Saudi terminal operator RSGT to invest in Bangladesh’s port sector

International ships anchored at Chottogram port waiting to deliver the containers. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 23 August 2019

Saudi terminal operator RSGT to invest in Bangladesh’s port sector

  • The RSGT recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh’s shipping ministry to support the sector

DHAKA, Bangladesh: The Red Sea Gateway Terminal (RSGT), a leading Saudi terminal operator, is keen to invest in Bangladesh’s port development sector.

The RSGT recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh’s shipping ministry to support the sector.

Gagan Seksaria, director of global investments at the RSGT and Abdus Samad, secretary to Bangladesh’s shipping ministry, signed the MoU on behalf of the concerned parties.

According to the MoU, the RSGT will invest in the bay terminal development at Chattogram Port, which handles nearly 80 percent of the country’s maritime trade activity. Last year, the port handled around 3  million 20-feet equivalent units and about 3,700 vessel calls.

The RSGT also expressed an interest in developing new container services at the inland container depot at Pubail, in the Gazipur district of Dhaka, and the infrastructure and technical expertise for two other ports: Mongla and Payra.

“We signed a nonbinding MoU with the RSGT. It covered the broader perspective of future investment and cooperation areas,” said Rafiq Ahmed Siddiky, a joint secretary at Bangladesh’s shipping ministry. 

“Both parties will now work intensively to pinpoint the investment areas. The project will be on a public-private partnerships basis,” he added. 

The RSGT will now share its detailed proposal with Dhaka. 

According to sources in the shipping ministry, Bangladesh is keen to expand its port capacity as the economy grows. The Cabinet committee on economic affairs approved the development proposal during its meeting last month.

However, it will take a few months for the parties to finalize the working purview.

“The RSGT proposal may involve an investment upwards of $3.5 billion (SR13 billion) as the port development is a huge and complex task. We can expect to finalize the formalities by the end of this year,” Kazi Aminul Islam, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority told Arab News. 

He added that there are other international companies considering investment.

“We have developed our road infrastructure and expanded connectivity across the country in line with rising trade volume. Now we need to increase the capacity of the ports,” Islam said.

Saudi Cabinet approves regulations for tourism body 

Updated 8 sec ago

Saudi Cabinet approves regulations for tourism body 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry is set to benefit as the Cabinet approved 24 commitments for its overseeing body, focusing on global promotion, collaboration, and visitation targets. 

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, recently approved regulations for the Saudi Tourism Authority with the aim of achieving sector targets aligned with Vision 2030 and empowering the authority to play a pivotal role in promoting the Kingdom as a tourist destination locally, regionally, and globally. 

One of the approved regulations enables the tourism authority to establish marketing offices both domestically and internationally. The objective is to boost visitor arrivals and realize the vision of positioning the Kingdom as a top-tier tourist destination, according to Umm Al-Qura, the country’s official gazette. 

Ahmed Al-Khateeb, minister of tourism and chairman of the board of directors of the STA, highlighted that the council of ministers’ approval of the authority’s regulations underscores the government’s ongoing commitment to supporting the tourism sector in achieving its objectives aligned with Vision 2030. 

Among the key commitments is the collaboration with government bodies in the tourism sector to establish marketing offices for traveler destinations and oversee the strategies of these offices. Additionally, the regulations include setting visitation targets and allocating funds in a manner that enhances the involvement of the private sector in this endeavor.

Arab-Turkish economic ties flourish with $55bn intra-trade 

Updated 25 February 2024

Arab-Turkish economic ties flourish with $55bn intra-trade 

RIYADH: Arab-Turkish economic relations are continuing to progress at all levels, with the volume of intra-trade standing at $55 billion, as stated by the secretary-general of the Union of Arab Chambers.  

Khaled Hanafi added that exports from the Turkish nation are increasing annually by about 10 percent, and the presence of direct and indirect Arab investments in Turkiye has grown significantly in recent years. 

