Aramco deepens focus on climate actions, CEO tells B20 summit
Through a year of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic slowdown, Aramco has remained committed to producing more energy with less carbon emissions. This was the message from Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser at the B20 Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Oct. 26-27.
In a panel discussion on the topic of “Reinvigorating the Battle to Save the Planet,” Nasser said that Aramco is working across its value chain to help the energy industry reduce carbon emissions, build up a climate friendly circular economy in the Kingdom, and to provide sustainable energy supplies that will improve economic opportunities and the quality of life for generations to come.
To reduce emissions at a faster pace, the focus shouldn’t only be on new energy sources and technologies. That is of course desirable, but let’s also focus on lowering the carbon footprint of existing energy sources because they are a significant part of the global energy system, and will be for decades. Amin Nasser
saving the planet
“COVID-19 is the biggest global shock to the global economy since World War II,” Nasser said. “The economic impact has been very tough on young people, women, and people in developing countries.
“The response by many governments around the world has been equally quick, with economic stimulus and financial support,” Nasser added. “This support also involves actions or investments to build a cleaner and more sustainable future.”
The goal of producing energy to meet global demands does not have to work against the shared responsibility of reducing carbon emissions, which are a contributing factor in climate change, Nasser said.
“To reduce emissions at a faster pace, the focus shouldn’t only be on new energy sources and technologies. That is of course desirable, but let’s also focus on lowering the carbon footprint of existing energy sources because they are a significant part of the global energy system, and will be for decades,” Nasser said.
Aramco is focusing on several areas to create a sustainable energy future:
- Making oil cleaner, starting with one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world, and then working on advanced engine fuel systems of the future that will emit a lot less carbon for every mile driven
- Promoting the “noncombustible” uses of oil, such as turning it into chemicals and materials, which emit a lot less carbon than oil’s used as fuels
- In addition to cleaner “refinery-based materials,” we are working on “chemical-type” fuels from oil, such as hydrogen and ammonia
- Increasing our gas supplies and participation in renewable projects in the Kingdom.
Doing our part in all parts of our operations is not only good for our bottom line and for our customers, it also is good for the planet, Nasser said.
“In the energy sector, the investments should be broad-based and balanced. More attention is focused on new energy, climate-related projects, and the circular economy, but existing energy sources should also be included because they will be part of the global energy mix for decades. That is how you grow real green resilience, sustainable communities, and jobs,” the CEO added.
technology as a driving force
Technology and digitalization are key tools in helping the company not only to remain a competitive source of energy to the world, but also to reach its goal of creating a more climate friendly world, Nasser added.
“Even before COVID-19, digitalization and new technologies were becoming common practice in the workplace,” Nasser noted. “COVID-19 has only accelerated the transformation.”
“Through big data, analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI), we are improving seismic processing, oil recovery, well productivity, and lowering costs,” Nasser said. “Our investment in smart technologies has made it possible for our upstream oil carbon intensity to be among the lowest in the world. Our goal is to become the world’s most digital energy company. And continued investments are critical to getting us there and our strategic goal is to produce more energy with less carbon.”
The CEO shared a few examples of how Aramco is applying digitalization and other technologies like AI, including:
Developing a greenhouse gas emissions analytical solution that monitors emissions from over 2,000 sources across our operating facilities.
Using unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with advanced optical gas imaging cameras to further minimize emission leakages.
Developing a homegrown algorithm to predict and minimize the need for gas flaring, which is a source of emissions. Through it and other flare minimization initiatives, we have managed to reduce flared gas, which was already small, by around 60%.
“Looking more broadly outside Aramco, similar technologies could help in making a real difference to reduce or eliminate emissions,” he said.
B20 voice of business
Other members of the panel included Adam Sieminski, president of the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies Advanced Research Center in Riyadh; Patrick Pouyanné, CEO of Total; and Emma Marcegaglia, former CEO of ENI and Designated Chair of B20 Italy. The moderator for the panel discussion was Manar Al Moneef, president and CEO of Onshore Wind Business, GE Renewable Energy, UAE.
The B20 is the voice of business to the G20, also known as the Group of 20, an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union. At G20 conferences, global leaders gather to address common challenges and to build consensus and commitment for solving those challenges. In addition to the B20, Aramco organizations participated in the Women 20 (W20) Summit, which works to foster gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.