Thursday, 15 September 2022

Oman has huge green hydrogen ambitions. Plus: The yogis are coming for Lululemon…



Good morning, wonderful people, and happy THURSDAY to you all. We hope the workweek has been good to you — and that if you’re reading us in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, that you’re looking forward to a wonderful weekend.

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Don’t miss our inaugural Enterprise Climate Founder of the Week column. Sean Dennis, the CEO and co-founder of Dubai-based food e-commerce platform Seafood Souq. Longtime readers of EnterprisePM will know that we love startups doing interesting things and sitting down (or Zooming) with their founders. We’ll be doing the same here, except our founders are building businesses in climate — the world’s largest and most exciting industry.

** Are you building a great business in the climate industry as founder — or a CEO leading one? Reach out on and let’s get to know each other so we can consider you for the founder of the week column.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY IN MENA- Our region (and the world at large) have green hydrogen on the brain. One country that has slowly and quietly been positioning itself to be a long-term leader in the sector is Oman. The sultanate signed two agreements yesterday to help bolster its capabilities, building on pacts it inked last year that could see it build one of the world’s largest green hydrogen facilities. We break it all down in this morning’s Green Hydrogen story, below.

ALSO: ADNOC Refining is set to complete a USD 600 mn waste heat recovery project at the Ruwais power plant by the end of the year, WAM reported yesterday. The project is designed to recover waste heat from the plant and then use it to generate some 230 MW of electricity per day “with no additional CO2 emissions,” WAM notes.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY OUTSIDE THE REGION- Biden goes big on EVs. We have the story in this morning’s news well, below, capping what’s been a big week of news for electric vehicles.

ALSO HUGE: Shale bosses won’t bail out Europe this winter. “The US shale industry has warned it cannot rescue Europe with increased oil and gas supplies this winter amid fears that a plunge in Russian exports will send crude prices soaring back above USD 100 a barrel,” the Financial Times reports.

ALSO IN EUROPE: Folks in the renewables industry are getting squeezed. The European Union’s executive branch yesterday outlined a proposal to impose a price cap of USD 180 per megawatt hour (MWh) on electricity generated from wind and solar farms and nuclear plants — less than half of current prices, Reuters reports. Fossil fuel producers would also have to share windfall profits.

The aim? To save businesses and consumers some USD 140 bn in energy costs, which have skyrocketed thanks to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Policy uncertainty — it’s not just a MENA thing: Insiders say renewable energy producers shouldn’t be subject to price caps. Because electricity producers including wind farms sell their power under fixed-price contracts, they don’t benefit from current high market prices in the way that fossil fuel producers will — calling the applicability of the plan into question, Reuters notes. “The proposal to cap revenues for renewable and low-carbon electricity producers risks damaging investor confidence,” a leading European electricity industry representative was quoted as saying. (Wall Street Journal | Financial Times | Bloomberg | Guardian)

YOU’RE READING ENTERPRISE CLIMATE, the essential regional publication for senior execs who care about the world’s most important industry. Enterprise Climate covers everything from finance and tech to regulation, products and policy across the Middle East and North Africa. In a nod to the growing geographical ambitions of companies in our corner of the world, we also include an overview of the big trends and data points in nearby countries, including Africa and southern Europe.

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The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia is hosting its Towards COP27: Arab regional forum on climate finance today in Beirut, Lebanon. The forum will explore the climate finance needs of Arab countries to ensure water, energy and food security, while showcasing projects that can accelerate climate action.

SIGN OF THE TIMESLebanon is seeing a “huge rise” in illegal logging as residents try to prepare for winter amid an economic crisis that has seen energy prices surge, Lebanese authorities tell Al Monitor. Demand for wood is soaring, and those who can’t afford to purchase it legally are hacking into forests themselves, causing damage and threatening the food supply of grazing animals, the publication notes.

THE DANGER ZONE- Water scarcity could drive conflict in a number of MENA countries and beyond, according to a report by the Water, Peace and Security partnership. Among those from our corner of the world getting name-checked are Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, all of which the authors say have a “high risk” of violent conflict over the next 12 months. Iraq’s water supply has been drying up for decades, with water flows from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers — which supply at least 98% of its surface water — decreasing by an estimated 30-40% over a 40-year period ending in 2018, as we previously reported.


The European Union’s Delegation to Egypt will host Euro-Egyptian energy day tomorrow, at the Fish Garden in Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt. Speakers will include EU delegation to Egypt chief Christian Berger, as well as a number of Egyptian ministers. Alongside workshops, there will be activities for kids, including how to build a solar-powered car, a windmill and a watermill using Lego bricks.

