Deputy PM Receives Bahrain's SEA President

Bahrain's Deputy Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammed bin Mubarak Al Khalifa received Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA)'s President Dr. Abdulhussain bin Ali Mirza. The deputy prime minister expressed his appreciation to SEA President’s role in promoting the renewable energy sector in the Kingdom and encouraging investment in it to achieve national goals in improving sustainable and efficient energy sources.

He referred to the implemented initiatives and programs in various economic sectors that contributed in supporting the development process witnessed in Bahrain under the leadership of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and wished Mirza further success in fulfilling his duties. The SEA President expressed his gratitude for HH Shaikh Mohammed’s support and interest.


Russian Firms to Expedite Iran Gas Projects: Official

Mehran Amir-Moeini, Deputy International Affairs Manager for Marketing and Gas Operations at the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said: “Given the progress Russia has made in the gas sector, including large-scale projects, especially in deep-water, drilling technology and project financing, it can facilitate implementation of projects such as the development of gas fields, liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and construction of pipelines in deep water projects in Iran by transferring these experiences to the country.”

Can Iran compete with the price of Russian gas in Europe? Shana asked.

"Russia is blocking the export of Iranian gas to Europe." You may have heard this sentence many times, some believe that there is no need for Iranian gas to go to Russia, and others consider the export of Iran’s gas to Europe to be politically and economically strategic.

Mehran Amir-Moeini said that Iran and Russia are the top two countries in terms of gas reserves and are competitors in gas trade, but these days there is a lot of controversy that Russia does not allow Iran to enter the European market.

“There are two points; that Russia wants to act openly does not seem to be the case. Russia has the tools to export gas to Europe, when you want to enter the European market, price is an important issue, the Russians can maneuver on it. Can Iran compete with Russian price and is there flexibility in price offers from Iran? The second point is whether Russia wants to have a competitor in the European market. The answer to this question is definitely "no". Is the European market important for Russia? Yes, it is 100% important, it is even more important than Iran. In any case, Russia is closer to Europe than we are, and it has created and developed the necessary infrastructure to enter this market, and it has a history of being present in this region, but saying the Russians prevented us from entering this market does not seem a correct and logical statement.”

He emphasized that in order to enter the European market, Iran must pay attention to how important this market is for Tehran. "Is it so important that we forgo all our interests in other export markets in the first place and our only goal is to reach the European gas market?" he asked. “In the case of Russia, too, I believe it would have been possible if we had wanted to enter the European market ourselves.” - Shana


UAE Health Ministry Launches Metaverse Customer Happiness Center

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has launched the world's first Metaverse customer happiness service center at the Arab Health 2022, the first experience of its kind in the world in a health exhibition. The step ushers in a new era of digital reality and human-computer interaction in government health care services, by enhancing the integration of the real, virtual and digital world. The ministry’s stand at the Arab Health, being held at the Dubai World Trade Center from January 24 to 27, is a unique stage to showcase this technology and test the performance of virtual activities that provide real experiences in one of the most innovative and future initiatives launched by the ministry, said a statement. Although the full version of the MoHAP MetaHealth platform is expected to be launched by mid-2022, visitors to Arab Health 2022 will have the opportunity to instantly teleport into the world of MetaHealth and choose to speak with a real employee from the Customer Happiness Center in a must-try experience.

Journey of Metaverse Customers

The Ministry of Health receives visitors at its stand at Arab Health 2022 and invites them to experience MetaHealth to learn how the ministry is well prepared for the future and its commitment to providing services beyond expectations. The new technology also provides an opportunity for customers to join the MetaHealth space and move from their current location to the Ministry’s virtual Customer Happiness Center, without actually crossing the distance between the two areas. Customers then can request information, submit documents, pay fees and more, with the actual faces of users being displayed in the virtual room instead of avatars. The new service also provides a tangible solution for the people of determination who are unable to move physically from their homes to one of the Ministry's customer happiness centers and finish their transactions smoothly.

