“We would love to have the next big thing made in Saudi Arabia. We’re taking it one step at a time. I’m not going to go and compete with Silicon Valley while I don’t have the right ecosystem. We’re building that.”

Yasir Al-RumayyanSaudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) governor, in an interview with Wired about meeting Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, his vision for PIF, and how they need to do a better job communicating PIF strategy. [wired.com]



Report: SABIC, Aramco set to decide on oil to chemicals project in 2Q 2020


Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) and Saudi Aramco expect to announce in the second quarter whether they’ll proceed with plans to build a facility to process crude oil directly into chemicals, Bloomberg reports. [more]



G20 2020

The Economic Impact of Saudi Arabia Hosting the G20 Summit


A recent report from Jadwa Investment looks at the economic impact of Saudi Arabia hosting the G20 Summit, noting that while the Riyadh has hosted major summits before, “the G20 summit differs due to the sheer number of different events related to it” with more than 120 workshops, ministerial meetings and specialized seminars scheduled throughout the year.  [more]




World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Report says Saudi Arabia Top Reformer, Improver Among 190 Economies

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has realized a remarkable leap in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, with a score of 70.6 out of 100 and achieving the honor of being the top improver over the last year, according to reports. [more]




Using ‘Greenshoe Option’, Saudi Aramco Raises IPO to Record $29.4B; Banks Seek ‘Incentive Fee’


Saudi Aramco sold millions of additional shares of its initial public offering using a so-called “greenshoe option” that has raised the size of its IPO by nearly $4 billion. [more]



The G20 and B20 in Saudi Arabia

Via Scott Hanson in ifac.org : This week, the Saudi Arabian Presidency of the 2020 B20 cycle kicked-off with the long-awaited Inception Event, hosted in Riyadh on 15-17 January 2020. To organize the B20’s activities, the Secretariat considered the topics covered under previous B20s along with emerging issues facing the local and global business communities.  This resulted in the creation of six Taskforces, each dedicated to developing policy recommendations around a specific theme

A Saudi university team wins big at massive tech event in the U.S.

Via Mariam Nabbout in stepfeed.com : A team representing Saudi Arabias King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) achieved quite the feat at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Innovation Awards ceremony in Las Vegas last week.

Saudi Arabia has paid $500M to cover cost of US troops in country

Via Barbara Starr in cnn.com : Consistent with the Presidents guidance to increase partner burden-sharing, the Department of Defense has engaged Saudi Arabia on sharing the cost of these deployments, which support regional security and dissuade hostility and aggression. The Saudi government has agreed to help underwrite the cost of these activities and has made the first contribution, said Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, Pentagon spokeswoman.



Netflix screening ‘big boost’ to Saudi filmmakers

“Six Windows in the Desert,” a series of short films created by Saudis, will make its Netflix debut on Thursday, streaming in 190 countries. After buying...[via arabnews.com]


Saudi Officials Hold Talks with US Special Envoy for Syria

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah has met with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Levant Affairs and Special Envoy for Syria Joel...[via aawsat.com]


More Than A Dozen Saudi Oil Firms Book Hefty Losses In 2019

A total of 14 Saudi companies in the energy sector booked hefty losses last year, Middle East Monitor reported on Wednesday, quoting analysts who had...[By Tsvetana Paraskova via oilprice.com]


Trekking to the Most Beautiful Wadi in the Middle East

Wadi Lejab is this magical spot somewhere on the map of the Al-Raith mountains in Saudi Arabia. After driving for 2 days from Riyadh, we...[By Eva zu Beck via youtube.com]


Inaugural Saudi Cup To Be Televised On FS1

Live coverage of the inaugural Saudi Cup airs Saturday, Feb. 29 at noon Eastern on FS1. The field for the Saudi Cup, the world's richest...[via paulickreport.com]


Can I Fly to Riyadh? Emirates Air to Limit Access to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia suspended entry for nationalities holding tourist visas and coming from: Greater China, Iran, Italy, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Philippines, Singapore,...[By Layan Odeh via bloomberg.com]


Sports minister launches Saudi Games, Kingdom’s largest sporting event

The event will feature 40 games with the participation of 35 sports federations in 18 venues within Riyadh....[via arabnews.com]


Aramco Is Said to Start Early Preparations for Overseas Listing

The world’s largest publicly traded company is in discussions with Wall Street banks to draw up scenarios for a second listing overseas, according to the...[By Matthew Martin, Dinesh Nair, and Ishika Mookerjee via bloomberg.com]


Saudi cuts March oil volumes to China by at least 500,000 bpd

Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, is reducing crude supplies to China in March by at least 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to...[By Alex Lawler via reuters.com]


Saudi Aramco Open to Share Sales Abroad to Fuel Economic Plans

Saudi Arabia is planning to sell more stakes in state-owned oil producer Saudi Aramco as it looks to raise money to fuel an economic diversification...[By Matthew Martin via bloomberg.com]


U.S. Energy

U.S. oil and gas boom tamed by sharply lower prices

U.S. oil and gas production growth is slowing, as lower prices force shale firms to reduce new well drilling and completion rates, and the slowdown...[By John Kemp via reuters.com]



In rare Friday sermon, Iran’s Khamenei says U.S. suffered blow to ‘superpower image’

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s top political and religious authority, spoke at the Grand Mosalla mosque complex in central Tehran, where he led Friday prayers for...[By Erin Cunningham via washingtonpost.com]



Pompeo to join Libya peace conference, back truce

A US official said that Pompeo would call for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the war-ravaged nation and a resumption of the UN-backed...[via france24.com]


Qasem Soleimani

Commentary: Soleimani’s death creates power vacuum within Iran

While after Soleimani’s death the supreme leader said the Quds Force’s mission “is the same as it was under” his commandership, three areas to watch...[By Jason Brodsky via thehill.com]



As Oman enters a new era, economic and political challenges persist

Haitham bin Tariq, 65, was the minister of heritage and culture from 2002 until his ascension to the throne. Under Qaboos, he had also served...[By Yasmina Abouzzohour via brookings.edu]



Crisis-hit Lebanon on brink of forming new government

Lebanon has been without a government since Saad al-Hariri resigned as prime minister on Oct. 29 in the face of sweeping protests against the country’s...[By Laila Bassam and Tom Perry via reuters.com]


Taliban Talks

Taliban say they handed cease-fire offer to US peace envoy

The Taliban have given the U.S. envoy a document outlining their offer for a temporary cease-fire in Afghanistan that would last between seven and 10...[By Kathy Gannon via militarytimes.com via AP]



Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles arrive at Saudi Arabian base amid Iran tensions

The 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron’s jets arrived just hours after a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad killed a top Iranian general in early January, escalating...[By Chad Garland via stripes.com]


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