Welcome break from your summer vacations, we hope you all had a lovely break and we wish you Eid Mubarak.
It’s always difficult getting back into work mode after a long summer break, however with the pace of change rapidly spearing into all facets of Saudi Arabia life – this year we can say has been the exception. The news of cinemas opening, ladies now driving has sent shockwaves and welcome interest from all corners of the globe into Saudi Arabia. This is manifesting itself in many forms, namely from speaking to colleagues and friends in international companies that far-flung colleagues are asking about the “new” Saudi Arabia and what’s happening.
The interest is now slowly turning into demand led projects, new commercial and residential buildings and increased infrastructure. The scale of some of the mega projects currently and close to being developed are staggering and often, must be seen to be believed.
The BBA in E/P have been working hard since our AGM to reinvigorate our SIG’s (special interest groups) and networking events. We recently held a SIG on the Ras Al Khair mega project in the E/P of Saudi Arabia. This is a new maritime city incorporating large scale industrial manufacturing, a deep-water port and ship and rig building dry docking.
There are some exciting events coming up to include a myriad of topics such as Education, Ladies involvement in KSA industry and a raft of social events including a dining night and a Halloween bash and our (in)famous Christmas night to end the year.
The wider social changes in Saudi Arabia have manifested themselves into a plethora of shows, events, musicals, children’s shows (including Disney characters), laser light shows, WWE wrestling and circuses across all major cities and regions. The world of entertainment is coming to Saudi Arabia and the population are very grateful for it.
The main barometer here in the E/P of Saudi Arabia of course is the price of oil. We have continued to see the rise over the last 6 months and its now hovers just over US$70 per barrel. Demand remains strong despite significant production increase by non-OPEC members, with regional uncertainty of course a major figure in the higher price allied to a greater demand placed by orders from Asia.
During the end of Q2 2018, we heard the announcement by His Excellency Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman that Saudi Arabia and the UK have agreed a GBP 65 Billion trade and investment deal. A $2 billion line of credit between the British government (UK Export Finance) and Saudi Aramco is a clear sign of intent to support the business relationship between both countries. This is excellent news for all UK companies operating in KSA and those of us working for companies with existing trade with the UK. The relationship between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues to grow closer each passing year which is great news for us all.
Warm wishes from the Eastern Province to all BBBF Forum readers.
David Burck, Chairman BBA E/P KSA