The World Cement Association’s (WCA)’s global conference will take place from 25-28 September at Emirates Towers in Dubai, UAE. The event will be attended by COP26 UN Climate Champion Nigel Topping, among other attendees, panelists,and keynote speakers. You can register for the event here.

Fitch Solutions hosting a webinar on Saudi Arabia’s energy transformation next Thursday, 29 September at 12:00pm KSA. You can register here.

The Wetex and Dubai solar show will run 27-29 September at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Dubai will host the World Green Economy Summit on 28-29 September. The summit wants to provide a platform to build consensus around the potential of technologies, policies and youth that could drive the green economy transformation.

Check out our full calendar on the web for a comprehensive listing of upcoming news events, national holidays and news triggers.


We see you, Oman, trying to slide to the top

Is Oman trying to get a green hydrogen export terminal? The Oman Hydrogen Center (OHC) — the hydrogen research arm of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) — signed two MoUs to study the readiness of Oman and its infrastructure to expand on the green hydrogen front. OHC commissioned a study that would assess whether Oman’s ports and logistics centers could support an export terminal for green hydrogen and its derivatives, according to a statement from logistics services provider Asyad, who was hired to conduct the study.

…And building up the technical capabilities to run one: The OHC also signed an agreement with energy services firm Petrofac that would see them provide training and expertise in green hydrogen project design to students, according to a press release from Petrofac. OHC had signed a similar agreement with Siemens back in 2021.

A long-term view on becoming a global leader in green hydrogen: Last year, Oman signed contracts to build one of the largest green hydrogen plants in the world with a consortium made up of state-owned oil and gas company OQ, Hong Kong-based renewable hydrogen developer InterContinental Energy and the Kuwait-based energy investor Enertech. Construction on the USD 30 bn project will be powered by 25 GW of wind and solar energy and produce 1.8 mn tons of green hydrogen and up to 10 mn tons of green ammonia each year. Much of the output would be exported to Europe and Asia, Alicia Eastman, the co-founder and president of InterContinental Energy, told the Guardian at the time. Earlier this month, Oman’s and South Korea’s energy ministers discussed cooperation in hydrogen projects.

MENA is looking to be a green hydrogen hub: Over the past year, the region has drawn interest from foreign governments and private sector companies to the industry. None, so far, had been more successful than Egypt, whose Suez Canal Economic Zone saw companies agree to do feasibility studies for facilities worth a combined USD 32 bn in August alone.

THE EU IS INCREASING FUNDING FOR GREEN HYDROGEN- The European Commision announced on Wednesday plans to invest EUR 3 bn to develop the green hydrogen market in Europe. The money will be deployed by a new ‘European Hydrogen Bank,’ EC chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech yesterday that was short on details (watch, runtime: 1:59:06). “Hydrogen can be a game-changer for Europe. We need to move our hydrogen economy from niche to scale.”

The EU has big hydrogen ambitions: It wants to produce 10 mn tons of green hydrogen — and import another 10 mn — by the end of the decade, requiring a massive 80 GW of electrolysis, according to S&P Global.


Meet our founder of the week: Seafood Souq CEO and co-founder Sean Dennis

OUR FOUNDER OF THE WEEK- Every Thursday, Founder of the Week talks to a player in the MENA region’s sustainable startup scene, and asks them about their business and how they got their break. Speaking to us this week is Sean Dennis (LinkedIn), CEO and co-founder of Seafood Souq.

My name is Sean Dennis (LinkedIn) and I’m the CEO and co-founder of Seafood Souq (SFS), a UAE-based digital ecosystem company focused on traceable, sustainable seafood trade.

Prior to founding Seafood Souq, I co-founded New York-based blockchain infrastructure company Loyyal. Loyyal was a startup centered around managing customer rewards, incentives, and loyalty.

Sustainability is a personal passion of mine. My Emirati co-founder, Fahim Al Qasimi (LinkedIn), and I decided to launch SFS to enable fishery players to get their products to the global market in a sustainable way through a digital, global marketplace.

I believe that traceability is the precursor to sustainability, especially in the seafood industry. At Seafood Souq, we facilitate trades all over the world. We have complete oversight of the supply chain and are able to trace produce all the way from source to the buyer. If you were to go into supermarkets in Europe and the US, you would see our SFS Trace QR code and logo on some retail packaging.

SFS Trace enables customers to trace the origin of the seafood products they’re buying in near real time. This makes it very difficult for a bad actor to operate. It provides channels for the good actors and suppliers to show off the extra metrics, regulatory requirements or certifications that they've got.

