Jordan has exported 380 gigawatt (GW) hours of
electricity to Egypt in 2014. Egypt and Jordan
signed an agreement in 1998 to exchange the
supply of electricity when needed. In 2015,
Jordan supplied Egypt with 1 GW hour of
electricity as Jordan has an electricity production
surplus of 25% of the grid’s total capacity which
stands at 3,850 megawatts. On the other hand,
Jordan sometimes imports electricity from Egypt
as it’s cheaper than the cost of producing it.
Egypt has signed agreements with six new oil and
gas exploration contracts worth hundreds of millions dollars with foreign and Egyptian
companies. Egypt significantly suffers from high energy bills that are attributed to the large subsidies
provided on fuel for its population of 87 MM; consequently turning the country from a net energy
exporter to a net importer over the last few years. The agreements provide for the drilling of some 41
discovery wells in the western desert and Gulf of Suez. The major companies selected are Shell, ENI,
BP and Canada's TransGlobe Energy.
Bahrain’s Cabinet has decided to increase gradually and unify the prices of natural gas sold to
companies starting from April 2015. The cost of natural gas that generates energy for industrial
projects will also increase. On the other hand, low oil prices will threat its budget as Bahrain’s state
finances are less than other Gulf oil exporters.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is investing 37 MM AED to upgrade its infrastructure
to enhance energy efficiency, save power and protect the environment. These developments will
include a lighting retrofit project with Jebel Ali Power station and Al Awir Power station of 21 MM
AED. The retrofit projects will be on 7 DEWA buildings and will cost 16 MM AED. Moreover, the
two projects will be implemented by Philips Lighting, MAF Dalkia Middle East and monitored by
Etihad Energy Service Company (ESCO). Through these projects, energy demand is expected to be
reduced by 30% while carbon emissions to be reduced by 5 MM tones by 2030.
Saudi Arabia and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding on developing bilateral relations on
labor affairs between the two countries. The agreement entails the collaboration in labor-related
aspects such as unifying recruitment procedure, creating an electronic link, exchanging expertise,
organizing training programs and resolving labor disputes. This assures mutual benefit of optimum
labor force management for both countries.
The construction costs in Qatar remain the highest in the Middle East, followed by UAE and Saudi
Arabia. Construction costs in Gulf countries were minimally impacted by global currencies
fluctuations and commodity prices, due to the Gulf intact currencies tracking the USD. Moreover,
costs remained stable despite the high levels of investments in transport infrastructure such as 200 BN
USD GCC rail network, and Qatar’s World cup bid and Dubai’s 2020 World Expo.
National Bank of Oman (NBO) has reported a 21% growth in net profit for the year ended December
31, 2014. Net profit increased to 50.3 MM OMR in 2014 from 41.1 MM OMR in 2013. Moreover, the
loan book increased by 12% as net loans, advances and financing activities reached 2.32 BN OMR in
2014 compared to 2.07 BN OMR in 2013, while customer deposits and unrestricted investment
accounts remained unchanged at 2.18 BN OMR.
The number of car sales in Lebanon increased by 4.5% to reach 40,135 in 2014 compared to 2013,
despite the economic slowdown and political turbulence. The buyers are focusing on small fuel
vehicles which represent 90% of the sales and their prices are less than 15,000 USD. On the other
hand, luxury cars which worth more than 100,000 USD represent only 3.5% of sales. The Koreanmade Kia cars topped the list with a 22.1% share of the total, followed by Hyundai 18.86%, Toyota
12.87%, Nissan 12.61% and Renault 3.47%.