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Saudi Arabia is now focused on all kinds of energy and is taking climate change and the efforts to fight global warming seriously, according to the energy minister of the world’s largest crude oil exporter.
“We as a country, we are no longer called a leading oil-producing country ... we would like to be called an energy producing country, all kinds of energy,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said at a mining conference in Riyadh on Wednesday, as quoted by Reuters.
Fossil fuel production in Saudi Arabia will continue, but the Kingdom will work on reducing emissions from fossil fuels, he said.
“People are still interested in continuing to produce fossil fuels. However, like us, and we should be calling on everybody to do this, we have to work on mitigating these fossil fuels,” Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman added.
Last month, during the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told Bloomberg that the Kingdom would not endorse any text that calls for the phase-down of fossil fuels at the COP28 summit.
Saudi Arabia will “Absolutely not” be happy to have the language “fossil fuels should be phased down,” the Saudi minister said.
COP28, which ran one day into extra time amid heated debates on the future of fossil fuel use and production, ended with a compromise text referencing for the first time a call to all parties to transition away from fossil fuels. But the final agreement was watered down compared to any references to phasing out or phasing down of fossil fuels, as objections from many oil exporting countries – led by Saudi Arabia – held back talks in the final days and sent the conference into overtime.
Saudi Arabia and its state oil giant Aramco have repeatedly said that the focus of the energy sector and the debates should be on how to cut emissions, not on reducing oil and gas production.
Speaking at the Energy Intelligence Forum in October, Aramco’s chief executive Amin Nasser said that the Saudi oil giant is working on renewables, e-fuels, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage (CCS). But the world will need oil and gas for decades and renewables won't meet this need for decades, he added.
The additional oil and gas demand over the coming decade needs new upstream investments to offset the 5-7% annual decline rates, Nasser noted.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.