Asia, Middle East & Africa
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF, has
announed that it has sealed a deal to invest more
than US$1 billion in Silicon Valley-based electric
car maker Lucid to help it bring its prototype yet,
the Lucid Air, to market, Reuters reports.
Reports about a possible Saudi investment in
Lucid first emerged in August, when Reuters cited
unnamed sources as saying the Kingdom’s sovereign
wealth fund was planning to invest in Tesla’s
potential rival rather than the luxury carmaker.
The report followed an announcement from
Tesla CEO Elon Musk that he was planning to take
the company private and had secured funding for
the deal with the help of that same fund. Later,
however, after much media noise and the launch
of a probe by SEC, Musk cancelled his taking-private
plans after a meeting with Tesla’s board of
The Lucid deal highlights Saudi Arabia’s growing
interest in electric vehicles as it seeks to diversify
its economy away from oil. The Fremont company
has not yet started mass producing vehicles, but
it released the prototype for a luxury sedan, the
Lucid Air, two years ago, theoretically challenging
Tesla on its own turf.
The Lucid Air comes with a price tag of
US$100,000. Mass production was slated to begin
by the end of this year.
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Gulf Oil International launched its first
Gulf-branded service station in China on 7
September. The company hopes to open
1200 stations across the country over the
Dubai’s Emirates National Oil Company
(ENOC) Group has announced plans to
resume operating petrol stations in Sharjah
after seven years. ENOC closed its Sharjah
stations for a month’s maintenance in June
2011 and subsequently failed to comply
with government instructions to reopen.
Total Cambodge opened four new fuel
stations in Phnom Penh this month to mark
its 25th anniversary in Cambodia. The
company now has 75 service stations and
30 convenience stores in the country.
Australian Shell licensor, Viva Energy, has
completed the purchase of a non-controlling
stake in Westside Petroleum. Westside
Petroleum operate a retail network of more
than 50 service stations across New South
Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Shell Companies in India Chairman Nitin
Prasad announced this month that the
company plans to open 1,200 retail stations
across India in the next ten years, terming it
as one of the “most largest expansions” ever
planned by Shell.
Saudi Aramco has inked a partnership with
Mazda and Japan’s National Institute of
Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
to cooperate on a research program
developing fuel efficient engines.
SAUDI ARABIA TO INVEST $1 BILLION
IN TESLA RIVAL
10,000 new CNG stations in India by 2030
Gastec Corp, Eni to set-up fuel stations in Egypt
Gastec Corporation and Italian oil and gas company
Eni signed an agreement to establish auto
service and gas and natural gas fuel stations in
various areas across the country, particularly in
Upper Egypt, to serve owners of natural gas-operated
A statement released by the Ministry of Petroleum
this month, said the ministry seeks to expand
fuel stations in vital areas and to encourage
people to transform their vehicles to use natural
gas as fuel.
The agreement includes using the trademark
Eni, which holds shares in Gastec, to establish fuel
stations that provide various services to vehicles
at the highest standard, Minister of Petroleum and
Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla said.
The Indian government is planning to set-up
10,000 CNG stations across the country by 2030.
Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum
and Natural Gas made the announcement at the
58th Annual SIAM Convention.
The news will delight commercial-vehicle users
across the country – especially Ola and Uber drivers,
as most of the cars in their fleet run on CNG.
The announcement is an important one, as there
are currently only 1,424 CNG stations in India,
serving over 3 million CNG vehicles.
Given the present acute shortage, serpentine
queues (occasionally snaking kilometres long)
outside CNG stations are a common sight. To
make matters worse, with prices of fossil fuels
rising significantly over the past few months, an
ever-growing number of commercial vehicle owners
are switching to CNG vehicles.
Apart from being lighter on the wallet, CNG
vehicles also emit 20-30 percent less carbon
dioxide in comparison to petrol- or diesel-powered
cars. Another major benefit of CNG is the fact that
unlike crude oil, it doesn’t have to be imported,
thereby helping the Indian economy.
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