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Aramco chief calls for a reset of the energy transition strategy, not phasing out oil and gas

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said the current energy transition strategy is failing

Aramco chief calls for a reset of the energy transition strategy, not phasing out oil and gas
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

At COP28 in Dubai, over 100 countries lobbied to come to a deal in phasing out oil, gas, and coal use, or fossil fuels. The proposal called for “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade.” 

However, Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser said there needs to be a revised and more realistic pathway for the energy transition, including oil and gas. 

During a keynote speech at CERAWeek 2024 in Houston, Texas, Nasser explained that the current transition strategy is failing on most fronts, colliding with hard realities, including the need to reset global efforts to meet climate ambitions, the inability of alternatives to displace hydrocarbons at scale, the costs associated with alternatives, the energy requirements of the Global South, and the potential for further emissions reductions from hydrocarbons.

Nasser said alternative energy sources have been unable to displace hydrocarbons at scale, despite the world investing more than $9.5 trillion over the past two decades. Wind and solar currently supply less than 4% of the world’s energy, while total electric vehicle penetration is less than 3%, he said.

“We should abandon the fantasy of phasing out oil and gas and instead invest in them adequately, reflecting realistic demand assumptions. We should ramp up our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, aggressively improve efficiency, and introduce lower carbon solutions. And we should phase in new energy sources and technologies when they are genuinely ready, economically competitive, and with the right infrastructure.”

Nasser said the world should focus more on reducing emissions from oil and gas in addition to renewables. The CEO said efficiency improvements alone over the past 15 years have reduced global energy demand by almost 90 million barrels per day oil equivalent. Wind and solar, meanwhile, have substituted only 15 million barrels over the same period, he said.

“Global oil demand is expected to reach an all-time high in the second half of this year. Likewise, gas remains a mainstay of global energy, growing by almost 70% since the start of the century. All this strengthens the view that peak oil and gas is unlikely for some time.”

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

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