Blue ammonia’s role in the energy transition of Saudi Arabia and Japan

Blue ammonia’s role in the energy transition of Saudi Arabia and Japan
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A blue ammonia carrier at Jubail terminal in Saudi Arabia. The renewable fuel is being touted as a new opportunity to meet climate change targets and power the future. (Aramco)
Blue ammonia’s role in the energy transition of Saudi Arabia and Japan
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Schematic of the blue ammonia supply chain demonstration. (Aramco)
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Updated 23 February 2021

Blue ammonia’s role in the energy transition of Saudi Arabia and Japan

Blue ammonia’s role in the energy transition of Saudi Arabia and Japan
  • Blue ammonia is critical to Japan’s ambitions to sustain both the environment and the economy

TOKYO: The world’s first shipment of blue ammonia was dispatched from Saudi Arabia to Japan on Sep. 27, 2020 for use in a power station for the production of zero-carbon power generation, paving the way for the further use of hydrogen in the energy system.

The Saudi-Japanese collaboration is part of a pilot project, conducted by the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ) and oil company Saudi Aramco in partnership with Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC).
The collaboration is important for both countries as Japan aims to be a world leader in the use of hydrogen, while Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, wants to diversify its energy mix with plans to emerge as a global force in clean power.
In the Paris climate deal, Japan pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent by 2030, from 2013 levels. It also plans to “lead the world in utilizing hydrogen” for clean energy production, which is contained in ammonia.
“Blue ammonia is critical to Japan’s zero carbon emission ambitions to sustain the balance between the environment and the economy. About 10 percent of power in Japan can be generated by 30 million tons of blue ammonia. We can start with co-firing blue ammonia in existing power stations, eventually transitioning to single firing with 100 percent blue ammonia,” IEEJ chairman and CEO Masakazu Toyoda said in a release.
In an earlier interview with Arab News Japan, Toyoda explained that Japan is currently heavily dependent on energy imports, which mostly consists of fossil fuels, specifically oil. This was exacerbated after the closure of Japan’s nuclear plans due to the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, which forced Japan to shift its energy mix and lead to an increase in the consumption of natural gas, oil, and renewable energy to replace the portion of the nuclear energy share.
The project is also important for Saudi Arabia to showcase its increased focus on sustainable energy as a cornerstone in building the solution to the current unsustainable energy model. The Kingdom has placed energy transitions, which include a gradual shift from fossil fuels toward hydrogen-based, low-carbon energy sources, at the heart of their development strategies with an aim to diversify their energy production.
The advantage ammonia has over fossil fuels is that it releases no carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted in a thermal power plant, and it is easier to transport, which means that it has “the potential to make a significant contribution to an affordable and reliable low-carbon energy future,” according to Saudi Aramco.
The production of 40 tons of blue ammonia by Saudi Aramco and SABIC leveraged existing infrastructure as the blue ammonia supply chain begins at the Saudi Aramco oil and gas production facilities, where hydrocarbons are processed into blue ammonia at Jubail, the largest industrial city in Saudi Arabia located in the Eastern province.
Mitsubishi Corporation, which is representing IEEJ’s study team, worked with SABIC to monitor the transport logistics in partnership with JGC Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. and UBE Industries.
In the case of the blue ammonia project, Saudi Aramco said in a statement that shipping challenges were overcome with 50 tons of carbon dioxide captured during the process, 30 tons of which was used in SABIC’s Ibn-Sina methanol plant. The remaining 20 tons were transported and injected into the Uthmaniyah oil field for Enhanced Oil Recovery.
Blue ammonia was then shipped to Japan to generate power at three production sites: A plant in Aioi where ammonia was co-fired with coal, a 2 megawatt (MW) plant in Yokohama, where the ammonia was co-fired with natural gas, and a 50 kilowatt (kW) micro gas turbine site in Koriyama.
“The shipment is considered the first around the world, and it represents a crucial opportunity for Aramco to introduce hydrocarbons as a reliable and affordable source of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia,” said Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, chief technology officer, Saudi Aramco, according to Saudi media.
Fahad Al-Sherehy, SABIC’s vice president of energy efficiency and carbon management, said: “At SABIC, we can economically leverage our existing infrastructure for hydrogen and ammonia production with CO2 capture. Our experience in the full supply chain along with integrated petrochemicals facilities will play an important role in providing the world with the blue ammonia.”
The Saudi-Japan blue ammonia supply network involved a full-value chain; including the conversion of hydrocarbons to hydrogen and then to ammonia, as well as the capture of associated carbon dioxide emissions.
As the urgency of climate change becomes more obvious and the energy matrix continues to evolve, ammonia is facilitating the creation of new energy economies, the Saudi-Japanese pilot project is one example through which ammonia can help supply the world’s increasing demand for energy by reliable and sustainable methods.


DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties
Updated 46 min 55 sec ago

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

DiplomaticQuarter: Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan discuss strengthening ties

RIYADH: Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Shahin Abdullayev recently held a meeting with the joint Saudi-Azerbaijani Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shoura Council in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of Dr. Faiz Al-Shehri, member of the Shoura Council and head of the committee, and examined various ways to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in various fields, especially at the level of parliamentary relations between the Shoura Council and the Azerbaijani parliament.
Abdullayev wished the council success in its new session and expressed his appreciation for the Kingdom’s policies to enhance security, peace and stability in the Gulf region and beyond.
Al-Shehri ran through the Shoura Council’s organizational structure, and highlighted the importance of the diplomatic role played by parliamentary friendship committees.
Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan celebrated the 25th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in February 2017.
The then-Azeri Ambassador in Riyadh Rasim Rzayev said at the time: “Azerbaijan and the Kingdom, two brotherly Muslim countries, have unique commonalities of a historical, religious and political nature.”
 


Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia
Updated 25 February 2021

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province governor receives Netherlands ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Naif met Janet Alberda, ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, in Dammam on Wednesday.
During the meeting, they discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and issues of common interest, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
Alberda highlighted the development that the Eastern Province has been witnessing, and wished further progress and prosperity for the Kingdom.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Honorary Consul to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Sulaiman Al-Suhaimi.
Also on Wednesday, Prince Saud received the regional director of Al Arabiya channel, Mohammed Al-Hekmi, accompanied by a number of employees.
Prince Saud praised the role of the media in highlighting the societal and development accomplishments of the Kingdom in general and the Eastern Province in particular.
The media played an influential role and was an important means of communication, he said.
Earlier, Prince Saud met the US consul general in Dhahran, Nicholle Manz-Baazaoui. Issues of common interest and ways to promote relationships between the two countries were discussed.
Prince Saud stressed the solid ties between the two countries and their common vision on various topics.
He also highlighted the two countries’ joint work toward achieving security and peace in the region and the world, as well as their economic and cultural cooperation.
 


Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank
Updated 25 February 2021

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Who’s Who: Tareq Al-Sadhan, CEO of Riyad Bank

Tareq Al-Sadhan has been president and CEO of Riyad Bank since April 2019. Before that, he served as the bank’s senior executive vice president from January 2018 to March 2019.
Al-Sadhan worked with KPMG Saudi Arabia, where he spent 18 years rising through the ranks to become one of the youngest partners in the firm’s history.
He was CEO/managing partner and chairman of the advisory committee during his last five years at the company.
Before his current position, Al-Sadhan worked in the Kingdom’s public sector in roles such as adviser to the chairman in the Saudi Fund for Development, acting director general at the General Authority for Zakat and Tax, and deputy governor for supervision at the Saudi Central Bank.
Al-Sadhan holds a bachelor’s degree in administration science from King Saud University, majoring in accounting (1997), and a master’s degree in business management from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, France (2007).
He gained a diploma in international business from the University of Edinburgh in 2006, and a diploma in leadership development and strategy from INSEAD in 2010.
Al-Sadhan is a member of the 2020 World Economic Forum’s Stewardship Board for the Middle East and North Africa, and a fellow of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants.
He has been an audit committee member at the Public Investment Fund since March 2019, and an advisory board member at Mastercard since March 2018.


Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK
Updated 25 February 2021

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK

Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman discusses defense relations with UK
  • Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman held a phone call with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between both countries. 

“Had a good call with the United Kingdom Defense Secretary Ben Wallace to discuss defense relations between our two friendly countries, and our common interests in achieving regional and international stability,” Prince Khalid tweeted Wednesday.

In an interview last year with Al Arabiya, Wallace said the UK’s relations with Saudi Arabia are not restricted to selling weapons, but a strong defense partnership.


KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti
Updated 25 February 2021

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

KSrelief launches medical campaign in Djibouti

DJIBOUTI: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) has launched a voluntary medical campaign for specialized surgeries in Djibouti.

The center’s medical team has to date performed 41 urinary tract operations on children in the east African country and provided the necessary treatment for 60 other cases.

The health initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s relief and humanitarian efforts, through the center, to help crisis-hit countries and the suffering of people around the world.