Saudi Arabia Is Doubling Down On Oil Production

The world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, believes there will still be a market for its crude decades from now and plans to boost its production capacity while some other oil companies are limiting investments in oil in the energy transition, Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman, told TIME in an interview published on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia’s oil giant Aramco targets to increase its oil production capacity to 13 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2027 from 12 million bpd now. It also aims to boost natural gas production to use more gas for domestic electricity production at the expense of dirtier fuels, including the burning of oil.

“We are targeting our production capacity to become 13.4, 13.5 million barrels a day by 2027,” the energy minister told TIME’s Vivienne Walt.

“We believe oil consumption will continue to grow. The demand for oil will continue growing. At what level, I do not know, because the jury is out. Anyone who tells you that they have a good grasp of where and when and how much is certainly living in a fantasy land,” Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said.

According to the top oilman in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom can reconcile its net-zero by 2060 ambition with the planned increase in its oil production capacity. Saudi Arabia shouldn’t limit itself to just one source of energy while all sorts of energy are in demand, he added.  

“We like the transition. If I can sell you the oil or gas that we have, and the carbon emissions will be handled, why should you confine yourself to a choice or two? You should keep your choices open, so that you mitigate the concerning issue, which is carbon emissions,” the minister said.

Commenting on his now signature comment that the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) net-zero scenario is a sequel to La La Land, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman told TIME:

“It was a good movie, a fun movie. But it’s something you watch for two hours and move on. You go back to reality.”