An International Message of Unity

Amin H. Nasser and Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani were among key Saudi Aramco corporate and senior leadership attending the forum in Riyadh. The day after the conclusion of the forum, Nasser welcomed delegates to Dhahran to see some of the many advances Saudi Aramco has made in carbon capture and environmental matters. Global energy leaders converged in Riyadh for the 6th ministerial meeting of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) last week and sent a clear message that collaboration and international unity will be key in meeting present and future climate challenges. Carbon sequestration is the process of the capture, utilization and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The process mitigates the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released through the burning of fossil fuels. For Saudi Arabia and Saudi Aramco, the four-day conference provided a timely opportunity to demonstrate the nation’s and the company’s level of engagement managing greenhouse gases (GHGs) ahead of next month’s COP21 climate conference in Paris. COP21, the United Nations’ 21st Conference of the Parties, has a goal of reaching an international climate agreement applicable to all countries and will see the participation of 196 states. Fossil Fuels Play Key Role At the conference, HE Ali I. Al-Naimi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, emphasized the importance of unity, collaboration, and innovation and technology in addressing the challenges presented by greenhouse gases. “The world’s natural resources have powered global economic growth for centuries,” he told delegates. “Incredible progress has been made around the world in everything from transport to education, health care to infrastructure — all thanks to the energy derived from fossil fuels. We hope, in the future, that developing nations can also gain the benefits from these resources. And we hope that technology and innovation can help us reduce any unwanted side effects. I believe that climate change is a challenge that can be overcome by human ingenuity, research, and technological advances. That said, all of us here today appreciate that the global energy mix is changing and evolving, and that’s a good thing. Renewable forms of energy, such as nuclear, solar, and wind are increasingly utilized. We believe all forms of energy will be required to help meet the needs of future generations.” Al-Naimi went on to underscore the “vital” global importance of the CSLF. “I believe all the nations represented on the CSLF, and many beyond, share a belief that carbon capture and storage is a critical part of the global quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this we stand united.” Carbon Capture A clear demonstration of this quest was provided by Khaled A. Al Buraik, vice president of Petroleum Engineering and Development at Saudi Aramco. Al Buraik showcased the groundbreaking CO2-EOR project at Saudi Aramco’s ‘Uthmaniyah facility. The project is regarded as a milestone for the Kingdom’s efforts in carbon management and is the largest of its kind in the Middle East. The CO2Capture project at location injects compressed CO2into flooded oil reservoirs as a mechanism for CO2storage, and the injection of CO2under high pressure simultaneously enhances oil recovery. For these reasons, carbon capture and storage is considered a win-win technological solution. Another of Saudi Aramco’s innovative approaches to carbon capture and storage was evidenced in its mobile carbon capture device for vehicles. Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani, acting business line head of Upstream for Saudi Aramco, said that the company had showcased a suite of initiatives designed to meet climate change challenges. “Everybody is coming together at a critical moment in the climate change dialog before COP21. We can build consensus around what really needs to be done — around greenhouse gases (GHGs) in general and CO2in particular — in terms of capture and making use of it once it is captured, and that would be a great thing. We at Saudi Aramco demonstrated in this forum several initiatives that make the use of hydrocarbons very efficient, including the capture of CO2, which is very beneficial to the environment and which can make economic sense, as well. We are showing a few cases, including an innovative mobile carbon capture approach achieving great results — up to 25% in its capture. In time, this concept will become more cost effective, much more compact, and we hope to see an increase of efficiency by up to 50%.” Success Realized “The first thing that I would say is that this is probably the most successful Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum for quite some cycles. U.S. Secretary of Energy Moniz chaired in Washington and, in my opinion, rejuvenated CSLF. Then to have HE Minister Al-Naimi host and as co-chairman the session this week brought it still to a higher level,” Worthington said. “If you look globally, Moniz and Al-Naimi are arguably the two most important energy ministers in the world. And for the two of them to be as a team co-chairing the CSLF ministerial meeting — to use a cliché — you cannot get much better than that. “I probably pay more attention to carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) than the majority of people in the energy business. And I personally was not aware of all of the things that Saudi Arabia was doing. It may sound relatively minor, but it’s actually quite remarkable to recognize that Saudi Aramco is the only entity in the world that has an automobile that can capture carbon dioxide on board (CO2). “I think we have to commend the Kingdom in that regard, of being forward-looking and recognizing that it takes many of these novel technologies, and by novel, I mean new and different, things that take 20 years from when you begin until you are ready and can be serious about deployment,” Worthington said.