Accelerating innovation

"The UAE wise leadership is keen to keep pace with and explore future changes and transformations to actively contribute to shaping and making them, as an important priority and a key pillar of future government services," said Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention. "The UAE has been a pioneer in accelerating innovation in all vital sectors, including health, while the ministry of health was one of the leading and active authorities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, which focus on artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual and augmented reality."

Promising health sector

Al Owais added: "Today, we are experiencing the world of ‘Metaverse’, with the launch of the world's first virtual customer happiness center in the three-dimensional digital space, in the first experience of its kind, in preparation for a new and promising future health sector through Arab Health, one of the largest international exhibitions." The UAE health minister asserted that Virtual Reality technology will play a more important role in the future in the UAE, especially in light of the development of advanced digital infrastructure, which is one of the best in the world.

Virtual digital transformation

"The flourishing of digital transformation in the government sector pushes us forward to continue achieving the goals and aspirations of the UAE to lead the artificial intelligence and virtual reality sector, which places the country in a perfect position to attract and use advanced technologies, especially Metaverse," said Dr Muhammad Salim Al Olama, Undersecretary of the Ministry and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Health Services.


Parliament Publishes Criteria in Push to Replace Libyan PM

Libya's eastern-based parliament published a series of criteria for candidates to govern the country on Tuesday, in a bid to replace interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah. Dbeibah is a rival of Parliament Speaker Aguila Saleh, and the move comes a month after United Nations-sponsored presidential elections in Libya were delayed. Saleh's chamber, also known as the House of Representatives, is based in the eastern city of Tobruk while Dbeibah's administration is western-based in Tripoli, reflecting the country's deep divisions. In a session with 120 lawmakers present, the parliament "approved the conditions to be met by candidates to head the next government," spokesperson Abdullah Belhaiq said. The assembly published a list of 13 criteria for hopefuls, including a commitment not to stand in future elections, having only Libyan nationality and receiving the backing of at least 25 deputies. The Dec. 24 election was postponed following months of wrangling over its legal basis and who could stand.

Dbeibah's rivals then claimed that his government's mandate is over – although some deputies have said his administration should stay in place until new elections. The UN has also called for a new date for the presidential ballot, rather than a government reshuffle. Dbeibah, a tycoon, took office early last year as part of a process intended to help bring an end to the complex conflict that has ravaged Libya since the overthrow of Gadhafi. He has repeatedly said he will only hand power to an elected government. Saleh last week urged the committee responsible for overseeing elections to decide by the end of January on a "definitive" date for the delayed presidential and legislative polls. That came a day after he called for a new interim government to be established in Tripoli, saying the current executive had outlived its mandate.

The elections were derailed by bitter arguments over divisive candidates – Dbeibah one of them – and a disputed legal framework. The mandate of the interim government was theoretically meant to end on Dec. 24, but the United Kingdom's Embassy in Tripoli has said in a tweet that London "continues to recognize the #Government_of_National_Unity as the authority tasked with leading #Libya to #elections and does not endorse the establishment of parallel governments or institutions." A separate joint statement by the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and the United States on Dec. 24 insisted that "transfer of power from the current interim executive authority to the new executive authority shall take place following the announcement of the results" of polls when they happen.


UAE’s Etihad Guest & Talabat Expand Partnership

Etihad Guest, the loyalty program of Etihad Airways, and talabat, a top food and q-commerce delivery platform, are expanding their partnership with the Etihad Guest ‘Miles on the Go’ program to include carbon offsetting until December 2023. The original agreement was signed in September 2021 and allowed Etihad Guest members to earn and redeem miles when ordering food, groceries, and other essentials on the talabat platform in the UAE.

Today, Etihad Guest members can also contribute to the Conscious Choices sustainability initiative recently launched by the airline. In partnership with CarbonClick, the project will offset each ride made by a talabat rider through the Miles on the Go program, helping to contribute to the overall effort by the airline to offset its carbon footprint, making it the first in the world to reward its guests for adopting more sustainable practices.

