Saudi space program to establish national training base

The space group’s first project will be a satellite system to be built in the UAE. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 20 February 2020

Saudi space program to establish national training base

  • The program encourages interest in scientific research

RIYADH: The Space Generations Program (Ajyal) launched by the Saudi Space Commission will contribute towards establishing a national base for human capital in the space sector, said Abdul Aziz Al Al-Sheikh, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission.

The program, he said, encourages interest in scientific research and learning various sciences in the areas of innovation: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM).

Al-Sheikh added that the program was striving to cooperate with specialized academic circles to achieve further progress in research related to space science and its applications.

The program also aims to create a prosperous educational environment in the Kingdom by establishing a stimulating and enabling environment for the space sector to be a platform that launches economic and scientific paths.

“We derive our inspiration from the experience of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Commission, and his team, who were passionate, creative and determined to reach space,” said Al-Sheikh.

He added that the scientific team that supported the prince’s journey included a group of scientists as well as the most skilled technicians, designers and creative thinkers who contributed to achieving this dream.

The CEO said that the success of the trip was a result of the efforts of the entire team. “The Saudi Space Commission seeks to form a similar dream team that contributes to achieving our ambitious vision for the future of the space sector in the Kingdom,” he added.

Director general of the Space Generations Program, Ilham Al-Harbi, explained that the program had a comprehensive set of goals and strategic visions that aim to instill inspiration in generations to achieve leadership in space science.

She said that the program also aimed to build and develop future generations of Saudi space scientists and turn their dreams into a reality.
 


Saudi Arabia calls ‘urgent’ meeting of oil producers

Updated 03 April 2020

Saudi Arabia calls ‘urgent’ meeting of oil producers

  • Crude prices jump after move, which Kingdom says is part of efforts ‘to support global economy in these exceptional circumstances’

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has called an urgent meeting of the Organization of Oil Exporting Countries and other oil exporters, to discuss restoring the “desired balance” in global energy markets.

The move — which prompted a big jump in the price of oil on global markets — is part of the Kingdom’s “constant efforts to support the global economy in these exceptional circumstances, and in appreciation of the request of the President of the USA, Donald Trump, and the request of friends in the USA,” according to a statement published by the official Saudi news agency.

Global oil prices reacted immediately. Brent crude, the Middle East benchmark, increased by 20 percent, taking it back above $30 a barrel.

The price of crude has been under pressure as a result of collapsing demand due to the coronavirus crisis, and Saudi Arabia’s determination to win market share from American and Russian producers.

During an OPEC meeting in Vienna last month, the Kingdom offered to implement further cuts in oil production but Russia refused to participate.

“Saudi Arabia would like to underscore its efforts during the past period to restore balance in the oil market, as it drew support for that from 22 counties of the OPEC+, but it was not possible to reach an agreement or get consensus,” according to the official Saudi statement.

Oil industry expert Daniel Yergin said: “This represents a recognition of how much the world has changed for oil in a single month as demand falls away so dramatically, and the impact of Donald Trump becoming personally engaged.”

The Saudi call for talks came after a hectic round of communications between the US, Russia and the Kingdom.

In a message posted on Twitter after the Saudi announcement, Trump wrote: “I just spoke to my friend Mohammed bin Salman, crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin and I expect and hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10m barrels, and maybe substantially more, which will be great for the oil and gas industry.”

However, officials in Riyadh downplayed any suggestion of a commitment to specific reductions in the levels of oil output. There is no indication yet of when the “urgent” meeting of OPEC and others might happen, nor what will be on the agenda, they said.

President Vladimir Putin denied that he had spoken to the crown prince about the price of oil. Novosti, the official Russian news agency, said there was no such conversation, but added that the president had discussed falling oil prices with other OPEC members and with the US.

“The Americans are worried because of their profitability for shale oil production,” said Putin. “This is also a difficult test for the American economy.”

This week, Saudi Arabia produced more oil in a single day than at any time in its history, with 12 million barrels flowing from pumps at Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil company.