Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman underlined the need to commit to a stable and less volatile oil market, which will help the global economy to grow and prosper. Addressing the 7th Future Investment Initiative (FII7) forum in Riyadh on Tuesday, he said that the volume of oil trade amounts to $2 trillion.
The Saudi minister reaffirmed the continuation of oil and gas in the global energy mix over the coming years, while highlighting that there were some major oil company deals that confirmed that hydrocarbons are here to stay.
Prince Abdulaziz said that the Kingdom has a record that must be highlighted, and that it does not seek to achieve an energy transition only, but rather aspires to be a role model in how a carbon economy based on hydrocarbons can be built for many years to come.
The minister highlighted the importance of working to improve achievements when it comes to the triple dilemma that everyone aspires to address, which centers on energy security and the reasonableness of its cost in terms of growth and economic prosperity, while the third element is sustainability, one of which is related to climate change.
Prince Abdulaziz said that Saudi Arabia supports the new outlook on the circular carbon economy. “Since the idea was presented at the Future Investment Initiative forum in 2019 about the circular carbon economy, and since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative in 2021, it can be said that if we want to convince the world, then there will be a different way of doing the thing, and hence we must implement it.”
The minister stressed that everyone is looking forward to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28). “We are working with our friends from the UAE to ensure that we do our best, and they do their best to ensure that COP 28 will be a successful conference. I have to remind people that there were three conferences held in the Middle East region, which started in Marrakesh, and then in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt last year, and this year in Dubai,” he said while pointing out that this indicates a lot regarding the extent of the region’s commitment to the issue of dealing with the climate change.
“I must remind and inform our friends of what we did two weeks ago, when we hosted Climate Week in the Middle East and North Africa, and we can share the numbers we achieved. We had 9,000 participants, and the activities exceeded 145 different activities and I believe that there is nothing that can be discussed unless it is discussed during the week, and this was helpful for our friends from the UAE to take people’s opinions and expectations in order to prepare for the COP 28.”
Regarding the issue of climate in the world, Prince Abdulaziz said: “The issue of climate change is led by two parties on opposite sides, namely the environmental fanatics on the one hand, and the hardline climate change deniers on the other hand and we feel that the dialogue will be hostile between the two extremes, but we must take that into account. I believe that it is time to avoid some of these points, and we want to avoid being convinced to do the right thing after missing the opportunity when the energy crisis occurs, or when economic growth decreases, or when we collapse in an arrogant way, in which we do not accept the idea that there are hundreds of millions of people suffering from energy poverty.”
The minister noted that around 2.2 million people do not have a clean source for cooking, and the number of deaths and diseases exceeds anyone’s imagination. “We live in a world of which a large part is still freezing, or perhaps an individual gets rid of things that are important to him in order to live, and burns the things he owns to avoid the frost, in order to lead his life with subsistence to feed himself, and as such the issue must be dealt with in a descending manner from top to bottom.”
Prince Abdulaziz asked the forum who has the ability to gradually exit traditional energy, saying: “Whoever has the ability, we will give him the opportunity to explain how he is able to do that, and to those who preach, we say good luck to them, so that you will be the first to do it, and then we will find that none of them do so. We hope that there will be some consideration and feeling that can be shown in COP 28, otherwise we will return again to the same old issue that we talked about in Sharm El-Sheikh, and in all the conferences of the parties, which is an attempt to evade responsibility without justice or honesty and sincerity.”