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Aramco's Nasser urges bold action on emissions

Aramco boss emphasis the need for industry to respond boldly to the challenge of climate change

Saudi Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser has emphasised the need for the oil and gas industry to respond boldly to the challenge of climate change by driving down its own emissions as much as possible.

However, the head of the Saudi Arabian state oil company also argued against suggestions that there will be a rapid transition away from oil and gas, saying that it will remain at the heart of the global energy mix for decades to come.

Nasser, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, argued that the “entire industry must come together to make oil and gas much cleaner across the full spectrum and make it their urgent priority."

“It (plans for cleaner energy) needs to be comprehensive and efforts by the oil and gas industry should articulate clearly a carbon management long-term strategy,” he said.

Nasser said Saudi Aramco is taking a number of steps towards reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions, but added that a lot more needs to be done to achieve a cleaner energy future.

He highlighted Saudi Arabia’s master gas system, which has been significantly expanded in recent years. The system has managed to end gas flaring and thus eliminated 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in emissions every year, he said.

“Our carbon intensity in Saudi Aramco is one of the lowest in the world at about 10 kilograms of CO2 equivalent per barrel of oil produced,” he added.

Nasser said the kingdom’s methane intensity last year was 0.06%, which is also among the lowest in the world.

Saudi Aramco is working on a range of technologies to bring in greater efficiencies and lower emissions, he said.

“We aim to be the world leaders in CCUS (carbon capture, utilisation and storage), turning a waste product like CO2 into something very valuable,” he said.

Nasser said that, while Aramco supports the growing contribution that alternative forms of energy are making to help meet rising demand, he believes that a broader energy transition could take much longer than many expect.

“All energy transitions, including this one, take decades and will involve many challenges,” he said.

The Aramco chief executive said the world needs a “major awareness that oil and gas is still essential and will be at the heart of the global energy mix for decades to come".

Nasser raised concerns about energy policies by governments around the world that do not consider the complexity and the long-term nature of the global energy industry and the need for an orderly transition.

He added that many governments are adopting policies favoring rapid transition that “seem to assume there are quick and easy answers to the many challenges that alternatives pose".

“The world can no longer afford policy miscalculations…as it could lead to supply shortfalls,” Nasser cautioned.

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