a day, it would take years to achieve a significant level of global immunity! The good news, however, is that the rate is steadily increasing, and new vaccines by more manufacturers are coming to market. But reaching the vaccines to all corners of the globe, particularly developing and financially challenged countries, within a specific time is undoubtedly a herculean task. The potential size of the delivery is enormous, points out IATA, the global body of airlines. Just providing a single dose to 7.8bn people would fill 8,000 747 (jumbo) cargo aircraft! Land transport will help, especially in developed economies with local manufacturing capacity. But vaccines cannot be delivered globally without the significant use of air cargo. Air cargo, therefore, plays a key role in the distribution of vaccines in normal times through well-established global time – and temperature-sensitive distribution systems. This capability will be crucial to the quick and efficient transport and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and it will not happen without careful planning, led by governments and supported by industry stakeholders. In this context, it is worth noting that Qatar Airways Cargo recently surpassed a milestone with 10mn Covid-19 vaccines transported, including vaccines for the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef) as part of a five-year memorandum of understanding to support Unicef’s Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative. Industry experts say vaccines need to be handled and transported in line with international regulatory requirements, at controlled temperatures and without delay to ensure the quality of the product. While there are still many unknowns (number of doses, temperature sensitivities, manufacturing locations, etc), it is clear that the scale of activity will continue to be vast, that more cold chain facilities will be required and that delivery to every corner of the planet will be needed, experts say. Facilities required for this distribution include availability of temperature-controlled facilities and equipment – maximising the use or re-purposing of existing infrastructure and minimising temporary builds, availability of staff trained to handle time – and temperature-sensitive vaccines and robust monitoring capabilities to ensure the integrity of the vaccines is maintained. Since the crisis began, air cargo has been a vital partner in delivering much-needed medicines, medical equipment (including spare parts/repair components), and in keeping global supply chains functioning for the most time-sensitive materials. This has been done through dedicated cargo freighter operations, utilisation of cargo capacity in passenger aircraft and with relief flights to affected areas. Air cargo is also instrumental in transporting food and other products purchased online in support of quarantine and social distancing policies implemented by states. The dramatic travel restrictions and collapse of passenger demand have severely limited cargo capacity. That’s why IATA has repeated calls urging governments to take immediate measures to ensure that air cargo will be available to support the global fight against Covid-19. “Air cargo carriers are working closely with governments and health organisations around the world to safeguard public health while also keeping the global economy moving. Today, as we fight a global health war against Covid-19, governments must take urgent action to facilitate air cargo. Keeping cargo flowing will save lives,” noted Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.   *Pratap John is Business Editor at Gulf Times. Twitter handle: @PratapJohn  

Qatar's ability to u201cfully serviceu201d its significant debt obligations remains strong, supported by u201campleu201d foreign reserves and the u201cassetsu201d of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA, the sovereign wealth fund), according to The Economist Intelligence Unit
Business
Qatar’s fiscal deficit may fall below 1%, narrow to 0.4% of country’s GDP in 2021: EIU

Qatar’s fiscal deficit is expected to fall below 1% and narrow to 0.4% of the country’s GDP this year from an estimated 2.3% of GDP in 2020, The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) said in its latest update. An expected shift from a deficit on Qatar’s current account to a surplus is seen in 2021, EIU said. Qatari riyal's peg to the US dollar will continue to be backed by healthy foreign reserves and QIA assets. The end of the GCC crisis has “considerably lessened” economic risk stemming from regional disputes, EIU said and noted the sovereign risk rating has been “upgraded” to ‘BBB’, EIU said. According to EIU, Qatar's ability to “fully service” its significant debt obligations remains strong, supported by “ample” foreign reserves and the “assets” of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA, the sovereign wealth fund). EIU has given a rating of ‘BB’ on the banking sector risk and noted it is supported by a “robust” regulatory framework and solid capital and liquidity indicators. The ratio of non-performing loans to total loans has historically been low, but is likely to rise in the short term. In the short term, the economic policy will continue focusing on addressing the fallout from the pandemic and subdued global oil prices. Qatar's stock of public debt weighs on the outlook, but a “sound” financial system is supportive. Earlier, EIU noted the country’s real economic growth will remain stable throughout most of the long-term forecast period. However, economic diversification investment projects will “sustain robust growth” until 2030, after which growth will start to edge down. “There remains potential for bursts of high growth if further gas export projects, beyond those planned for the mid-2020s are approved by the government. Diversification and the expansion of the services sector, funded by the State's hydrocarbons wealth, will also provide opportunities for growth,” EIU said.

