Saturday, January 31, 2015

Airport wisdom - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt 31 January 2015

Airport wisdom

Travelling offers plenty of opportunities to observe, interact and learn many new things from people and places.

The other day, I was at the airport waiting to board the plane and suddenly a medical emergency came up and it was delayed. Tired and restless passengers joined as groups and started conversing with each other. I happened to be with passengers from the US, Belgium and Switzerland. Our talks led to an interesting question to each other, why we were travelling where we were travelling to!

The elderly person from the US was a citizen of Indian origin, but still keeping connections with his family and friends. It was too cold where he was living and since at his age he couldn’t withstand it, he was moving on to India for a few months.

The traveller from Belgium was travelling for the first time and he was full of expectations towards his holidays from the fascinating stories he heard from his friends who came before.

The third person, who was from Switzerland, was proceeding to India after a brief stopover in the United Arab Emirates. He told us that his daughter, when she was a small child had read about the UAE, its history and culture. From then, she was keen on visiting the UAE at least once.

What she did was to find an educational programme that suited her and was utilising one full semester period in the UAE.

“With this visit, I could see my girl in the UAE and then proceed to India, which is closer to UAE and fulfil my dream of visiting the historic and cultural abundance,” he said.

Keep trying and do it when you get the chance — however long it takes. I am sure, your goals and dreams will come true, if you keep an attitude of this sort.

Ramesh Menon
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Thursday, January 29, 2015



Total has signed a new 40-year onshore concession agreement with the Supreme Petroleum Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), granting Total a 10% participating interest effective January 1, 2015. The concession covers the fifteen principal onshore oil fields of Abu Dhabi and represents more than half of the Emirate’s production.”

Paris - Total has signed a new 40-year onshore concession agreement with the Supreme Petroleum Council of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), granting Total a 10% participating interest effective January 1, 2015. The concession covers the fifteen principal onshore oil fields of Abu Dhabi and represents more than half of the Emirate’s production.

"Total’s entry into the new ADCO concession is a major milestone in the history of the Group’s 75-year partnership with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. We are committed to bringing our most advanced technological expertise to unlock the full production potential of Abu Dhabi's onshore fields and therefore contribute to the development of additional reserves over the next 40 years,” outlined Patrick Pouyanné, Chief Executive Officer of Total. “Total is honored to be the first International Oil Company to be chosen by the government of Abu Dhabi and ADNOC to participate in this new onshore concession and to be entrusted with the mission of technical leader on two major groups of fields".

The new concession will be operated by the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Petroleum Operations Limited (ADCO), a new operating company in which Total will be a 10% shareholder. Total has also been appointed Asset Leader for the Bu Hasa and Southeast (Sahil, Asab, Shah, Qusahwira and Mender fields) fields, which represent about two-thirds of ADCO’s production.

In 2015, ADCO’s expected production is around 1.6 million barrels of oil per day (Mb/d), with an objective to increase output to 1.8 Mb/d from 2017.

Total in the United Arab Emirates

Total has been present in the UAE since 1939 and has built a strong presence, reflected by the size and diversity of its assets and partnerships. The Group’s equity production in 2013 was 260,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).

Total held a 9.5% interest in the previous 75-year ADCO concession that expired on January 10, 2014.

In partnership with ADNOC, Total holds a 75% stake and operates the Abu Al Bu Khoosh field and holds a 13.3% stake in Abu Dhabi Marine (ADMA), which operates two offshore fields. Total also has a 15% stake in Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO), a 5% stake in Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company (ADGAS) and a 5% stake in National Gas Shipping Company (NGSCO). The Group also owns 33.33% of Ruwais Fertilizer Industries (FERTIL), which produces urea.

The Group holds a 24.5% stake in Dolphin Energy Ltd. in partnership with Mubadala, a company owned by the government of Abu Dhabi. Total has also upgraded and increased the capacity of the Taweelah water desalination and power plant which produces about 20% of Abu Dhabi’s water and power requirements.

Total is a partner in the Shams project, the world's largest concentrated solar power plant in operation (100 MW), inaugurated in 2013. In addition, the Group is a leader in the manufacturing and marketing of the entire range of automotive and industrial lubricants through its affiliate Total Marketing Middle East.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That’s the spirit - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt 24 January 2015

That’s the spirit

I was at a sports meet organised for children during the weekend.