Kim Hardaker, Director Loyalty and Partnerships, Etihad Airways, said: “We are very proud of our Conscious Choices initiative and our venture with talabat through the Miles on the Go program is an example of our constant strive to find new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint. This partnership enhances our commitment and that of our guests towards making a positive impact to a more sustainable future.”

Onur Elgun, Vice President of Strategy at talabat, added: “As a company, we are stepping up our efforts to contribute to a more sustainable future focusing on offsetting and reducing our carbon footprint. Therefore, the timing of this couldn’t be better, and it’s an opportunity to positively contribute to projects that create clean energy, a key driver in reducing global carbon emissions.

“We’re very proud to continue expanding our partnership with Etihad Airways, especially in this area, and supporting them in their carbon offsetting goals. Through this, we will be able to utilize our combined platforms to help make a difference as part of our ongoing commitment for a better tomorrow”.

The offsets will be invested in the Sichuan Household Biogas Program through Etihad’s partner CarbonClick. This project helps Chinese farmers recycle farm waste into clean energy, which can be used for cooking, heating, or lighting instead of coal and firewood.

Members can use the Etihad Guest mobile app to register their eligible Visa cards and earn one mile for every AED3 ($0.81) spent on the talabat platform using the linked card. The app will also prompt members to choose if they wish to earn miles or redeem miles on the transaction.

Customers using the talabat app who would like to start earning miles on Etihad Guest can sign up for free on, while Etihad Guest members who would like to start earning and spending their miles through the talabat platform can download the Etihad Guest App and register their Visa cards on Miles on the Go.

Over the last two years, despite the challenges of Covid-19, Etihad has introduced several significant CO2 reduction initiatives under its Greenliner sustainability program. This includes adopting thousands of mangroves, using sustainable fuels, reducing contrails, flying optimised flight paths, operating more electric vehicles and working with partners who share its vision for cleaner skies.


ADNOC Named UAE’s Most Valuable Brand

ADNOC maintained in 2022 its position as the UAE's most valuable brand for the fourth consecutive year, according to a new report from Brand Finance, the world's leading independent brand valuation consultancy. ADNOC's US$12.76 billion (AED47 billion) brand value witnessed a 19 % increase over the previous year and a 174 % increase since 2017, reported state news agency Wam, citing an ADNOC statement. ADNOC ranked the first valuable brand in the UAE, the second in the Mena region, and the ninth on the top ten most valuable brands in the Oil &Gas (O&G) sector.

Brand Finance also ranked Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNOC, number one among all O&G CEOs globally for the second consecutive year, and number one in the UAE and the Middle East. Over the past 12 months, the most significant drivers of ADNOC's brand value growth included consistency to grow responsibly and achieving many accomplishments within its new energy strategy to strengthen its partnerships in clean and renewable energy and hydrogen.

Also, its commitment to best practices and its track record in the field of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and the success of its programme to enhance the local added value, attract foreign direct investment and improve the country's position as a preferred destination for investment.

This paradigm shift witnessed several development initiatives in the company, including the development of a new approach to smart partnerships, creating investment opportunities to attract foreign capital, launching a successful programme to enhance in-country value, implementing three successful IPO subscriptions to ADNOC Distribution, ADNOC Drilling, and Fertiglobe, among other programmes.

In line with the leadership directives, Dr. Al Jaber, in his capacity as the UAE's Special Envoy for Climate Change, is working to promote the country's proactive approach and its effective contribution to global efforts to reduce climate change, adapt to its repercussions, and consolidate the country's leading position in the field of climate action.

According to Brand Finance, brand value is the net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. Brand value is determined through a balanced scorecard of factors, including marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.


2021 World Nano Patent Registration rankings: Iran Stands 23rd

Iran took the 23rd place of the rankings of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in 2021 with the registration of totally 55 patents and applications for inventions in the nanotechnology. Based on the data released by StatNano, 23,750 inventions in the nanotechnology were registered in USPTO in 2021, with nearly half of patent applications belonging to the United States. China, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan follow the U.S., respectively, reported.

