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India’s ‘energy transition’ minister talks net zero goals, green energy investments

Earlier this month, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced plans at COP26 to reach net-zero carbon emissions in 2070 and boost the share of renewables in India’s energy mix from about 38 percent last year to 50 percent by 2030.

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“When India turns around and says it is not just net zero by 2070, but in 2030, 50 percent will come from renewables or that we move up from 450 GW to 500 GW and you know the implications of that. India means what it says. We are the largest democracy in the world, when the prime minister makes a statement, it sets the template. Now clearly, we have a transition to achieve. Now that transition means you have to manage from where you are today first to 2030 then to 2040 then to 2070,” India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri told Al Arabiya.
“I may be called a minister of petroleum and natural gas but I am actually the minister for energy transition,” Puri said in an interview with Al Arabiya Senior Presenter Naser El Tibi.
For now, coal remains a dominant energy source in India, accounting for 70 percent of its electricity output.
After China, India is the world’s second-largest coal producer at about 730 million tons annually – yet also imports coal to meet the power needs of its domestic industries, according to the government.
Puri said India is already doing a lot.
“When Mr. Modi became a prime minister, one percent of biofuel blending used to take a place, ethanol from sugar. Today, we are already at 8.5 percent, we had a 20 percent blending target by 2030 but we brought that forward to 2025,” the minister said, adding that the country is expecting 60 billion dollars of investment into gas pipelines.
“We started in 2014 when he [Narendra Modi] became prime minister at 14 thousand kilometers. Today, we are 18.5 thousand kilometers, [and in the] next four months we will get another four thousand to [achieve] 22.5 thousand kilometers and we will take that up to 34 thousand kilometers to have the whole country be covered by gas pipelines. I could go on!”
“In renewables, we were one of the founders of the Solar Alliance,” he noted.
India has a “massive program” on green hydrogen, according to Puri.
“We are going to be very big [in green hydrogen], we will be pioneers in that. But we need to bring the price down. [We] need to provide power at a particular price then be able to have electrolizers… we are on that journey,” the minister told Al Arabiya.
“I think Glasgow is what? 10 days old, we are already on drawing board with people to see how we can accelerate some of these things. There is a massive program going on, our traditional oil marketing companies are into electric vehicles. I think we announced that in the next few years we will have 22 thousand petrol stations [which] will have electric charging as well, which in turn gives a fillip to our electric car manufacturers.”
“Equally when you move to 20 percent biofuel mixing, E 20 [20 percent blended petrol ethanol] is going to be available in the pumps from a very short period time. I think in 2022, 2023 we will [offer] 20 percent blended fuel there.”
In reference to Modi’s announcement to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, he noted that while it was an ambitious goal, India has a track record of hitting their green targets.

Strategic reserves

When asked about a deal that India struck with Abu Dhabi’s ADNOC for strategic oil reserves, Puri said that the country has been replenishing its reserves to cater to any kind of emergency such as earthquakes or geopolitical events.
“We have been replenishing out strategic reserves and I think the agreement you are referring to… we are in the process of augmenting our reserves to take it to the global prescribed levels by the international energy agency,” India’s minister said.
“I think we are at 86 days of consumption and the consumption is going up also. We need to go a little farther to make it at 100 days. We are in the process of doing that.”
“I am a student of the energy situation and evolving energy situation I have been oil and natural gas minister- or now I call myself minister of energy transition- for 3 months or so, no country is ever only a consuming country, especially when you are dealing with a big economy,” Puri told Al Arabiya.
“We import crude, our companies refine and export out, we make investments in other countries, in the previous government in the year 2001 we invested in a facility in Sakhalin in Russia’s far east, it has done very well. Investments in Sudan they did well.”

India and the GCC

India and the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) states have been working together, investing in each other’s countries across a variety of sectors.
“Indian entities are making investments in the gulf as you mentioned, our friends in the gulf cooperation council are making investments in India both upstream and downstream. This is what I call a healthy economic energy cooperation matrix,” said Puri.
“I have many people I talk to including His Excellency the UAE [energy] minister and the [energy] minister from Saudi Arabia, they also want to cooperate with us, not only in traditional energy, but also in green energy. This is an evolving situation and I think it is in one sense a reflection of the maturity of the relationship. That the transactions and investments are going in both directions,” he added.
Last week at Dubai’s megaevent Expo 2020, India invited the GCC member countries to invest in the sustainable energy sectors in the country.
India expects to attract foreign investments of up to $120-160 billion annually, according to a statement released at the India-GCC Business Conference at Expo 2020 last week, which added that Gulf countries are best placed to capitalize on such opportunities given their ties with India.

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Almarai signs multiple agreements to localize jobs through training and recruitment programs

Almarai signed a cooperation memorandum with the Food Industries Polytechnic, the
Transport General Authority, and the Saudi Logistics Academy to localize jobs in the
food and beverages sector through training and rehabilitation programs ending in
employment. This came within the first international conference on the labor market,
organized by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on 13 – 14
December 2023 at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center in Riyadh.

‘These agreements are part of Almarai’s corporate program for the social responsibility
to achieve localization in the food industry sector, which is one of the top priorities of the
comprehensive strategic plans in Almarai, especially since the company is one of the
largest working environments in the kingdom, with more than 9,000 Saudi employees,
including more than 900 Saudi female employees.”Fahad Aldrees, Chief Human
Resources Officer of Almarai, said.