It was interesting to see boys and girls coming early in the morning and competing with each other to win in each event they participated.

The weather was excellent and so was the ambience.

There was one event where children in pairs had to run together with one leg each of the participant tied to the other. With limited coaching I found a pair of girls winning well ahead of their competitors.

In another race, a group of girls competed against each other. A few of them ran really fast. When the race finished I saw all of them together sharing their experiences.

Among them was a girl who despite losing, remained very positive and told others, “Hey, I lost.” What a spirit!

Those were the most beautiful words I listened to in the recent times.

We have a lot to learn observing our children.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in the original, please visit Gulf Today online

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Inspirational turn - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt 17 January 2015

Inspirational turn

This is an actual story about a boy who just graduated as one of the best students from a technical institution of significance.

When he joined, he was the most disobedient among the students, always trying to find one way or another to be in the limelight among the backbenchers.

Smoking, making loud sounds or even at times ignoring instructions from the professors, he was taking out his personal frustrations in the college on his fellow students and teachers.

One day, the professors took him and other students on a visit to a school for physically challenged. A boy trying to do a painting caught his attention. He was attracted to his effort to complete forgetting his physical disabilities. Both formed a rapport with each other and our student started helping him instantaneously.

May be it was the first time in life he got connected to an emotional human element. It never died down. Transformed at the realities of life, he was a changed student altogether when he returned to his college.

Then on, everyone saw a different personality in him. He was regular to his class and assignments and at the end of the course, he was the best student in his batch.

Academicians have a big role in transforming students. The students’ success to a certain extent lies in the capabilities of an effective Communication Action Programme whereby they are taught in simple ways how important is education and the significance of becoming a professional by own efforts and merits.

There is always a good human being in everyone and the success of a person or programme is dependent on finding out this and nurturing in the right way.

Students like him are to be congratulated and educationists who identify and develop such national potential at a young age are to be praised.

Ramesh Menon

Gulf Today - Short Take Dt 17 January 2014

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Safety first - Gulf Today - Short Take Dt 10th January 2015

Safety first

Many times life changes in a flash.

Looking at the weather scenario and the fog happening these days bring a sense of caution to all those who are driving in the UAE.

A strong sense of self-responsibility is required by everyone to drive slowly and safely. If and when one finds someone driving dangerously during bad weather, all efforts should be made to control the situation.

“Start early, drive carefully and reach safely” be our mantra at all times when we plan a journey.

Ramesh Menon
Gulf Today - Short Take - Dt. 10 January 2015

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online

Monday, January 5, 2015

Dubai Shopping Festival: Early memories and top tips - Gulf News Dt 5th January 2015

Dubai Shopping Festival: Early memories and top tips

Residents who have been in the UAE for more than 20 years share their thoughts on DSF
By Janice Ponce de Leon and Mary Achkhanian, Staff Reporters
Published: 17:37 January 4, 2015

Dubai: Whether it’s bargains, street entertainment, or the car and gold winnings, the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) has made a huge impact in people’s lives for the past two decades.

Gulf News asked residents who witnessed the opening of the first DSF in Rigga in 1996 about their earliest memories and the shopping techniques they’ve discovered through the years. For some, the kilometres-long cake that everyone went crazy about after gossip broke out that car keys were hidden inside it was the most vivid memory during the DSF inaugural launch. For others, DSF brings to mind its distinctive shopping bag and logo. Here’s what our readers asscoaite with their DSF memories:

Mohammad Sawood, 29, works in travel sales, from India

Where he was when DSF was launched:
“I was in Dubai then, but I was still studying. I was 11 years old.”

Experience during first DSF:
“The whole festival was held in Rigga. People who lived near the area used to just walk to where the whole celebration was. The abra was the most used mode of transportation. I remember there was a bunjee jumping contest where people who’d try out and touched the water of the Dubai Creek would get to win two cars. Only the brave ones tried it out. The fireworks display was one of the major attractions because it was a new thing for many people.”

What DSF means to him:
“DSF to me is a very good campaign for tourists — a lot of people are coming to the city, so you won’t get idle at work especially of you’re working in travel sales.”

Biggest discounts he’s had so far
“When I bought an iPhone 4 two years back. I got a discount of Dh250. My very first purchase during DSF was a leather wallet at Dh30, which would probably cost Dh100-Dh150 now.”