Dukhan Bank chairman and managing director Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani.
Business
Dukhan Bank ratings reflect Qatari economy's strength and robustness: Chairman

Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani in a report to the bank’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday said Moody's had confirmed the Dukhan Bank’s long-term credit rating at A2 / Prime-1, with a stable outlook, alongside Fitch’s affirmation at ‘A’   Dukhan Bank’s ratings reflect the strength and robustness of the Qatari economy as well as the bank’s independent credit, which exhibits strong financial assets position and an ability to play a leading role in the Islamic banking sector in Qatar, said its chairman and managing director Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani. Sheikh Mohamed in a report to the bank’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday said Moody's had confirmed Dukhan Bank’s long-term credit rating at A2 / Prime-1, with a stable outlook, alongside Fitch’s affirmation at ‘A’. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Dukhan Bank was chosen among the 10 safest banks in the Middle East and the 10 safest Islamic banks in the GCC. The annual rankings of the safest banks in the world, taken from The American Global Finance magazine, have been a reliable measure of financial security for more than 25 years. The best banks are selected based on evaluation of long-term ratings from international credit rating agencies: Moody's, Standard&Poor's, and Fitch; as well as the quality of the banks' financial performance. Sheikh Mohamed highlighted the vital role Dukhan Bank played in responding proactively to the economic impact of the pandemic. This included the launch of the (Covid-19) National Guarantee Programme under the directive of the Qatar Central Bank to alleviate the financial pressure on private companies and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). He also referred to other measures taken by the bank in a pragmatic and systematic manner within the framework of its crisis management plan in terms of protecting its staff as well as its customers. These measures included transferring most of the daily banking transactions from the branches to electronic platforms whilst ensuring smooth banking services, strengthening customers’ confidence in online banking services. This has been developed through focused awareness campaigns via social media urging everyone to fully commit to the preventive instructions issued by authorities concerned. In the context of its aspirations to emerge as 'Qatar's Bank of Choice' and to confirm this position, the new identity announced by the bank in October 2020 came in light of a significant positive digital transformation witnessed by the bank, to provide operational efficiency, profitability and a safe and seamless banking experience for its customers. This step is also reflected in an evolution in the bank’s methodology in terms of creating products and services that are aimed at enabling customers to carefully plan their financial present in line with urgent individual needs, he said.    

Gulf Times
Business
Qatar’s commercial banks see uptick in both loans and deposits in February, says QNB Financial Services

Qatar’s commercial banks have seen an uptick in both loans and deposits in February, QNB Financial Services (QNBFS) said in a report. Loans went up by 0.8% to reach QR1,156.2bn, while deposits moved up by 1.3% last month to reach QR912.4bn. Loans to deposits ratio went down during the month to 126.7% in February, QNBFS’ Qatar Monthly Key Banking Indicators show. Deposits with commercial banks in Qatar increased by 1.3% during February to reach QR912.4bn, driven by non-resident deposits, QNB Financial Services (QNBFS) said. Deposits growth in February was mainly due to an increase in non-resident deposits by 4.5% Deposits grew by 0.8% YTD for 2021, compared to a growth of 6.6% in 2020. Deposits grew by an average 7% over the past five years (2016-2020), QNBFS said. On the private sector front, the consumer segment posted a gain of 1.3% month-on-month (MoM) and (up 3.2% YTD) while the companies and institutions’ segment declined by 0.9% MoM (-0.5% YTD 2021). Public sector deposits declined by 0.3% MoM (-2.1% YTD 2021) for the month of February 2021, QNBFS said. Looking at segment details, the government institutions’ segment (represents ~58% of public sector deposits) went up by 0.2% MoM (-3.5% YTD 2021). Moreover, the semi-government institutions’ segment posted a growth of 1.7% MoM (-12.0% YTD 2021). The government segment decreased by 1.8% MoM (up 5.2% YTD). The overall loan book went up by 0.8% in February during February to reach QR1,156.2bn, QNBFS said. Loans increase in February was mainly due to a rise of 2% from the public sector. Loans grew by 2.4 % YTD for 2021, compared to a growth of 8.6 % in 2020. Loans grew by an average 8.5 % over the past five years (2016 - 2020), QNBFS said. Total domestic public sector loans increased by 2% MoM (up 6.9% YTD). The government segment’s loan book went up by 5.1% MoM (+15.9% YTD 2021). However, the government institutions’ segment (represents nearly 53% of public sector loans) declined by 0.1% MoM (+1.3% YTD), while the semi-government institutions’ segment moved down by 0.6% MoM (-0.6% YTD). Private sector loans gained by 0.3% MoM and are up 0.6% YTD, QNBFS said. Real estate followed by consumption and others positively contributed toward the loan growth. On the other hand, the services sector pulled credit growth down in February. Real Estate (contributes ~23% to private sector loans) increased by 1.2% MoM. Consumption and others (also contributes ~23% to private sector loans) increased by 1.0% MoM (+0.9% YTD). General trade (contributes nearly 21% to private sector loans) increased by 0.1% MoM. However, the services segment (contributes nearly 26% to private sector loans) declined by 0.8% MoM (-2.3% YTD). Finally, the industry segment went up by 0.3%. On Net Interbank Position, QNBFS noted it was at a negative QR227bn in February. Due from banks totalled QR146.8 bn while due to banks totalled QR374.3bn in February. Due to banks abroad reached a high of QR319.8 bn in January, QNBFS said.

