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Thursday, 20 October 2022

TODAY: BP is trying to get cleaner + COP27 gets EV buses + Europe hits renewables record

Good morning, wonderful people — and welcome to another busy news day as we prepare to slide into the weekend across most of MENA.

THE BIG CLIMATE STORY- UAE’s Mubadala is jumping on the GCC renewables acquisition spree: The Emirati sovereign wealth fund acquired undisclosed stakes in German offshore wind developer Skyborn Renewables and US offshore project Bluepoint Wind yesterday. Neither party put a price tag on the value of the transactions.

ALSO- Qatar inaugurated the world’s largest electric bus depot ahead of the FIFA World Cup, which runs 20 November through 18 December.

SIGN OF THE TIMES- BP is acquiring US-based renewable natural gas (RNG) producer Archaea Energy for some USD 4.1 bn in equity and debt, the two firms announced (here and here). BP will pay USD 26.00 per Archaea share — a 38% premium to Archaea’s average share price over the past month. The move comes as BP looks to accelerate the growth of its biofuels business as it tries to diversify away from fossil fuels. The two want to close the transaction by the end of this year.

SOUND SMART- RNG is upgraded biogas — gas produced from as organic matter decays. It can be captured from garbage dumps, wastewater treatment plants, food production, food waste, and animal popp, among other sources. Go deeper here or here to learn more. Burning it still produces CO2, but in most cases RNG plants can be built in a way that makes the facilities and the RNG they produce net negative.

*** Take our EV survey: Are you an ex-petrolhead shopping around for your first electric vehicle? EV-curious and wondering what all the fuss is about? Or are you not ready to say goodbye to that sweet smell of benzene as you wait at the gas station?

*** We want to hear from you: We’re taking the pulse on how the region feels about MENA’s EV transition. Take a few minutes to fill out our short survey. We’ll be back with the results in a couple of weeks.

COUNTDOWN TO COP (17 days to go)-

Some 150 electric buses are coming to COP, courtesy of GM and Mansour: General Motors (GM) and Al Mansour Automotive signed an MoU with Egypt’s Foreign Ministry to provide 150 EVs to transport COP27 participants around Sharm El Sheikh. The two are COP27’s exclusive mobility partners, they said in a statement (pdf).


US President Joe Biden has doled out USD 2.8 bn in grants to spur electric vehicle manufacturing and domestic mineral production, according to a White House statement yesterday. Twenty manufacturing and processing companies will receive the grants to domestically extract and process lithium, graphite and nickel — in short, minerals needed to produce EV batteries. The projects of the selected companies will “develop enough lithium to supply over 2 mn electric vehicles annually”, the statement reads. (Reuters | CNBC)

Shocker: Global climate goals aren’t cutting it. The nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of the Paris Agreement signatories need to be six times as ambitious than they were as of September, according to a report (pdf) by the World Resources Institute published Wednesday. The signatories’ current pledges would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by only 7% from 2019 by 2030. That figure needs to hit 43% to align with the Paris Agreement, which aims to curb global temperature increases at 1.5°C. (Bloomberg | Reuters)

One bright spot: The EU is making strides on its renewables goals. The EU generated a record 12% of its energy needs from solar and 13% from wind energy between May and August this year, saving the bloc an estimated EUR 99 bn, the European Commission said in its 2022 State of the Energy Union report (pdf). The bloc also increased the share of renewables in its electricity mix to 43% in 2Q 2022, compared to 36% from fossil fuels.

2022 will likely be a record year for the continent’s PV market, according to the report. Hydroelectricity is doing less well, with its contribution to the electricity mix falling from 14% to 11% over the summer of this year compared to previous years “due to drought-related low water levels in rivers and reservoirs.”

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THE DANGER ZONE- Remember BP’s underreported flaring in Iraq? The country’s environment minister says it’s driving up cancer in the country. Iraqi Environment Minister Jassem Al Falahi admitted that gas flaring is linked to the country’s surging cancer rates in BBC’s Hardtalk program on Monday. A leaked Iraqi government report seen by the BBC “blames air pollution for a 20% rise in cancer in Basra between 2015 and 2018,” the newswire noted last month.

What’s flare gas? It’s excess gas — primarily consisting of methane — that is emitted and burnt during oil production. It’s common in Iraq, a country without the resources to process excess gas in flare gas-to-energy projects.

Want more on MENA’s flare gas problem? Check out our recent explainer.


The International Exhibition of Renewable Energies Clean Energies and Sustainable Development will run from 24-26 October in Oran, Algeria. The event will focus on the role of startups in the green transition and the bankability of renewable energy projects.

Spanish renewables firms to visit Morocco: The Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) is accompanying a delegation of 10 Spanish renewable energy companies to Rabat on Tuesday, 25 October, ICEX said last week. On the Moroccan side, renewable energy companies Masen, Institut de Recherche en Energie Solaire et Energies Nouvelles (Iresen), Fenelec, and Gaia Energy will be among those welcoming ICEX and Spanish stakeholders. The event aims to establish links between the countries’ private and public renewable energy players.

ADIPEC will run from 31 October to 1 November in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Some 40 ministers from around the world, including eight from MENA, will attend the event. Those include energy and oil ministers from the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt. Discussions will partly focus on the transition toward carbon neutrality, a statement picked up by Zawya details. You can register as an exhibitor here, and as an attendee here.

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

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