Global demand for LNG grew by 12.5%:Shell Annual Outlook

Karachi(Cliff News)Global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) grew by 12.5% to 359 million tonnes in 2019, according to Shell’s latest annual LNG Outlook published today – a significant increase that bolsters LNG’s growing role in the transition to a lower-carbon energy system.2019 saw key developments that are helping to reshape the industry, namely;  

  • an industry record of 40 million tonnes of additional supply becoming available and being consumed by the market.
  • the belief in long-term demand growth triggering record investment decisions in liquefaction capacity of 71 million tonnes.
  • an increase in diversity of contractual structures, providing a wider range of options to LNG buyers.
  • the growing role of gas in improving air quality through coal-to-gas switching in the power and industrial sectors, with coal generation phase-out announcements more than trebling.

Natural gas emits between 45 and 55% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and less than one-tenth of the air pollutants than coal when used to generate electricity.“The global LNG market continued to evolve in 2019 with demand increasing for LNG and natural gas in power and non-power sectors,” said Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas and New Energies Director at Shell. “Record supply investments will meet people’s growing need for the most flexible and cleanest-burning fossil fuel.”“While we see weak market conditions today due to record new supply coming in, two successive mild winters and the Coronavirus situation, we expect equilibrium to return, driven by a combination of continued demand growth and reduction in new supply coming on-stream until the mid-2020s.”Europe absorbed the majority of 2019 supply growth as competitively-priced LNG furthered coal-to-gas switching in the power sector and replaced declining domestic gas production and pipeline gas imports.  New spot-trading mechanisms and a wider variety of indices used for long-term contracts point towards LNG becoming an increasingly flexible commodity.There was a modest rise in imports to Asia in 2019, compared to the previous two years, a result of mild weather and rising electricity generation from nuclear power in Japan and South Korea, two of the three largest global importers.In China, LNG imports increased by 14% in 2019 as efforts continued to improve urban air quality.Also notable was LNG demand growth in South Asia. In total, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan imported 36 million tonnes, an increase of 19% over last year, pointing to emerging growth countries in Asia.Over the longer-term, global LNG demand is expected to double to 700 million tonnes by 2040, according to forecasts*, as gas plays a significant role in shaping a lower-carbon energy system.Asia is expected to remain the dominant region in the decades to come, with South and South-east Asia generating more than half of the increased demand.

 

 

 

 

 

VEON’s Co-CEO shares key insights with National Incubation Center startups

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Islamabad(Cliff News)Sergi Herrero, co-CEO of VEON Group, the global telecom leader and Jazz’s parent company, toured the National Incubation Center (NIC) facility in Islamabad. Following a brief pitch session by Jazz xlr8 and other NIC startups, Sergi, who before being named the co-CEO was leading new ventures, digital products and partnerships for the VEON group, participated in a conversation with the startups on innovation, leadership and the future of digital technologies.Sergi also shared insights with the startups from his time as Facebook’s Global Director of Payments and Commerce Partnerships, where he oversaw the launch and growth of payment and commerce capabilities for Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. He provided the keen entrepreneurs present at this talk the best strategies they can adopt for sustainable growth and expansion of their digital platforms.While lauding the efforts of the team behind the NIC, Sergi Herrero stated, “Pakistan is a dynamic country with a large youth population that is motivated, talented and eager to succeed, and this reflects in some of the work I have witnessed today at the NIC. Jazz’s intervention in this space provides these eager minds the resources and expertise needed to make a meaningful impact on society.” Since NIC’s launch, its incubated startups have generated over $5 million in investment and another $5 million in revenues. They have also created over 5,000 jobs and incubated more than 63 women entrepreneurs.Jazz xlr8, is an accelerator program for growth-stage startups at the NIC, helping them scale their products to the next level. More than 20 startups are on-board with this program, already generating over 1500 jobs, while raising over $1.6 Million in investments.“Jazz xlr8 startups are some of the best in the world in terms of their robust and innovative product offerings. In the three years we have worked with them, these startups have managed to create 1000s of jobs and raise finances to scale-up. Sergi’s visit today reinforces our commitment to the Pakistani startup ecosystem, as we look to double our support in pursuance of the government’s Digital Pakistan agenda,” said Jazz CEO Aamir Ibrahim.“Jazz is looking at innovative ways for digital interventions through our startups, operating in key areas, such as; Health, Education, Tourism, Agriculture and Gaming. We are committed to support socio-economic development in Pakistan, by providing technologies that impact the lives of millions by leveraging the largest infrastructure and footprint of Jazz all across the country,” said Jazz Chief Digital & Strategy Officer Aamer Ejaz.  

