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Natixis Opens Corporate, Investment Bank Office in Saudi Arabia

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Natixis Opens Corporate, Investment Bank Office in Saudi Arabia

(Bloomberg) —

Natixis SA opened a corporate and investment banking office in Saudi Arabia as the French lender seeks to expand in the Arab world’s largest economy.

The bank appointed Reema Al-Asmari as chief executive officer of its operations in the kingdom, according to a statement. Al-Asmari joined Natixis in August 2019 and was previously head for treasury services for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Saudi Arabia. She will report to Simon Eedle, Natixis’ head in the Middle East.

International banks have been expanding in Saudi Arabia as the country embarks on a plan to diversify its economy beyond oil and attract more foreign investment. Citigroup Inc. re-opened in the kingdom in 2017 after leaving in 2004, while JPMorgan, HSBC Holdings Plc., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are among banks that have been hiring and getting licenses for new activities.

Saudi Arabia has become a more important source of deal flow for global banks. Saudi Aramco raised nearly $30 billion in the biggest-ever initial public offering last year, while the opening of the kingdom’s stock market to foreign investors has attracted global investors.

More recently, the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund has been on an overseas acquisition spree. The sovereign wealth fund built has stakes in Boeing Co., Citigroup Inc. and Facebook Inc. since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Brazil asks investment firms to adopt protected Amazon areas – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Brazil asks investment firms to adopt protected Amazon areas

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s government on Thursday proposed that global asset-managers adopt protected areas in the Amazon rainforest in order to curb illegal deforestation ahead of the season farmers traditionally use fire to clear land and brush.

Vice-President Hamilton Mourão, who heads the government’s council on the Amazon region, held a video call with representatives of investment firms and said he hopes for financial support from them to support environmental protection projects. Last month, mainly European investment firms sent a letter expressing concern over rising deforestation and demanded forceful action against illegal activities in the Amazon. The 34 firms that have now signed onto the initiative have a total $4.6 trillion in assets under management.

“The Adopt a Park program will permit each of these national and foreign companies to choose one of the 132 conservation units in the Amazon and start financially supporting them, for monitoring, prevention and recovery,” environment minister Ricardo Salles said in a press conference in Brasilia after the virtual meeting. The funding, for example, could pay for security to prevent people from entering the areas.

President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 with pledges to unlock the riches of the vast Amazon and has repeatedly opposed large territories being reserved for Indigenous peoples. His government faced international criticism last year when deforestation in the Amazon reached it worst level in 11 years. As a result, some members of European legislatures have said they would vote against ratification of a free-trade deal between the European Union and the Mercosur customs union that includes Brazil, which was signed in June 2019 after two decades of negotiation.

Deforestation in the Amazon increased 22% in the first five months of this year compared to the same period of 2019, the government agency that monitors the rainforest reported June 6. Data for the full month of June has yet to be released.

In the video call on Thursday, investors told Brazilian authorities they are monitoring deforestation rates, the prevention of forest fires and enforcement of Brazil’s forest code, among other issues important for their assessments, according to a statement from Storebrand, one of the financial institutions at the meeting.

“We are evaluating, and having a dialogue with the government is a way to try to minimize the risk of divesting,” Jeanett Bergan, head of responsible investments for Norway’s largest pension fund, KLP, said by phone from Norway. “We hope the dialogue can bring forward positive results and progress, we won’t see the same as last year with all the forest fires, and maybe see positive results coming out of this after awhile. It’s a positive first step and we need to continue the dialogue and hopefully we’ll all see some results on the ground.”

Bergan added that KLP’s participation in any Brazilian program would require more details and information.

KLP has about $53 million invested in 58 Brazilian companies. It has already divested from Brazilian meatpacker JBS, mining giant Vale and power company Eletrobras for reason related to either corruption, the environment or human rights.

Brazil already receives money from wealthy nations, namely Germany and Norway, to fight deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Norway alone has donated $1.2 billion to Brazil’s Amazon Fund since its creation in 2008. However, both European nations suspended contributions last year, citing continued deforestation and questioning whether the government wants to stop it.

Foreign affairs minister Ernesto Araújo said the government is trying to improve the nation’s image as a responsible environmental steward. Brazil’s government announced Thursday that it has started conversations with Germany and Norway to restart co-operation to protect the Amazon.