He added that the agreements signed to train and qualify young people are part of the
integrated initiatives and training and rehabilitation programs for national human
resources in Almarai. He pointed out that the company provided about half a million
employee training hours during 2022, raising its retention rate to 90% during 2022.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai is the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy
company, and the largest food and beverage producer and distributor in the Middle
East. Almarai was ranked among LinkedIn’s top 15 Saudi companies for professional
career development for 2022.

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SEBA Bank rebrands to AMINA Bank and continues to write its success story

a fully licensed Swiss crypto bank, announced today its new brand identity: AMINA Bank AG. The group operates
globally from its regulated hubs in Zug, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong, offering its clients traditional and crypto banking services.
SEBA Bank made history in 2019 by becoming one of the first FINMA-regulated institutions to provide crypto banking services. This rebrand marks a new chapter for the company, which has proudly been in operation for more than four years. AMINA Bank is inspired by the same trailblazing ambition to lead the way for its clients and to write its own future as a Swiss-
regulated crypto bank offering services to its traditional and crypto savvy clients around the globe. The name ‘AMINA’ stems from the term ‘transAMINAtion’, meaning transference of one compound to another. AMINA is a brand driven by perpetual change, bringing together the various ‘compounds’ of traditional, digital, and crypto banking to unlock new potential and
growth for our clients. This vision of change represents the transformation of our clients’ financial future. Franz Bergmueller, CEO of AMINA, said: “We are delighted to introduce the world to our new brand identity. While we say goodbye to the SEBA name, we remain forever proud of the achievements made by the group under the former brand. “Our brand signifies a new era in the company’s growth and strategy; we are a key player in crypto banking and are here to define the future of finance. With our client-focused approach, our years of traversing traditional and crypto finance, we offer a platform for investors to build
wealth safely and under the highest regulatory standards.” “We are grateful to be encouraged by our supportive and committed investors who have been very helpful, supporting the growth of the company. We thank our employees in all the regions
for their dedication and client focus. As we look forward to 2024, our ambition is to accelerate the growth of our strategic hubs in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi, and to continue our global expansion, building on all the successes we have laid down over the past years.” Current clients of AMINA Bank (formerly SEBA Bank) will be unaffected by the rebrand other than encountering the new name; all operations will be business as usual across the board. The branch office based in Abu Dhabi and the subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Singapore will subsequently apply for a name change to align with the head office in Zug.

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Uptime Appoints Mustapha Louni Chief Business Officer

Uptime Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Mustapha Louni to the position of Chief Business Officer, a role specifically created to drive strategic leadership and client success. In this new role, Mr. Louni will assume responsibility for the global Uptime sales and marketing organizations and drive overall business value for all Uptime clients. He will retain his existing responsibilities overseeing operations in the Middle East, India, Africa, and the Asia Pacific regions. In this elevated capacity, Mr. Louni is poised to play a pivotal role in driving Uptime’s next phase of global expansion through strategic initiatives to enhance market awareness of the dramatically expanding global service lines and delivery capabilities of Uptime that uniquely support the global data center industry in its pursuit of ever higher performance through elevated availability, resiliency, sustainability, and cyber-security of digital infrastructure. Louni’s appointment renews and expands Uptime

Institute 39;s 30-year commitment to advancing excellence in the data center sector on a global scale. “Today we are experiencing the next phase of the one-time, planetary transformation from analog to digital. This unprecedented, once-in-a-generation growth in data center demand is primarily driven by continuing cloud adoption, the new promise of AI, and the demonstrable fact
that hybrid digital infrastructure is here to stay for the foreseeable future,” said Martin McCarthy, CEO, Uptime Institute. “These complex and nuanced market demands require a visionary talent like Mustapha Louni. He is someone who cannot only deftly manage specific aspects of the business but also remain ahead of accelerating changes and trends. He continues to earn client
trust and respect by timely delivery on demanding commitments while he also inspires and energizes colleagues and clients alike. I am delighted to announce Mr. Louni’s new position and know that he will continue to expand the impact that he has already brought to Uptime since his arrival.” In 2014, Mr. Louni joined the Uptime organization in the United Arab Emirates, leveraging his extensive experience from roles at Panduit and Schneider Electric in Paris and Dubai. As the company’s first commercial resource in the Middle East and Africa region, Mr. Louni played a pivotal role in expanding Uptime’s presence. Within a year, he successfully established what became and remains Uptime’s fastest growing regional office. Under his leadership, Uptime has
extended his impressive trajectory of growth in MEA to the Asia-Pacific regions, augmenting the Uptime workforce with dedicated team members spanning more than a dozen countries across these regions. A new Uptime office has been inaugurated in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) this year, further fortifying the company’s ability to meet its commitment to sustained
growth and excellence and serve clients in critical, accelerating markets for digital infrastructure.

Uptime Institute began development of its proprietary and now globally recognized Tier Standards and its Tier Certifications 30 years ago to ensure that the mission critical computing needs of all organizations could be met with confidence and understood by executive management. Since that time, Uptime Tier Certification as well as other Uptime offerings including assessments and awards in digital infrastructure for ensuring business performance in areas of management and operations, risk and resilience, sustainability, and more recently cyber- security have gained global adoption. Uptime’s expanding success is based on delivering a
unique business service that is based upon unparalleled engineering excellence and technical mastery, while remaining vendor independent and technology agnostic.

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