About Jazz

Jazz is Pakistan’s largest digital telecommunication company. Serving over 60 million subscribers across the country. 

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A1 decoded-accountants and policy makers can benefit from ongoing work

Karachi (Cliff News)ACCA’s (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) latest report Explainable AI addresses explainability from the perspective of practitioners, i.e. accountancy and finance professionals. Head of Business Insights, Narayanan Vaidyanathan, said: ‘It is in the public interest to improve understanding of XAI, which helps to balance the protection of the consumer with innovation in the marketplace.’Complexity, speed and volume of AI decision-making often obscure what is going on in the background (the black box), which makes the model difficult to interrogate.  Explainability, or the lack of this, affects the ability of professional accountants to understand and display scepticism. In a recent ACCA survey, more than double, 54%, agreed with this statement compared to those who didn’t.Vaidyanathan continued: ‘It’s an area that’s relevant to being able to trust technology and to be confident that it’s used ethically and XAI can help in this scenario.  It’s helpful to think of it as a design principle as much as a set of tools. Moreover, this is AI decoded, and designed to augment the human ability to understand and interrogate the results returned by the model.’

Key messages for practitioners:

  • Maintain awareness of evolving trends in AI: 51% of respondents were unaware of XAI.  This impairs the ability to engage. The report sets out some of the key developments in this emerging area to help raise awareness.  
  • Beware of oversimplified narratives: In accountancy, AI isn’t fully autonomous, but nor is it a complete fantasy. The middle path of augmenting, as opposed to replacing, the human works best when the human understands what the AI is doing; which needs explainability. 
  • Embed explainability into enterprise adoption:  Consider the level of explainability needed, and how it can help with model performance, ethical use and legal compliance. 

Policy makers, for instance in government or at regulators, frequently hear the developer/supplier perspective from the AI industry. This report can complement that with a view from the user/demand side, so that policy can incorporate consumer needs.  

The report’s key messages for policy makers are:

  • Explainability empowers consumers and regulators: improved explainability reduces the deep asymmetry between experts who understand AI and the wider public. And for regulators, it can help reduce systemic risk if there is a better understanding of factors influencing algorithms that are being increasingly deployed across the marketplace. 
  • Emphasise explainability as a design principle: An environment that balances innovation and regulation can be achieved by supporting industry to continue, indeed redouble, its efforts to include explainability as a core feature in product development.

 

Narayanan Vaidyanathan added: ‘XAI can be polarising, with some having unrealistic expectations for it to be like magic and answer all questions. While others are deeply suspicious of what the algorithm is doing in the background. XAI seeks to bridge this gap, by improving understanding to manage unrealistic expectations, and to give a level of comfort and clarity to the doubters.’

About ACCA

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. ACCA supports its 219,000 members and 527,000 students (including affiliates) in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 110 offices and centres and 7,571 Approved Employers worldwide, and 328 approved learning providers who provide high standards of learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally. 

 

 

 

Crown group signs MOU with Total Parco

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Karachi(Cliff News)Crown Group, a leading two and three-wheeler automotive giant, has partnered with Total Parco Pakistan (TPPPL), a globally recognized player in the oil industry, to introduce a new infusion of quality Ultra Boost Multi-Grade Engine Oil which will be available all across Pakistan. Formulated in France, the high quality engine oil will not only rejuvenate vehicles engine life but also actively clean it due to its Pro-Cleansing Formula Technology.The signing ceremony took place at local hotel with the presence of dignitaries from both the respective organizations including Chairman Crown Group, Mr. M. Farhan Hanif, Managing Director, S.M Kashif Qaseem along with other directors of the group. The agreement was signed between Business Development Director, Crown Group – Mr. Zohaib Farhan and Vice President, Total Parco Pakistan Pvt. Ltd – Mr. Zaza Kandelaki.With a monthly sale of up to 10,000 motorcycles, Crown Group has now diversified its operations across motorcycles, all engine parts, batteries, body parts and tyres for two and three-wheelers. Their production capacity is laid out strategically in two factories in Sadiqabad, one motorcycle factory and 8 Chinese joint venture factories in Karachi and an industrial park in Port Qasim, Karachi.Crown is a leading brand in the two and three wheeler industries of Pakistan and the only local consumer brand that exports to international markets while offering solutions for all segments of the industry within Pakistan.