The government’s understanding, Mourão said, is that the two main donors to the Amazon Fund want to see deforestation dropping before resuming contributions.

“We will gradually corner those who commit crimes so that deforestation is reduced to an acceptable amount,” he said.

Marcelo De Sousa And David Biller, The Associated Press

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Former Oil Execs To Launch New Hydrogen Investment Fund – OilPrice.com

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Former Oil Execs To Launch New Hydrogen Investment Fund | OilPrice.com

Charles Kennedy

Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com

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    Hydrogen

    A former Shell executive and a veteran fund manager and former Exxon figure are launching a hydrogen-focused investment fund to great fanfare as governments the world over shift strategy to this clean fuel source that until now hasn’t managed to break the investment barrier. 

    Times change, though–and a global pandemic is helping. 

    Former Shell executive JJ Traynor and former Artemis fund manager and Exxon employee Richard Hulf plan to launch HydrogenOne Capital sometime this year. The aim of the first-of-its-kind fund is to create a team dedicated to turning abruptly growing interest in hydrogen into investment dollars, Traynor told Reuters

    Hydrogen has multiple uses, including as a feedstock, a fuel, an energy carrier, or an energy storage solution. It also has multiple applications across industry, transport, power, and buildings sectors, according to a European Commission report

    What makes it hugely important for Europe’s 2050 climate neutrality goal is the fact that it does not emit CO2 and does not pollute the air. 

    Despite all of this, for four decades, hydrogen power has been languishing on the market due to a line-up of technical issues and high-cost hurdles. While battery power has soared thanks primarily to Tesla EVs, hydrogen-powered fuel cell EVs haven’t made much progress.  

    In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, new energy tech is hurtling forward faster than anyone expected, and hydrogen is emerging into the mainstream rather suddenly, with experts saying it has finally reached that point where its path to becoming a globally traded energy source is visible.  Related: Russia Eyes Another Massive Gas Pipeline To China

    A host of countries are now committing billions of dollars to clean hydrogen to combat climate change. 

    The new fund is just the latest in a series of moves towards hydrogen lately. 

    Germany, which has recently committed to invest €9B (about $10.2B) in hydrogen technology over the next two decades, and oil, automotive, and other companies are joining the ranks of those who are proactively investing in hydrogen technologies

    Earlier this week, the European Commission opened a $1.1-billion call for the funding of large-scale renewables projects, including clean hydrogen. 

    “The EU will invest Eur1 billion in promising, market-ready projects such as clean hydrogen or other low-carbon solutions for energy-intensive industries like steel, cement and chemicals,” S&P Global cited EC Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans as saying. 

    By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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      Alberta targets petrochemicals investment with new grant program – CTV News

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      CALGARY —
      Demand for items manufactured with petrochemicals has skyrocketed during the global COVID-19 pandemic and the province is now looking to bolster the industry within Alberta through grants.

      The provincial government has launched its 10-year Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program to attract “multi-billion dollar investments to petrochemical projects throughout Alberta.”

      The petrochemicals manufacturing industry hub in Alberta — with centres in Grande Prairie, Joffre and Medicine Hat — is among Canada’s largest but the province says there’s ample room for expansion within the sector.

      “While Alberta is already a Canadian leader in petrochemicals manufacturing, the sky is the limit for this sector’s benefits to our province,” said Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity Dale Nally in a statement released Thursday.

      “Over the last 10 years, petrochemical investment in the United States reached $250 billion, more than 10 times what was invested in Canada.

      “With our affordable 300-year supply of natural gas, technically skilled and educated workforce, and respected innovation and research sectors, Alberta is ready to seize the opportunity to become a global destination for petrochemical manufacturing, benefiting all Albertans.”

      Funding through the grant program will be distributed only after eligible an project has been constructed and begins operating.

      The need for items manufactured with petrochemicals came to the forefront over the last few months as the spread of the novel coronavirus led to increased demand for medical equipment and personal protective equipment including face masks and gloves.

      Petrochemicals are also used in the manufacturing process of numerous items including computers, cellphones, food packaging, car tires and gasoline.

      The Chemistry Industry Association of Canada says Alberta’s chemicals sector is worth approximately $12.1 billion and the industry has created jobs, either directly or indirectly, for more than 58 thousand Albertans.

      According to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, there could be upwards of $30 billion invested in Alberta’s petrochemical sector over the next decade and the construction and operation of new facilities could create more than 90,000 jobs.

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