One in five items traded in the global seafood industry will be either mislabelled or misdated. In developing countries, wastage in the blue economy supply chain can be as much as 40-45%, compared to 20-25% in Western countries.

Another interesting fact? One in three items doesn't make it to your plate. Not only do we overfish our oceans, but we’re wasting an exorbitant amount of marine life.

It's very difficult for governments and private enterprises to track overfishing levels: There is little data on this. By digitizing the seafood industry and trade, we're able to gather information, both on the demand and supply side of the equation. Because we have the intel, we provide a feedback loop: We know where the hotspots for demand are coming, and can open up new markets to source from, as well as new markets for selling depending on the seasonality of different fish, to try and avoid overfishing.

We were very fortunate that our SFS Trace system was selected by the United Nations as a case study for part of their Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

We work on the sourcing side with fisheries and agriculture farms. We launched a project in Oman that would enable them to sell to international markets and get better prices for their products. Locals we worked with were getting USD 0.75/kg for their fish. They were catching grade A fish, but by the time they brought it to land the quality wasn’t as good due to ineffective storage techniques. Now, because we've gone in and helped them out, they're able to get USD 12 or 13/kg, instead of <USD 1.

On the sales side, we're selling to distributors, processors, wholesalers, and large-scale FMCG retailers. We’re selling in lots of different regions — not just MENA but also Europe, the US, and we’ve just now started in the Asia-Pacific region.

Linking developed markets with developing markets can be problematic: A buyer in France might create a letter of credit (L/C) to fishermen who live in a rural village in Africa, for instance. Fishermen don’t care that they’re going to get a L/C that will get them paid in three months’ time. They need the funds now to pay for fuel to take their boats out to sea.

We’re launching a product called SFS Pay, which will effectively include finance vehicles to enable supply chain finance for the trade between buyers and suppliers.

We’re creating SFS Pay as a product to enable those funds to go directly to fishermen. We're working with a number of different groups, on both the commercial bank and investment levels, to facilitate better funding for those who need it. We have piloted SFS Pay and run it effectively. We’re now building it out as a separate product to be offered through our platform within the next one or two fiscal quarters.

We completed our series A funding round earlier this year, and we are currently focused on preparing for our series B round, during which we intend to raise a significant amount to fund our global expansion. 85% of SFS’ trades are global, and only 10-15% of our trading is inbound into the GCC.

We’ve had a mix of investors throughout the various funding rounds, both regional and international. The regional investors that led our series A funding round included: Global Ventures, while our international investors included Universum Global out of the UK and South Africa, among others. We will be focused on partnering with global investors for our series B round to help with our expansion plans.

We’ve been operating with gross profit since day one, and net profitability is currently within arm's reach. We can hit net profitability if we choose to, but our aim now is to grow with a global focus.

Moving forward: Our medium term goals include opening up an office in Holland for European operations. We will also open up an office in the US, and are looking at Singapore as a potential location for another SFS office to cover more of the Asia-Pacific market. Our long term goals are to have complete global coverage, and have a massive impact on the blue economy and the seafood industry.

Whenever I have free time on my hand, I decamp from the office and do anything that is ocean- based. I love free-diving, surfing, and sailing.


It’s been a hell of a week for EVs across the ocean

US President Joe Biden announced yesterday the approval of an initial USD 900 mn funding tranche to build EV charging stations in 35 states, the White House said. Biden’s announcement came at the annual Detroit Auto Show. Under the terms of Biden’s USD 1 tn infrastructure act — signed into law in November last year — some USD 5 bn is being allocated over five years to give grants for states to build thousands of EV charging stations.

“You all are going to be part of a network of 500k charging stations — 500k — across the country,” the US president said. “It used to be that to buy an electric car you had to make all sorts of compromises, not today.”

Detroit will see an on-brand EV push from Biden: Biden’s banking big on EVs in general and is expected to announce that US government EV purchases have increased rapidly over the last two years. He’s targeting 500k new EV charging stations by 2030 and wants 50% of all new vehicles sold by then to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric models. (Reuters | CNN | Washington Post | Fox Business)

EVs have had a big week in the global business press, with the Guardian warning earlier that “soaring costs could threaten the future of electric cars” while the Financial Times says that the switch to electric vehicles could be “held back by costly leasing deals.” The salmon-colored paper also notes that EVs “will have to wait [as much as a decade] for solid-state battery ‘game-changer’” because of both technical difficulties in making solid-state batteries — and because standard lithium batteries are getting better.