Top shopping tip:
•             “If you plan to shop at the end of the year, wait for the DSF. That way you get a chance to win in raffles during DSF [after shopping].

Mohammad Ebrahim Mohammad, 54, files coordinator, from India

Where he was when DSF was launched:
“I’ve been in the UAE for 38 years and I was here in Dubai when they first launched it in Rigga beside the then Dubai Municipality office.”

Fist DSF experience:
“Earlier, the entire celebration was concentrated in one area in Rigga stretching for about two square kilometres. But now, everywhere you look, you see DSF promotions. We would go out to shop four or five times every week because people were really interested in it as it was a new concept.”

What DSF means to him:
“DSF is a time when family members from India travel to Dubai to shop.”

Biggest discounts he’s had so far:
“I got a discount of Dh200 after buying a TV set, that’s the biggest so far. My very first purchase was a sound mixer for Dh125 and I was able to use it for ten years.”

Top shopping tip:
•             “Best thing to buy during DSF are electronics [and] appliances. I bought a discounted washing machine that came with a [free] microwave oven.”

Ramesh Menon, communications coordinator based in Abu Dhabi:

Where he was when DSF was launched:
“I was in Dubai when the first DSF was launched in 1996. The closing day of [the first] DSF will remain unforgettable for me. I still remember the crowded Al Nasr Square streets and rush that was experienced that evening.”

Experience during first DSF:
“The first-of-[its]-kind inaugural event in the region itself was a great success. The activities were concentrated in Deira, Bur Dubai and Satwa. The streets were decorated and evenings were filled with curious residents to experiences the never before shopping bonanza that was going to be there for a long period to come in the history of Dubai and UAE. The lucky draws giving luxurious cars on raffle were a big attraction.

What DSF means to him:
“A festive time where friends and families could meet, do a bit of shopping, eat out and explore the culture and tradition of countries from different parts of the world. DSF has grown its stature to entice many countries to emulate similar events on a yearly basis.”

Top shopping tip:
“DSF now is spread out for a longer time and so wait for the early rush to subside and select offers and items that really fit your purse and requirements.”

From (left clockwise) : Julia Greenwood, Mohammad Sawood and Ramesh Menon

Julia Greenwood, PA to Senior Vice President, ADGAS, from the UK:

Where she was when DSF was launched:
“I was in Abu Dhabi at the launch of DSF. It was a fantastic idea and created a hub for people to meet and shop from all over the world.”

Experience during first DSF:
“The hype of excitement that all the shops were simultaneously on sale making offers, [holding] raffles and hotel discounts. [It was] amazing.”

What DSF means to her:
“DSF is a chance to buy products [that] perhaps I would wait to save up for, but can be considered due to DSF shopping discounts. I have made new friends from socialising on a DSF meet and shop.”

Biggest discounts she’s had so far:
“We bought skis, suitcases, [and] evening dresses from the best brands. The hotels we stayed at were offering half price rooms with breakfast.”

Top shopping tip:

“I think the whole festival runs smoothly as it is, the word is spread around the world, and visitors from all over are keen to experience it. Perhaps the public transport can get involved more with the late-night shopping, i.e., weekly passes exclusive from DSF outlets.”

To read it in original, visit Gulf News online

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Guiness Record Winning Dubai Musical Fountain and Burj Khalifa to Welcome 2015

Guiness Record Winning Dubai Musical Fountain and Burj Khalifa to Welcome 2015

It has made history by clinching the Guinness World Record title for the Largest LED-Illuminated Façade on Burj Khalifa
Musical fountain and festive lightning show at Burj Khalifa - 2nd January 2015.

A team from Guinness World Records have adjudicated the preparations for Downtown Dubai New Year’s Eve Gala, and has awarded the honour for impressive wrapping of the world’s tallest building with LED panels, spanning total area of 32,467 sqm. This surpasses the current record held by Mall Taman Anggrek in Indonesia, with LED screen area around Burj Khalifa 3.75 times larger.

The record-breaking LED display has an impressive 70,000 LED panels placed in position, using more than 100,000 brackets and linked endlessly using 55,000m of cabling for the perfect visual display. The façade display a spectacular multi-media display, highlighting the rich heritage of Dubai, its visionary leadership and iconic accomplishments.

Poor visibility due to thick fog - Drive carefully

Poor visibility in Abu Dhabi and surroundings due to thick fog (even at 08:10 am). Please drive slowly and carefully. Safety First.