Gulf Times
Business
Renewables a key component of Qatar Petroleum's climate roadmap

* In line with QP's policy of creating low carbon energy, some 800MW electricity is to be generated from Siraj, near Al Kharsaa, from photovoltaic solar technology Qatar Petroleum aims to play a vital role in shaping the future of global energy delivery by developing substantial solar capacity around the region, QP said in its latest Sustainability Report. In line with its policy of creating low carbon energy, some 800MW electricity is to be generated from Siraj, near Al Kharsaa, from photovoltaic solar technology. Additional PV solar capacity of two 400 MW plants at QP industrial cities is currently in the planning stage and earmarked to come online before 2025, QP noted. Renewables are the fastest-growing energy source in the world and can potentially fulfil between 36% and 67% of global electricity demand by 2040. Solar energy is expected to generate 19% of total global power by 2040 under the sustainable development scenario (SDS). “We quickly adopted renewables, making them a key component of our climate roadmap, leading to a more diverse energy mix by actively promoting the development and introduction of new forms of alternative energy,” QP said. Through its interest in the Siraj venture, QP has committed to an ambitious solar plant project, which is currently under construction and will employ photovoltaic (PV) solar technology to generate 800MW of electricity near Al Kharsaa, Qatar. The total capacity will be implemented over two phases – with Phase 1 delivering 400MW in 2021 and Phase 2 scheduled for completion a year later. Additional PV solar capacity of two 400MW plants at QP industrial cities is currently in the planning stage and earmarked to come online before 2025. Electricity produced from these plants will be used to supply planned LNG and petrochemical expansion projects, QP noted. According to the Sustainability Report, In 2019, QP completed feasibility study for the QP Industrial Cities Solar Project, which recommended the suitable PV solar technology. It also secured the land required within RLIC and MIC concession areas and will start screening around grid connectivity. “Our ambition is to increase our renewable capacity by two to four GW by 2030 (including Siraj and QP Industrial Cities projects). NFE LNG expansion and RLPP upcoming petrochemicals complex will be powered by solar energy from the QP industries Solar Project, thereby reducing our indirect emissions in RLIC,” QP noted.

Qataru2019s net liquefied natural gas exports are estimated to increase and rising demand from Pakistan and Bangladesh should support this increase in LNG supply, Coface noted.
Business
Higher energy prices, China-led Asian recovery to help Qatar's economic rebound: Coface

Qatar’s expected economic rebound this year will be driven by the relatively higher energy prices on account of economic recovery in Asia, particularly in China, global trade credit insurance firm Coface said in a recent update. The local economy contracted last year mostly due to the sharp reduction in the non-oil sector and the decline in energy prices, but Coface expects Qatari economy to record a rebound through 2021. This recovery will be driven by the relative increase in energy prices led by the economic recovery in Asia (80% of exports in H1, 2020), particularly in China, which attracted 13% of total exports. Qatar’s net liquefied natural gas exports are estimated to increase and rising demand from Pakistan and Bangladesh should support this increase in LNG supply, Coface noted. Qatar recently signed liquefied natural gas supply deals with Bangladesh and Pakistan. Last month, Qatar Petroleum entered into a new long-term sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with Pakistan State Oil Company (PSO) for the supply of up to 3mtpy of LNG to Pakistan. Again in February, QP entered into an SPA with Vitol for the supply of 1.25mtpy of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Vitol’s final customers in Bangladesh. Growth will be also be backed by government spending in infrastructure projects ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.However, almost 90% of the big-ticket projects are now close to completion. Coface cited International Monetary Fund (IMF) and said Qatar benefits from “one of the lowest fiscal breakeven oil prices” across the GCC region. The impact of lower energy prices and exports has been partially compensated by spending cuts from the government last year. Nearly half of fiscal revenues come from the hydrocarbon sector, so the relative recovery of energy prices in 2021, in the absence of a second wave of Covid-19, should support the budget. The current account balance would have recorded a small deficit in 2020, before returning into positive territory in 2021. “The recovery in energy prices, coupled with a pick-up in demand, will support exports. The expansion of gas production from the North and Barzan fields will also increase exports. “Qatar’s assets in its sovereign wealth fund and its international reserves will ensure the peg with the dollar and provide a large space for the government to support economic activity,” Coface said. Qatar Central Bank has fixed the value of the Qatari Riyal (QR) against the US dollar (USD) at a rate of QR3.64 per USD.