Aramco CEO in call for ‘ultra clean energy’

“We must continuously remind all our stakeholders that we are a global industry at the cutting edge of science, technology, engineering and logistics, supported by a complex global supply chain,” Nasser said. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Aramco CEO in call for ‘ultra clean energy’

  • Oil giant chief takes aim at climate change deniers during global oil industry gathering in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: There is no limit to the oil industry’s potential if it can meet society’s demand for “ultra clean” energy, Amin Nasser, the president and chief executive of Saudi Aramco, told delegates at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

“The world faces an incredible climate challenge and we need a bold response to match. In my view, that means the entire industry must come together around a new mission beyond our gates of making oil and gas much cleaner across the full spectrum of end-use applications,” Nasser said.

His comments were seen against the background of Aramco’s long term strategy to be regarded not just as a pumper of crude oil, but as a diversified high technology energy group with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. Nasser spoke recently of a “crisis of perception” in the oil industry.

“We must continuously remind all our stakeholders that we are a global industry at the cutting edge of science, technology, engineering and logistics, supported by a complex global supply chain,” Nasser said.

In an apparent swipe at climate-change deniers, he hit out at those who do not recognize the need for alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels to meet rising global energy demand. 

“Many governments are adopting policies that do not appear to consider all the complex aspects of global technology, the long term nature of our business, and the need for orderly transitions — policies that seem to assume there are quick and easy answers to the many challenges that alternatives face,” he said.

Nasser added that throughout Aramco’s history, it had a competitive edge in four key areas: Resource abundance, safe production, reliable supply and affordability. “But meeting society’s expectations requires a fifth. Quite simply, our products need to be much cleaner,” he said.

He added that the world was “at a turning point” in the search for cleaner forms of energy. “The good news is that we are not starting from scratch,” he said, highlighting Aramco’s halt to gas flaring, its low upstream carbon intensity, and low methane levels by industry standards.

He also underlined Aramco’s commitment to a range of technologies with transformative potential for the whole global oil industry, like advanced integrated engine fuel systems and carbon capture techniques.

“This is the latest turning point in our history, and we must, once again, lead the turn,” Nasser said.

 


Indonesia hails ‘historic’ $22.9bn mega-investment deal with UAE

Updated 17 January 2020

Indonesia hails ‘historic’ $22.9bn mega-investment deal with UAE

  • Leaders agree initial $6.8bn projects plan, including initiative to build a replica of Abu Dhabi grand mosque in Java

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s business community on Thursday welcomed the UAE’s pledge to pump tens of billions of dollars into a wide range of key sector projects.

President Joko Widodo and his entourage secured an overall $22.9 billion deal during an official two-day visit to Abu Dhabi earlier this week covering the fields of energy, logistics, port construction, mining, and agriculture.

It was also revealed that the delegation brokered a UAE commitment to assist in establishing an Indonesian sovereign wealth fund.

At a bilateral meeting, the Indonesian leader and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan witnessed the signing of 11 business accords between the two countries. Indonesia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said the UAE had committed to investing $6.8 billion out of the total agreed spending package into the initiatives.

Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s chief minister for maritime affairs and investment, described the UAE’s pledges as possibly being “the biggest deals in Indonesia’s history, secured with the UAE within only six months,” referring to the crown prince’s visit to Indonesia last July.

While most lauded the deal, some Indonesian business leaders remained cautious over the long-term prospects for the projects.

Fachry Thaib, head of the Middle East Committee and OIC at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce, said the schemes could trigger a wide-ranging domino effect through job creation and other business ventures.

“The government needs to have a strong lobbying team that can follow up these deals and push them into investment realizations. We have had such commitments from other Gulf countries, but there was no further lobbying and the pledges were hardly realized,” he told Arab News.

Zaini Alawi, a businessman who exports and imports between Indonesia and the Middle East, said: “It would set a good precedent to attract other Gulf countries to invest here if Indonesia shows it could aptly manage these investment deals.”

Director for Middle East affairs at Indonesia’s Foreign Ministry, Achmad Rizal Purnama, told Arab News that the $6.8 billion commitment from the UAE was only the first phase of a long-term program.

Widodo and the crown prince also witnessed the signing of five government cooperation agreements in health, agriculture, Islamic affairs, and counterterrorism.

Indonesian Minister of Religious Affairs Fachrul Razi said one of the main aspects of the cooperation agreement would be the promotion of religious moderation and raising awareness of the dangers of extremism.

FASTFACT

The UAE has pledged to assist in establishing an Indonesian sovereign wealth fund.

Noting that the UAE had pledged to fund the construction of a replica of the Abu Dhabi grand mosque in Solo, the president’s hometown in Java, the minister pointed out that the grant was part of a commitment by the two countries to establish a mosque that welcomed all people and served a pivotal role in promoting the middle path of Islam.

Riza Widyarsa, a Middle East expert at the University of Indonesia, told Arab News that the cooperation deal could help more Indonesians to understand that not all countries in the Middle East observed conservative Islam. “They are also very active in countering religious extremism and radicalism,” he said.

In addition to the multi-billion-dollar projects, Purnama said Indonesia had also secured the UAE’s commitment to assist in establishing an Indonesian sovereign wealth fund into which the UAE, the US International Development Finance Corporation, and Japan’s SoftBank would inject funding.

And according to Pandjaitan, the UAE had pledged to be “the biggest contributor” to the fund.

The fund would be used to finance Indonesia’s ambitious infrastructure development projects and the construction of its proposed new capital in East Kalimantan, a relocation that has been estimated to cost $33 billion and of which Indonesia could only afford 19 percent.

He said all parties involved would meet in Tokyo soon to set up the structure of the fund and to finalize the plan, which the government expected to launch by mid-2020, a year after the crown prince proposed the idea to Widodo.

“This could be the first time that big capitalists work together in a single project,” Pandjaitan added.