NOT GOING ELECTRIC: The Ford Mustang. A new model unveiled yesterday in Detroit sticks with a petrol engine, as the automaker “isn’t ready to abandon loud, powerful engines that have been critical to the Mustang’s appeal,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


When you nearly get run over by one these on the sidewalk, remember, it’s for the planet

Get out of a traffic jam sustainably with Tier’s e-scooter: German-headquartered, shared micro-mobility provider Tier Mobility AG (which goes by the acronym “TM") rolled out its latest fleet of e-bikes in the Middle East this year, the company detailed over twitter. While these have been annoying pedestrians in cities in the US (watch, runtime: 4:48), rented transportation has been getting props as a sustainable form of transportation, with some e-scooter companies receiving valuations in the USD bns (watch, runtime: 10:05).

Let’s look at the specs of the Tier V e-scooter — the model available in our neck of the woods: The Tier V has a service life span of 5 years, while “effectively having an unlimited lifespan due to entirely modular, replaceable, and repairable components,” according to Tier. They are roughly designed based on a regular kick scooter but are built to enable shared rides for multiple users. Tier’s scooters are packed with an electric motor that provides a speed capacity of up to 20 km/hour. They can cover distances up to 5 km without charge.

Safety features: The EV’s safety features include shock absorbers, indicator lights, turn indicators which offer 360° visibility, as well as the “largest front wheel in the market,” the company says. “They also come with triple brakes and a double kickstand which see TIER lead the sector when it comes to stopping-distance and wind topple tests.”

The Tier V model was built with sustainability in mind: The TIER V only emits 42.8 g of carbon dioxide per kilometer, which is over 70% less than emissions caused a cars over the same distance, according to Tier. The model’s batteries are also swappable, prolonging the bike’s lifespan. The German company also launched their Tier Energy Network concurrently with the introduction of the bike in the Middle East. The charging network enables riders to exchange drained batteries for charged ones at charging stations hosted by businesses such as retail stores and restaurants, Tier details.

They’re only rental: Like many of the e-scooter startups that saw their valuations shoot up, Tier does not actually sell the scooters to the broader public. They simply rent out to users.

For how much? Tier charges users a USD 0.80 fee to rent the e-bikes, riders will then have to pay USD 0.27 per minute. The price is the same across Bahrain, the UAE and Qatar.


Jordan became the first regional country to sign a climate disclosure agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), director of environment and social governance at the IFC Mary Peschka said on Tuesday, according to Jordan Times. The agreement will see all Amman Stock Exchange-listed companies be required to issue sustainability reports by 2023.

Elsewhere, the Saudi British Bank (SABB) plans to roll out a new ESG strategy that makes green finance a priority, according to a press release packed up by Trade Arabia on Tuesday.


KUDOS- HSBC Qatar bagged multiple awards at this year’s Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards, according to a company statement (pdf). The bank was named the best sub-custodian, best domestic custodian and best fund administrator for retail funds at this year’s awards.

Saudi Arabia sends more aid to flood-stricken Pakistan: 90 tonnes of shelter supplies, food and medical aid sent by Saudi Arabia reached Karachi yesterday, according to a KSA press agency statement (pdf). The supplies will go to some 9.5k victims of Pakistan’s flood, the statement notes.


The yoga teachers are coming for Lululemon

Namaste — and [redacted] off Lululemon: Over 1.6k (and counting) yoga teachers and students from 30 countries have published an open letter to global athletic apparel brand Lululemon, calling on the company to “practice what [it preaches]” when it comes to mindfulness and wellness. Lululemon markets itself as eco-friendly and sustainability-focused, notes the Guardian. But this is at odds with its reliance on coal, which is used to power almost half of its factories, the letter’s signatories say, calling on Lululemon to commit to immediately phasing out coal and sourcing 100% renewable energy across its supply chain.



12-15 September (Monday-Thursday) International Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Exhibition, Tehran International Permanent Fairground, Tehran, Iran.

15 September (Thursday) UN’s Arab Regional Forum on Climate Finance, United Nations House in Beirut, Lebanon.

18-19 September (Sunday-Monday) International Investors Forum, Dakhla, Morocco

20 September (Tuesday) UN Regional Economic Committee for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland.

25-28 September (Sunday-Wednesday): World Cement Association’s Global Conference, Emirates Towers, Dubai, UAE.

27-29 September (Tuesday-Thursday): WETEX & Dubai Solar Show, UAE.

28-29 September (Wednesday-Thursday): 8th World Green Economy Summit (WGES), UAE.