About Crown Group:

Crown Group has been the forerunner in two and three-wheeler automotive industries since 1963. Having the largest network of motorcycle parts across pan Pakistan, Crown deals in manufacturing motorcycles, tyres and tubes for more than 15 years.

High demand of CarFirst sales center franchise amoung used car dealers

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Lahore(Cliff News)In line with their commitment to revolutionize the used car industry in Pakistan, CarFirst, Pakistan’s most trusted used car trading platform, under their CarFirst Sales Center business introduced a complete franchising business solution for used car dealers and traders. After multiple successful launches in Lahore, a high demand for the franchise came in from used car traders and dealers from cities across Pakistan, and thus, CarFirst Sales Center Franchise is now available nationwide.All CarFirst Sales Center franchisees enjoy exclusive access to arguably the largest inventory of used cars in Pakistan at the best prices, as well as the standard online marketplace, easing the buying and selling of cars, as well as marketing and branding support. The Franchising services provide full support to used car dealerships and traders and helps them in increasing their revenue and profitability. The franchises also enable ease of access to CarFirst Sales Center customer base and digital operations.Commenting on this Shanawar Khan, Head of Operations,  at CarFirst Sales Center said, “ Our innovative franchising business solutions helps increase brand value, with franchisees receiving an increasing number of customers at their locations, with our dedicated Call Center generating leads and redirecting them to their dealerships. Our regular Gala events exclusively allow franchisees in their city to showcase their stock to a wide range of potential buyers. The Franchise Support Executives present at franchises helps improve customer service experience. We also help in generating additional income by providing our Franchise owners’ customers with many value added services under one roof, like Insurance, Takaful, Financing, Tracker, Auto service and many more.”Commenting on this Sheikh Rehan Ahmed, Owner of Car Boulevard, a CarFirst Sales Center Franchise said,“Working with CarFirst Sales Center has increased my customers and I have been able to multiply the scale of my business. It has taught me the benefit of bringing my business online, with more information on prices and varieties of cars.  By owning a CarFirst Sales Center Franchise I get exclusive access to inventory as well as 10 free OLX featured Ads that really help in getting attraction. Marketing and branding support to maximize lead generation and people who are helpful in managing operations is another bonus. The tech element of inspected cars in an online inventory has helped increase the speed of operations. I have had a very good experience so far and Insha Allah it will become even better. I recommend this exceptional service to my peers in the used car auto industry.”

About CarFirst

CarFirst is Pakistan’s most trusted trading platform, with a nationwide network of purchase centres and warehouses. CarFirst was founded in 2016 and has been the recipient of the largest Series ‘A’ investment in Pakistan from Frontier Car Group, and the largest Series ‘B’ investment from OLX Group. Consumers Association of Pakistan awarded CarFirst as the ‘Fastest Growing Tech Company’ in 2019. CarFirst aims to revolutionize the way cars are traded in Pakistan by offering comprehensive solutions for all things related to cars, such as evaluation, certification, financing, insurance, live auctions, and many more. CarFirst aim is to keep adding value across the customer’s journey, improving efficiency and transparency at every milestone of the car trading process.

 

 

