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World's biggest oil exporter commits to net-zero emissions

Matthew Martin and Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg News on

Published in News & Features

Abdulaziz bin Salman said each government’s approach to curbing emissions was different and that Saudi Arabia would continue to push for investments in oil and gas production.

The world “cannot operate without fossil fuels, without hydrocarbons,” he said. Neither they nor renewables “will be the savior. It has to be a comprehensive solution.”

He added that the COP26 talks must be “inclusive.”

“Inclusivity requires that you are open to accept what everybody is going to do as long as he contributes to emissions reduction,” he said. “The tools in your kit are completely different than mine.”

Saudi climate negotiators may try to water down proposals from other countries to reduce oil and gas investments, according to Jim Krane, fellow at Rice University in Houston and author of ‘Energy Kingdoms: Oil and Political Survival in the Persian Gulf’.

“Net zero for humanity, especially a quick one, is going to be devastating for the kingdom,” he said. “So they might remain somewhat obstructionist in global forums.”

 

Saudi Arabia plans to increase the mix of solar and wind energy in its local grid to 50% by 2030, Abdulaziz bin Salman said, reiterating a previous announcement. Natural gas will make up the rest.

That would require the government to stop burning hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil each day in its power stations. It would also need to improve on past efforts to increase renewable-energy production, which have met with little success.

The country is investing heavily in hydrogen, a fuel seen as crucial to the eventual shift away from oil and gas. Aramco plans to make blue hydrogen, which is done by converting gas and capturing the carbon emissions. Other companies including Air Products & Chemicals Inc. want to export green hydrogen, made from renewable energy, from the new city of Neom.

Saudi Arabia aims to make 29 million tons of blue and green hydrogen annually by 2030, the energy minister said.

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