28-29 September (Wednesday- Thursday): Saudi Maritime Congress, Dhahran Expo, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

28-30 September (Wednesday-Friday): Ethio Weetex- Water, Energy, Electricity, Renewable (Solar, Wind) Energy, Technology Exhibition, Millennium Hall, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


4-5 October (Tuesday- Wednesday): Green Energy Africa, Cape Town International Convention Center 2, South Africa.

11-12 October (Tuesday-Wednesday): Games for Change Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

16-21 October (Sunday-Friday): Arab Conference of Plant Protection, Le Royal Hotel, Hammamet, Tunisia.

21 October (Friday): Symposium on Alternative Low and Zero Carbon Fuels, IMO Headquarters, London, The United Kingdom.

24-26 October (Monday-Wednesday): International Exhibition of Renewable Energies Clean Energies and Sustainable Development, Centre Des Conventions Mohammed Ben Ahmed, Oran, Algeria.

25-27 (Tuesday – Thursday): International Investment Forum for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in MENA, InterContinental, Amman, Jordan.

31 October (Monday-Friday): Deadline for proposals for Jordan’s USD 2 bn Aqaba-Amman desalination project.

Approval of EU draft document pushing countries participating in COP27 to to improve their climate change targets.


Sustainability Forum Middle East is taking place in Bahrain.

Nigeria hopes to secure USD 10 bn support package for green energy transition before COP27.

7-18 November (Monday-Friday): Egypt will host COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh.

23-24 November (Wednesday-Thursday): Global Conference on Sustainable Partnerships, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Deadline of bid submissions for the Ras Mohaisen – Baha – Makkah Independent Water Transmission Pipeline in Saudi Arabia.

COP27 sub-events:

Terra Carta Action Forum (2 days) organized by the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative.

UNFCCC’s capacity building hub.


5-7 December (Monday-Wednesday): Green Hydrogen Summit 2022, Oman Convention & Exhibition Center (OCEC), Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.

13-15 December (Tuesday-Thursday): International Renewable Energy Congress, Hammamet, Tunisia.

15 December (Thursday): The UN’s 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), Montreal, Canada.


14-21 January (Saturday-Saturday): Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week takes place in the UAE.

16-18 January (Monday-Wednesday): EcoWASTE, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), UAE.


6-8 February (Monday-Wednesday): Saudi International Marine Exhibition and Conference, Hilton Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The second edition of The Arab Green Summit (TAGS), Dubai, UAE

MARCH 2023

15-19 March (Wednesday-Sunday): Qatar International Agricultural and Environmental Exhibition, Doha, Qatar.

JUNE 2023

1-3 June (Thursday-Saturday): Envirotec and Energie Expo, UTICA, Tunis, Tunisia.


Chariot Limited and Total Eren’s feasibility study on a 10 GW green hydrogen plant in Mauritania to be completed.


6-17 November (Monday-Friday): The UAE will host COP28.



KSA’s Neom wants to tender three concrete water reservoir projects to up its water storage capacity by 6 mn liters.


Early 2023: Egypt’s KarmSolar to launch KarmCharge, the company’s EV charging venture.

Mid-2023: Sale of Sembcorp Energy India Limited to consortium of Omani investors to close.

Phase C of the 900-MW of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai to be completed.

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) steam cracker furnace powered by renewable energy to come online.


End-2024: Emirati Masdar’s 500 MW wind farm in Uzbekistan to begin commercial operations.

QatarEnergy’s industrial cities solar power project will start electricity production.

First 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.


Second 1.5 GW phase of Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to be operational.

UAE to have over 1k EV charging stations installed.


1Q 2026: QatarEnergy’s USD 1 bn blue ammonia plant to be completed.

End-2026: HSBC Bahrain to eliminate single-use PVC plastic cards.

Iraq’s Mass Group Holding wants to invest EUR 1 bn on its thermal plant Mintia in Romania to have 62% of run on renewable energy, while expanding its energy capacity to at least 1.29k MWh.


MENA’s district cooling market is expected to reach USD 15 bn.


UAE’s Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) wants to provide AED 35 bn in green financing.

UAE targets 14 GW in clean energy capacity.

Tunisia targets 30% of renewables in its energy mix.

Qatar wants to generate USD 17 bn from its circular economy, creating 9k-19k jobs.

Morocco’s Xlinks solar and wind energy project to generate 10.5 GW of energy.


Qatar to capture up to 11 mn tons of CO2 annually.


Qatar’s Public Works Authority’s (Ashghal) USD 1.5 bn sewage treatment facility to reach 600k cm/d capacity.


Nigeria aims to achieve its net-zero emissions target.

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