Finland government to train 1 million Pakistani students

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Karachi(Cliff News)The Federal Minister of Planning & Development – Asad Umar, chaired the signing ceremony of a historic MoU between the Governments of Finland and Pakistan, to launch an initiative to train 1 million students on disruptive technologies like; Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IOT), Gaming-Tech, Health-Tech, etc. This is the first and the largest ‘Mass IT Education Program’ in collaboration with the Government of Finland. It will be managed by prestigious institutions like the “Kajaani University of Applied Sciences”, Finland, “Allied ICT”, Finland and the Virtual University (VU) Pakistan, while also engaging a local partner – Integration Xperts (IX), in Pakistan to provide technical expertise.The former Minister of Information-Technology – Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (MNA) also graced the occasion, accompanied by senior officials of the Ministry of IT & Telecom, CEO of Kajaani University Matti Saren, Rector of VU-Mr. Naeem Tariq, Delegates of Allied ICT Finland and Global Alliance, etc., while the CEO of Vendor Junction (Regional Partner) – Sayed Jawed also witnessed the signing ceremony, along with Mr. Umair Azam – Managing Director of Integration Xperts (Representative in Pakistan). All these stakeholders have been working hard for the last one year, to make this venture a reality.Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui thanked the Government of Finland for their support and stated that: “This valuable initiative reflects Pakistan government’s commitment to enrich the economy with an additional qualified workforce of one million youngsters, educated on European professional standards, to learn special skill-sets. It will enable them to capitalize on the latest trends evolving in Information-Technology. With their globally recognized certifications, these fresh human-resources will strengthen Pakistan’s IT industry, by nurturing a wide range of technology start-ups. Pakistan will thus gain competitive-advantage in the global free-lance work-space, to become an attractive destination for international companies searching for qualified technology experts.”The President & CEO of Kajaani University and Member ICT Finland – Matti Saren, said: The Economist Intelligence Report has declared Finland as the best country in the world for future skills-education, while the PISA research by OECD also ranks Finland as the best higher-education & training system in the world. Since Last year, Vendor Junction and Integration Xperts have been exploring ways to access the highest quality of mass-education, technologies and ideas. By following the proven system of Finland, millions of Pakistanis will now become highly-rated experts in the global business environment. The European enterprises are also being engaged to identify investment opportunities in this region, which promises great talents for building innovative businesses.Anas Al Natsheh – Director of International Education Cooperation at Kajaani University said: Resourceful international collaborations and digital technologies are enabling accessibility to quality education across the globe, nurture innovations, new ideas and products. These collaborations serve as great platforms for knowledge-exchange, teaching and learning. Rapid advancement promises accelerated progress, especially for developing countries.Jarmo Jarvenpaa, member of Allied ICT Finland and CEO of iSTOC stated: Digitalization is creating a whole new world of possibilities for growth. Partnerships are enabling new ways to attract investments and achieve agility for success. Working research institutes and local healthcare partners, Allied ICT has already executed a successful infectious-diseases program in Pakistan. Now we are implementing this international training program for nurses and healthcare workers, through mHealth education.The experts involved in this initiative recognize that; AI, IoT, Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Digital Networking, Gaming and Drone Technology, are essential skills for success in the global ICT market. Investing on quality incubation and commercialization centres with accredited certifications are needed to nurture local talent, start-ups, based on research, that can impact, sustainability and lives in society as a whole.

 

 

WB by Hemani takes quantum leap towards Digital Pakistan

Zohair Hemani, Ali Abbas, Waseem Badami and Tahnoon Khan at WB by Hemani's office

Karachi(Cliff News)In line with the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan’s new initiative of Digital Pakistan, WB by Hemani has brought in a technology from a USA based company, Jolokia, thus becoming being the first retail industry to digitalize its HR and Training process. A contract-signing ceremony at their office took place here earlier today, attended by select members of the media.WB by Hemani, established in 2017 with over 30 outlets all across Pakistan, was the first company to bring a natural and organic experience to Pakistan. This time, through the partnership with Jolokia, WB by Hemani will again be the first company in Pakistan to manage HR and do online training with product information along with appraisal, increment and product quizzes all in one software called Inferno LXP. Inferno LXP is already been used by various MNCs in USA.Inferno LXP is a brand-new edition to this part of the world and will be instrumental in making WB by Hemani have a full-featured, reliable SaaS platform that allows instructors to create engaging video learning experiences. Ultimately this technology will add value to the learning and development departments of corporate organizations regardless of whether a learning management system is available there or not. Having everything presented in Video is the new norm; short and engaging videos are undoubtedly more effective, digestible and helps an organization save paper. SMEs and other employees provide a wealth of resources, so while automation is the new way forward, human connection is important too. LXPs enable the best of both worlds where access to learning in video format can be made watchable at any time and at any place – with valuable content being just a few clicks away.Pete Mastin, CEO of Jolokia (based in USA) said, “We are very excited to partner with WB by Hemani in this region to expand the reach of our business development efforts. The fact that this time round there will be automated caption creation and translations into Urdu is the icing on the cake”.By adding this kind of technology to their current business model, WB by Hemani is headed in the right direction. Not only are they leading the retail industry, but also tapping on the Digital Pakistan initiative to the nation’s benefit, by being the first to embark on video learning experience platforms.

About Jolokia Inferno LXP

Jolokia is an intelligent online video service provider whose product, Inferno, an online training and Learning Experience Platform (LXP), supports clients that require integration with enterprise systems, custom workflow, cognitive search and discovery, translation and accessibility, interactive features and secure multi-CDN streaming in front of and behind the firewall. Jolokia has been providing top products and service in the video streaming space for 10+ years.