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News & Activities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East Region
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SABIC

  • SABIC is selling its Polymershapes unit to U.S.-based investment firm Blackfriars Corporation. Reuters. 9-7-16
  • SABIC will support King Saud University engineering students participating in Shell’s Eco Marathon Competition, an annual event designed to attract engineering talent to build energy-efficient cars. Saudi Gazette. 6-9-16

CONSTRUCTION

  • Riyadh is facing a shortage of middle-income housing as the city’s population growth continues to outstrip property market supply. AMEinfo. 8-9-16
  • Saudi Arabia’s new tax on undeveloped urban land plots exceeding 5,000 square meters is expected to spur development, especially in the affordable housing segment. Forbes Middle East. 15-9-16
  • KSA accounts for 18% of world’s desalinated water, according to the annual report issued by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation. Saudi Gazette. 12-9-16
  • Netherlands has offered to share various water conservation techniques with Saudi Arabia to help reduce KSA’s water use for date farming by 30%. Asharq Al-Awsat. 6-9-16
  • More than 70 ready-mix concrete plants in Saudi Arabia are expected to close in 2017 due to the current recession in the country’s construction sector. Saudi Daily Record. 7-9-16
  • The Saudi Arabian government ended talks at rescuing Saudi Oger, leaving the construction company to face a multibillion-dollar debt restructuring to prevent collapse. Al Arabiya. 8-9-16

ENERGY

  • Saudi Arabia surpassed the United States as the world’s biggest oil producer with 12.58m barrels per day in August compared to 12.2m barrels per day for the US. Al Bawaba. 15-9-16
  • With a continued rise in global energy demands due to economic growth, the growth of electricity consumption in 2020 will cost Saudi Arabia 3.2 million barrels of oil per day. MENAFN. 13-9-16
  • The Middle East tripled its renewable energy investment last year despite fewer energy dollars being spent globally, according to an International Energy Agency report. The National. 14-9-16
  • Saudi Arabia is quietly amassing a portfolio of American energy assets, including control of two major Texas refineries through its Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures LLC fund. Forbes. 15-9-16
  • Saudi Aramco awarded a major contract for engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning to Saudi KAD for strategic pipeline projects. Trade Arabia. 19-9-16

TRANSPORTATION

  • Saudi Oger is in talks to sell half its stake in the company that operates Saudi Arabia’s Medina airport to Turkish partner TAV Airports. Zawya. 8-9-16
  • Boeing and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have renewed their agreement for collaborative research on next-generation aerospace technologies. Saudi Daily Record. 9-9-16
  • Saudi-owned Egypt-based Nesma Airlines expects to launch low-cost domestic flights in Saudi Arabia starting in November. Al Bawaba. 16-9-16.
  • Saudi Arabia’s auto aftermarket trade was valued at almost U.S. $2.6bn in 2015, with imports of $2.53bn in auto parts and accessories and $51mn in exports. Gulf News. 16-9-16
  • AIR India plans to introduce a direct flight from Lucknow to Riyadh and Dammam in Saudi Arabia starting in October. Saudi Daily Record. 17-9-16
  • The King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, KSA, is expected to face an overcapacity of 22.5 million passengers by the end of 2016. Saudi Daily Record. 18-9-16
  • Mark Lukas Pey has been named as the new country manager for Lufthansa German Airlines in Saudi Arabia to grow the airline’s business in the Kingdom. Saudi Daily Record. 18-9-16

CONSUMER

  • The Saudi Food and Drug Authority banned the import of some fruits and vegetables (e.g., spinach, okra, and peas) from Egypt after tests showed they were contaminated. Arab News. 17-9-16
  • Effective October 2, Saudi Arabia will cut subsidies for seven government services—including the 50 percent subsidy applied to passport fees, car driving license and title transfer fees, and traffic fines— and will remove price caps on 193 items. Arabian Business. 18-9-16

TRADE & FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT

  • The Bulgarian government approved a memorandum of cooperation with Saudi Arabia to promote tourism in both countries. Saudi Daily Record. 14-9-16
  • Japan’s government stated that it has no plans to invest in Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering but may jointly invest with Saudi Arabia’s government in industrial ventures. Reuters. 16-9-16

FOREIGN POLICY

  • The United States has offered Saudi Arabia $115 billion in arm sales, the highest amount in the 71year alliance between the two countries. Al Bawaba. 8-9-16
  • Saudi Arabia has called for the United Nations Security Council to end the smuggling of Iranian weapons to militias in Yemen. Al Arabiya. 15-9-16
  • Saudi Minister of Environment and Water met with the Romanian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to boost cooperation between the two countries. Arab News. 16-9-16
  • Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif is attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York to help solve regional and international problems. Arab News. 19-9-16

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