Showa Shell to Launch Solar Project

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2009

Saudi Aramco and Japan’s Showa Shell have signed a letter of intent to study the feasibility of generating power from the sun using proprietary Showa Shell technology in a pilot project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Mr. Khalid G. Al-Buainain, Saudi Aramco Senior Vice President for Refining, Marketing & International; and Mr. Shigeya Kato, Chairman of Showa Shell; signed the letter of intent on June 12, 2009 in Tokyo. 

The pilot project also enjoys the firm support of the Japanese government and its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).  Mr. Toru Ishida, Director General of METI’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, welcomed the agreement and affirmed the ministry’s backing of the initiative.

The pilot project not only involves the transfer of cutting-edge technology and the exchange of expertise between the two companies, but also leverages their existing relationship, as Saudi Aramco, through an affiliate, holds an equity stake in Showa Shell.  As part of the project, young Saudi engineers will receive specialized training at Showa Shell’s solar energy plant, ensuring they gain knowledge and experience in the fast-developing world of solar energy technology.

“We’re pleased to embark on this pilot project with our friends at Showa Shell,” Al-Buainain said, “and to explore the contributions that innovative solar power technology can provide to Saudi Arabia’s expanding energy sector.  There are promising opportunities to reduce power generation and transmission costs, particularly in the Kingdom’s rural areas and for remote industrial facilities and installations.”

Mr. Jun Arai, President of Showa Shell, and Mr. Shigeaki Kameda, President of Showa Shell Solar, attended the signing ceremony and praised the agreement, noting it was a landmark in the history of the relationship between the two companies.

A team drawn from both firms has started developing execution plans for the projects, and designing the related training programs.

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