The discussion took place during the fifth joint meeting of the Arab and Turkish Chambers, convened in Egypt. The event was attended by numerous heads of chambers of commerce and industry leaders from Arab nations and Turkiye. 


QatarEnergy to further boost LNG production from North Field 

Updated 25 February 2024

QatarEnergy to further boost LNG production from North Field 

DOHA: QatarEnergy chief Saad al-Kaabi announced on Sunday a new expansion of its liquefied natural gas production that will add a further 16 million tonnes per annum to existing expansion plans, bringing total capacity to 142 mtpa. 

With this added boost, the overall expansion of the North Field from 77 mtpa currently to 142 mtpa by 2030 represents an increase of 85 perecnt in production, Kaabi said at a press conference in Doha. 

Qatar is among the world’s top exporters of LNG, competition for which has ramped up since the beginning of the war in Ukraine in February 2022. 

This latest expansion may not be the last for the energy giant as Kaabi said appraisal of Qatari gas reservoirs would continue and production would be further expanded if there is a market need. 

State-owned QatarEnergy has already signed a string of supply deals with European and Asian partners in its massive North Field expansion project, which was expected — prior to Sunday's announcement — to produce 126 million mtpa of LNG per annum by 2027, from the current 77 mtpa. 

Exploration activities in the west of North Field prompted the company’s decision to expand further. 

Kaabi did not give a cost for the project but said it would be in the billions of dollars. 

“It is difficult to give you a number now for the cost of the expansion, but it is certainly in billions,” he said. 

“We will start preliminary engineering studies for the project and then at the right time we will announce how much is the cost when the project is settled.” 

In December, Kaabi told Reuters that QatarEnergy had been drilling wells to assess expansion opportunities beyond the North Field East and North Field South phases. 

This latest expansion will require the construction of two LNG trains, in addition to six already underway for the earlier expansions dubbed North Field East and North Field South. 

The North Field is part of the world’s largest gas field which Qatar shares with Iran, which calls its share South Pars. 


Kaabi said global markets still need more gas even after this further expansion saying that Asian market growth was driven by population growth and European markets would still need gas for a “long time” despite the energy transition. 

The Qatari announcement comes as US gas prices trade near an all-time low if adjusted to inflation after a decade of meteoric rise in output which made the US one of the top oil and gas exporters. 

Prices of gas in Europe also fell steeply despite a drop in Russia supplies after the US and Qatar helped replace lost volumes. 

Despite the price drop all major gas producers including the US, Australia and Russia want to further increase output betting on a further demand growth and worries that their gas might not be needed decades from now if energy transition makes green energy cheaper. 

Egypt’s GDP growth projected at 5.1% by 2026 despite challenges: OECD  

Updated 25 February 2024

Egypt’s GDP growth projected at 5.1% by 2026 despite challenges: OECD  

RIYADH: Egypt’s gross domestic product is expected to gradually increase to 5.1 percent by 2025 and 2026, driven by growing consumption, according to a report.  

In a recent release by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Egypt’s economic growth is projected to face challenges amidst soaring inflation rates, necessitating urgent reform efforts to revitalize the private sector and attract investment. 

According to the OECD’s inaugural Economic Survey of Egypt, the country’s GDP growth is set to ease to 3.2 percent in fiscal year 2023-24 before increasing gradually to 5.1 percent by fiscal year 2025-26. 

“Growth is expected to be driven by growing consumption, provided inflation subsides and despite the gradual withdrawal of fiscal support,” the report stated. 

It added that the investment will stay weak as long as financing conditions remain tight in the continuing fight against inflation. At the same time, export growth is expected to increase if geopolitical tensions in the region recede. 

OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann underscored the urgency of controlling inflation to stimulate consumption and foster growth, saying: “Bringing inflation under control is now a key near-term priority to spur consumption and strengthen growth. Monetary policy needs to remain restrictive until inflation comes back to target.” 

