Saudi Arabia plans to export gas and petrochemicals soon

Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman

Saudi Gazette report

Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest crude exporter, plans to add gas and petrochemicals to its slate of exports and will soon make a major announcement on the topic, the Kingdom’s energy minister said on Sunday.

"Soon you will hear about the ability of the Kingdom to be a gas exporter and a petrochemical exporter," Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said in a televised speech at the inauguration of SABIC 2020 Conference in Jubail Al-Sinaia (Industrial City).

The circular carbon economy is a system where carbon emissions are reduced, reused, recycled and removed (4R). Such a closed-loop system, inspired by how nature works, may help restore the balance of the carbon cycle.

Prince Abdulaziz added that the main objective for setting up the Ministry of Energy is to expand in developing the sources of energy and create an integrated system from these sources. In turn, these would provide the Kingdom with all its energy needs in the best manner to enable economic transformation within the sphere of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

He said a national program would be announced in a couple of months according to an established road map. It is related to the circular carbon economy in which several authorities will participate including Saudi Aramco and SABIC.

He said that the Kingdom aspires to make an ideal exploitation of hydrocarbons. These include using conventional and nonconventional resources from petroleum and gas, which will create a qualitative change in the field of energy and the national economy in general.

Saudi Arabia has been ramping up exploration for gas to help feed an expanding industrial base and to replace crude with gas in power generation. The Kingdom plans to produce 70% of its power from gas and 30% from renewable energy, the minister has previously stated. Currently the country burns mostly oil to produce power.

Last March, former Saudi oil minister Khalid Al-Falih announced the discovery of large amounts of gas in the Red Sea, without specifying the amount found.

Saudi Aramco, the state-run energy giant that is the world's biggest oil producing company, had output of 8.9 billion standard cubic feet/day of natural gas and 1 Bscf/d of ethane in 2018. Its gas reserves at the end of 2018 stood at 233.8 Tscf.

At the SABIC conference, the minister said the objective for widening the scope of the ministry’s work is to enable the Kingdom to become a pioneer in all sources of energy needed by the local and global economy in the future.

He added: “The ideal energy mix in the Kingdom necessitates introducing a big percentage of renewable energy in it. If we compare this with the existing focus on raising the percentage of local content, it will catalyze the sector toward more innovations and plastic uses from renewable energy components.”

Prince Abdulaziz stressed that this is important so as to succeed globally in facing the climate change challenges, waste management and many other challenges. These will make the Kingdom more comfortable to the global trends in terms of the concepts of environment, climate change and sustainable development.