Out of the 55 nano inventions that Iran submitted to the U.S. office, 21 were registered and their patents were granted while applications for the remaining 34 were published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Iran ranked 23rd in both categories in the previous year’s standings. In an exhibition held last week, Iran unveiled more than 50 nanotechnology products that meet the country’s needs in medical, industrial, aviation, and construction sectors. Over 450 knowledge-based and industrial companies in Iran have so far produced more than 800 types of nano products that are used inside the country and also exported to over 40 countries. - Iran Daily


Iran Eyes New Strategy for Running Intl. Projects at IGEDC

The Managing Director of the Iranian Gas Engineering and Development Company (IGEDC) stated: “There are many opportunities to improve and advance in the management of the company's projects with a new strategy for implementation of international projects that should be utilized by taking advantage of internationally valid models and maximum use of the available capabilities.”

There are many opportunities to improve and advance the project management of IGEDC with the new strategy of this company to implement international projects, which should be utilized by the valid global models and maximum use of internal and external capabilities in this important field.

In the meeting of the pathology of the project management system, which was held in the presence of managers and executives of IGEDC, Reza Noshadi said, "A company that intends to act internationally should change its approach to project management.”

He continued: "All stakeholders who are involved in the activities and projects of the company should upgrade the required capabilities in order for the company will finally achieve the desired results in the project management process." - Shana


Rise in Qatar Industrial Production

Qatar's industrial production increased by a robust 1.8% year-on-year in November 2021, mainly lifted by stronger production in the manufacturing sector, according to the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA). The country’s IPI however saw an 8.8% month-on-month shrinkage in November 2021, said the figures released by the PSA. The PSA introduced IPI, a short-term quantitative index that measures the changes in the volume of production of a selected basket of industrial products over a given period with respect to a base period 2013.

The mining and quarrying index, which has a relative weight of 83.6%, saw a 1.6% increase on a yearly basis owing to a 1.6% expansion in the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas, and 9.6% in other mining and quarrying sectors. On a monthly basis, the index showed a 10.2% fall owing to a 10.2% decrease in the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas; even as there was 3% jump in other mining and quarrying sectors.

The manufacturing index, with a relative weight of 15.2%, was seen soaring 2.9% year-on-year in November 2021 on account of a 9% increase in the production of food products, 7.1% in cement and other non-metallic mineral products, 5.1% in chemicals and chemical products, 0.4% in rubber and plastics products and 0.3% in refined petroleum products.

Nevertheless, there was a 9.1% decline in the printing and reproduction of recorded media, 5.6% in the production of basic metals and 2.2% in beverages. On a monthly basis, the manufacturing index was down 1.4% in November this year owing to an 8.6% in the production of beverages, 6% in refined petroleum products, 3.8% in the printing and reproduction of media, 1.2% in the production of rubber and plastics products, 0.8% in chemicals and chemical products, and 0.6% in basic metals.

However, there was a 4.3% increase in the production of cement and other non-metallic mineral products and 1.2% in food products. Electricity, which has 0.7% weight in the IPI basket, saw its index surge 9.3% year-on-year but shrank 24.4% month-on-month in November 2021. In the case of water, which has a 0.5% weight, there was a 17.8% and 7.8% decrease on a yearly and monthly basis respectively in November 2021.


Report: 6 Largest Importers of Potatoes from Iran

Iran is likely to be in the top-5 global exporters of marketable potatoes in 2021. The volume of potato exports from Iran in 2021 increased by 16% and reached a record 855,000 tons. Six nations are among the largest markets for Iranian potatoes: Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

Five more countries of the region, namely, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Moldova take 14th– 19th positions. Moreover, it was the sharp increase in the supply of potatoes to the post-Soviet states that provided Iran with a record volume of potato exports in 2021.