He added: “A comprehensive consolidation strategy is needed to improve investor confidence in public finances and ease financing conditions. Stepping up structural reform efforts, building on previous reforms, to reinvigorate private sector activity and investment by removing administrative barriers, ensuring a level-playing field between private and state-owned companies and stepping up the fight against corruption will help boost productivity and long-term growth.” 

Despite initially weathering the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and global food price hikes better than neighboring countries, Egypt has faced a setback, with domestic inflation soaring to record levels of 40.4 percent in September 2023, compared to 15.3 percent a year earlier.  

The analysis said that this surge in inflation has adversely affected consumption, weakened the domestic currency, and dampened investment, consequently leading to a slowdown in growth. 

Fiscal support measures, including targeted cash-transfer programs, have relieved the most vulnerable segments of society.  

However, businesses have been grappling with rising interest rates and limited access to foreign currency, hampering economic activity. While inflation has started to decline gradually, standing at 31.2 percent in January 2024, challenges persist in restoring stability. 

The report urged the government to address significant financing needs, indicating that despite targeting a 2.5 percent GDP primary budget surplus in the 2023-24 budget, the overall deficit will stand at -7.5 percent due to high-interest payments.  

International market funding has been limited since early 2022 when increased volatility in global financial markets led to strong capital outflows. “Restoring investor confidence in public finances is essential to attract international capital and bring down debt service costs,” the study added. 

Egypt’s vulnerability to climate change was also addressed in the report, with an urge to accelerate efforts toward mitigation and adaptation measures. Gradual reduction of untargeted energy subsidies was recommended to alleviate emissions and the budget deficit. 

The report emphasized the role of private investment and international support in advancing climate-related financing and facilitating the green transition. 

In conclusion, the OECD study underscored the need for concerted efforts to address Egypt’s economic challenges.  

By implementing comprehensive reforms and fostering a conducive environment for private sector growth, Egypt can navigate the current slowdown and pave the way for sustained economic prosperity.

Saudi Arabia unveils major gas discovery in Jafurah Field: Ministry of Energy 

Updated 25 February 2024

Saudi Arabia unveils major gas discovery in Jafurah Field: Ministry of Energy 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has discovered an additional 15 trillion standard cubic feet of gas in the Kingdom’s Jafurah Field. 

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Energy, the discovery also includes 2 billion barrels of condensate. 

With the latest discovery, the quantity of resources in the field has become 229 trillion standard cubic feet of gas and 75 billion barrels of condensate, the ministry added in the press statement, citing the Kingdom’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. 

This discovery made by the energy giant, also known as Saudi Aramco, was a result of applying the highest international standards in estimating and developing hydrocarbon resources to ensure their proper exploitation, the statement added.  

In November 2023, the Ministry of Energy announced that Saudi Aramco had discovered two new gas fields in the Eastern Province and the Empty Quarter respectively. 

In a press statement, the ministry said the first discovery occurred at the Hanifa reservoir in the Al-Hiran-1 well.  

It reported that the field was discovered after gas flowed at a rate of 30 million scf per day from the said reservoir, along with 1,600 barrels of condensate.  

The second discovery was made at the Al-Mahakek-2 well, where the natural resource flowed at 0.85 million scf per day. 

The ministry added that gas was also discovered in five other reservoirs in previously discovered fields, including the Jalla reservoir in the Assekra field, where gas flowed at a rate of 46 million scf per day.  

In November, Saudi Aramco also began the production of unconventional tight gas from its South Ghawar operational area, two months ahead of its schedule. 

Unconventional tight gas, also known as shale gas, is typically found in reserves where hydrocarbons are tightly trapped within rock layers.  

Extracting this resource demands specialized techniques like horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. 

The commissioned facilities at South Ghawar currently have a processing capacity of 300 million scf per day for raw gas and 38,000 barrels per day for condensate. 

Earlier in February, speaking at the International Petroleum Technology Conference in Dhahran, Amin H. Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco, said that the company is eyeing continuity in the production of all types of energy, including oil and gas, along with renewables.  

He also added that Aramco has the full capability to grow in any sector to create profitable companies.