RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is transforming into a leading exporter of diverse energy types, shifting away from its traditional role as an oil exporter, according to a senior minister.
Speaking at the Future Minerals Forum, Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman emphasized the Kingdom’s commitment to accelerating domestic efforts in reducing fossil fuel consumption as part of its broader strategy to lead the energy transition.
The minister highlighted the Kingdom’s holistic approach, addressing both domestic and global aspects. Currently, Saudi Arabia is saving 1 million barrels of oil consumption within its borders, with a broader objective to ensure responsible utilization of its global exports.
“We are no longer being called a leading oil country or oil-producing country. Our tag now is that we would like to be an energy-producing country of all sorts of energy, so our task is to prove it and we shall,” he said.
Prince Abdulaziz illustrated the Kingdom’s energy transition initiatives, citing developments from 2019 to the COP28 negotiations. These efforts encompass renewable energy, green hydrogen production, and carbon capture technologies, positioning Saudi Arabia as a leading exporter of diverse energy types on a global scale.
The minister added, “Accelerating away from fossil fuels, in our case as Saudi Arabia domestically, we are doing that; we are saving a million barrels. The difference is, we will not stop producing that million, but we will export it in a way that will also be used in a proper manner, so it is a holistic thing.”
As key steps in this direction, he cited the Public Investment Fund’s launch of its voluntary carbon market and the Kingdom’s greenhouse gas crediting and offset mechanism initiated during the Middle East and North Africa climate week in Riyadh.
Prince Abdulaziz noted that it is a pilot program, which will continue to be developed over the next few years to ensure alignment with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change regulations, with hopes that it can grow into a regional market.
To catalyze global emission reduction efforts, the minister highlighted that during the Future Investment Initiative forum of 2023, the Kingdom called on all major oil-producing countries to establish a framework for the “freeze” of fossil fuel production and a detailed program on how they will be phased down in January 2024.
He also noted that the UAE and Saudi Arabia utilized the UN Climate Change Conference, COP28, platform to showcase their efforts in the energy transition sphere and the phase-out of fossil fuels.
Prince Abdulaziz stated that he owes it to their friends in the UAE, acknowledging their year-long efforts, facing accusations and questioning the hosting of COP28 as an oil-producing country and OPEC+ member.
“The challenge was high, and we took it upon ourselves too. It delivered us an opportunity to deliver what we are really doing, especially us and the UAE, to show that we are extremely energy responsible,” he added.