Saudi Arabia will continue to use its vast oil reserves in an environmentally efficient way, Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman told an international audience of thought leaders on Thursday.
“I can assure you that Saudi Arabia will not only be the last producer, but Saudi Arabia will produce every molecule of hydrocarbon and it will put it to good use, and it will be done in a most environmentally sound and more sustainable way. I’m willing to say that by 2050, we’ll be the last and the biggest producer of hydrocarbon,” he said at a webinar organized by the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute.
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“I love challenges … We’ll live up to the challenge of sitting on a huge amount of hydrocarbon, and we’ll make better use of it,” he added.
“You should come and see all the young boys and girls of Saudi Arabia, how they aspire to these challenges and how they’re inspired by them. We’ll be the pacesetter.”
The prince was speaking on a panel with other energy leaders on the subject of “the new sustainable energy equation,” discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the concept of the circular carbon economy, which seeks to remove harmful pollutants from the environment via a mixture of recycling and removing pollutants, as well as sophisticated technology to remove emissions from the industrial process. “We’re trying to lead by example, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” he said.
The prince highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation and renewables that aim to generate half of the Kingdom’s electricity from non-hydrocarbon sources by 2030. “We have a leadership that values sustainability,” he said.
The event — the second in a series of online gatherings leading up to the FII forum in Riyadh in October — was opened by the governor of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, who emphasized the need for a sustainable recovery from the economic shock of the pandemic.
“The recovery from the pandemic will give us the opportunity to hit the reset button,” the governor said, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s initiatives via public-private partnerships in recycling, energy efficiency, alternative energy sources and environmental protection.
The keynote speaker of the event was British anthropologist Jane Goodall, who said the response by governments to the pandemic had been “pretty good.” She added: “If only we’d responded in the same way to the climate crisis.”