As a rule, other major importers reduced their purchases of potatoes in Iran: Afghanistan reduced imports by 17%, and Iraq more than twice. In addition to Iran, Pakistan is also increasing supplies to Eastern Europe and the countries of Central Asia. By the way, winter potatoes in Pakistan ripened earlier than usual this season. - Fresh Plaza


UAE, S. Korea High-Level Consultations Committee on N-Cooperation Convenes

The fourth meeting of the High-Level Consultations Committee on Nuclear Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of South Korea and the Government of the United Arab Emirates has convened. The meeting was chaired by Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure of the UAE and Choi Jong-moon, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea and attended by the senior leadership teams of the key nuclear energy stakeholders in the UAE and South Korea. In line with the special strategic partnership between the UAE and South Korea, which celebrated its 42th anniversary in 2022 the high-level committee was established in 2018 to expand and deepen bilateral nuclear energy cooperation as part of the agreement signed for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Today’s meetings aimed to review the milestones achieved in nuclear energy cooperation, as well as discuss future opportunities for joint projects.

In his opening remarks, Al Mazrouei said, "High-Level Consultations Committee on Nuclear Cooperation has achieved a lot in the past four years, and built a strong infrastructure for further strategic collaborations opportunities. I am confident that we will work more together towards achieving our leadership directions, as well as our joint vision." Furthermore, the committee approved the establishment of the UAE-ROK Youth Nuclear Capacity Building Council, where it will create a learning platform for young engineers specializing in nuclear field to exchange their experience, promote effective dialogue and participation in the nuclear sector.

The UAE- South Korea High-Level Consultations Committee on Nuclear Cooperation consists of three working groups: Cooperation on the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant and Overseas Projects; Nuclear Science and Technology R&D and finally Nuclear Safety and Security Regulation. Each working group has a joint program of projects to strengthen nuclear cooperation relations, including sharing operating experience, cooperation in overseas nuclear energy projects, research and development, capacity building, cyber security, amongst others.


Oil Dips as US Fed’s Pending Interest Rate Hike Spooks Investors

Oil prices fell on Thursday as the US dollar strengthened following signs that the US Federal Reserve will tighten monetary policy in the world’s biggest oil user. Futures pulled back amid a broader decline in financial markets triggered by the March interest rate increase telegraphed by the Fed and as the dollar climbed against its major peers. Dollar-denominated oil becomes more expensive for buyers using other currencies when the greenback gains. Brent crude futures were down 57 cents, or 0.9 %, to US$89.18 a barrel at 0440 GMT, after earlier falling by as much as 1.1 % to US$89. Brent climbed 2 % on Wednesday. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 83 cents, or 0.9 %, to US$86.52 a barrel, after falling by as much as 1.2 % to US$86.34. WTI gained 2 % in the previous session.

“It could be a strong US dollar at play after the Federal Open Markets Committee signaled rates will rise,” said Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar. The dollar rose on higher US Treasury yields, lifting the US dollar index, which measures the greenback against major peers, to 96.604, near five-week highs. Crude prices surged on Wednesday, with Brent climbing to US$90 a barrel for the first time in seven years, amid the tensions between Ukraine and Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer, that has fanned fears of energy supply disruptions to Europe. Commonwealth Bank’s Dhar echoed those concerns, listing that along with the omicron coronavirus variant not impacting oil demand as badly as initially feared and efforts by OPEC and its allies, known as OPEC+, to boost supply not materializing as supportive for oil prices.

OPEC missed its planned supply increase target in December, highlighting capacity constraints that are limiting supply as global demand recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. OPEC+ is gradually relaxing 2020’s output cuts as demand recovers from the demand collapse that year. But many smaller producers can’t raise supply and others have been wary of pumping too much in case of renewed COVID-19 setbacks. “Continued supply challenges and mounting Russia-Ukraine tensions continue to support crude oil prices. It is down slightly today but I think it is nothing more than a technical move,” said Howie Lee, economist at OCBC in Singapore. An increase in crude oil and gasoline inventories in the United States alleviated some of the concerns about supply. Crude inventories rose by 2.4 million barrels in the week to Jan. 21 to 416.2 million barrels, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 728,000-barrel drop, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Wednesday. Gasoline stockpiles rose by 1.3 million barrels last week to 247.9 million barrels, the EIA said, the most since February 2021.