UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

 The UAE National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has announced that it won the rights to the expansion project of Lake Manzala in Egypt. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 21 September 2020

UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

  • Egyptian campaign aims to return the lake to its previous state and revive local fishing industry

CAIRO: The UAE National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has announced that it won the rights to the expansion project of Lake Manzala in Egypt, valued at 600 million UAE dirhams ($163 million).

The company’s announcement of the new project came following a disclosure published on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website. It ensures compliance with the principle of disclosure and transparency in force in the UAE.

Lake Manzala is one of Egypt’s largest natural lakes. It is known for its potential fishing opportunities, as it has the basis for high fish stocks due to natural nutrients and a moderate climate throughout the year. It produces about half of the natural fish production in lakes.

The lake has witnessed neglect in recent years, losing much of its importance and wealth. In May 2017 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched a national project to develop Egyptian lakes, with a key focus on Lake Manzala.

NMDC said in a statement that winning the project came through its partnership with the Egyptian-Emirati Challenge Company. It said that it will take about two years to implement the project.

NMDC is one of the leading companies in the field of dredging, land reclamation and civil and marine construction in the Middle East. The Lake Manzala development project aims to improve the quality of water to restore free fishing and return the lake to its previous state, which will boost the local market and export output.

President El-Sisi said that Lake Manzala will contribute to enhancing Egypt’s fishing industry, and export operations will be activated after its full development. He directed the border governorates, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the Armed Forces, to remove all encroachments and criminal outposts on the lake.

Several days ago, Dakahlia governorate completed a difficult operation to remove encroachments on the lake. A large campaign that used Armed Forces Engineering Authority equipment removed 301 houses in the Abdo El-Salhy area in El-Matareya city, known as the “fishermen’s land,” which was built on areas that were filled in from the lake. The operation occurred after local fishermen were persuaded to obtain compensation for vacating their houses.

Magdy Zaher, executive director of Manzala Lake, said that the engineering authority used 320 excavators and 20 imported suction dredgers to work in the lake.

The authority dredged the upper islands isolated from the water with the help of an Emirati bulldozing company to increase the efficiency and purification of Lake Manzala.

Zaher said the lake project will require several steps.

The most important is the removal of encroachments on the water surface and doubling its area to 250,000 feddans, he said. Dredging and deepening the lake, opening the gates and extending the radial channels to allow Mediterranean waters to enter the lake will follow, he added.

A safety belt will come in the form of a road 80 km long and 30 meters wide, which will surround the lake and prevent future encroachments. It will also divert the course of the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant, which pours 12 million cubic meters of sanitary, industrial and agricultural drainage into the lake, Zaher said.

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Oil giant Shell rebounds into profit in third quarter

Updated 24 min 54 sec ago

Oil giant Shell rebounds into profit in third quarter

  • Income boosted by modest recovery in global crude demand and more stable market

LONDON: Anglo-Dutch oil titan Royal Dutch Shell on Thursday logged third quarter net profit of $489 million (€415 million), rebounding after a vast coronavirus-driven loss in the prior three months.

Profit after tax for July-September was boosted by steadier oil prices and contrasted with a vast net loss of $18.1 billion in the second quarter, when Shell was slammed by Covid-19.

Earlier this year, oil prices dropped off a cliff — and even briefly turned negative — as airlines grounded planes worldwide, businesses closed their doors and the world economy tanked into a downturn.

Crude futures also crashed on the back of a vicious price war between key producers.

But in the third quarter, Shell was boosted by a modest recovery in global crude demand and the more stable oil market, having taken a colossal $16.8-billion charge in April-June.

Crude oil currently stands at just under $40 per barrel, still below the roughly $60 a barrel seen in the third quarter of last year, when the group posted a net profit of $5.9 billion.

Despite higher prices, the oil market remains depressed by the coronavirus health emergency which has slammed economic growth and savaged the world’s appetite for oil.

That has in turn sparked thousands of job losses across the energy sector and beyond.

Shell has already announced that it is seeking to axe up to 9,000 jobs or more than 10 percent of its global workforce in response to fallout from the deadly pandemic.

The company’s fierce rival BP, which posted a third quarter net loss of $450 million on Tuesday, is in the process of axing about 10,000 jobs or 15 percent of its staff.

“Our decisive actions taken earlier in the year have solidified our operational and cash delivery,” said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, who oversees 80,000 staff across more than 70 countries.

“The strength of our performance gives us the confidence to lay out our strategic direction (and) resume dividend growth,” he added.

Shell added Thursday that it would increase its shareholder payout by about 4 percent to 16.65 US cents for the third quarter, and annually thereafter.

The group had stated in September that it was aiming to generate annual savings of between $2 billion and $2.5 billion via a massive restructuring drive. Although oil prices have rebounded to a steadier footing, the market has dived this week as traders fretted over the imposition of lockdowns in Europe to combat a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

World oil prices sank Thursday by another 5.0 percent on fears that new coronavirus lockdowns in Europe would further dent demand for crude.

Shell, meanwhile, warned over the outlook for the fourth quarter amid mounting concern over the pandemic’s resurgence.

“As a result of Covid-19, there continues to be significant uncertainty in the macroeconomic conditions with an expected negative impact on demand for oil, gas and related products,” it said.

“Furthermore, global developments and uncertainty in oil supply have caused volatility in 2020 in commodity markets.”