CEO Amin Nasser speaking at IPTC 2019 in Beijing, China
Addressing the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) in Beijing on March 26-28, Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser said that despite the energy industry facing a “crisis of perception”, it is undergoing major transformation thanks to technological breakthroughs which help energy companies meet growing energy demand more efficiently.
Nasser said these misperceptions - which relate mainly to the impact of electric vehicles and carbon emissions - challenge our ability to transition to a secure and sustainable energy future. He said: “We need to help [people] realize that oil and gas will remain vital to world energy for decades to come. We need to reassure them with our own long-term investments that the safety belt we have always provided is one they can continue to rely on.”
Nasser said Saudi Aramco is, nonetheless, determined to use technology to reduce environmental impact. He noted that Saudi Aramco is investing in its international gas business, reducing methane emissions via a zero-flaring program, developing efficient engines and fuels, pushing the boundaries of Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS), and shortening the conventional value chain by turning more crude oil directly into chemicals. As shown in a recent international study, technology has already helped Saudi Aramco to produce oil and gas with one of the lowest upstream carbon footprints in the industry.
Saudi Aramco is also harnessing the power of “Fourth Industrial Revolution” (IR 4.0) technologies. Through the power of big data, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, automation, and 3D visualization, the company is able to explore, produce, and manage its assets more safely, accurately, and cheaply than ever before. Indeed, the World Economic Forum recently recognized Uthmaniyah Gas Plant in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as one of its IR 4.0 “lighthouses”. The plant is a leader in the use of advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to slash inspection time, optimize costs, and increase safety.
Reflecting on the international energy landscape, Nasser pointed out that oil and gas trade flows are growing along the “Belt and Road” route spreading westwards from China. He explained: “We are building an energy bridge between Saudi Arabia and China that not only meets China’s growing needs for energy, but also the petrochemical products required for most industrial processes.” He added: “The true strength of the bridge is fast moving capital flows, dynamic energy partnerships, and strategic relationships built on mutual trust and shared vision”.
Referring to next year’s edition of IPTC, Nasser said “Saudi Aramco is proud to be the host of IPTC 2020 in less than a year, and we look forward to welcoming the global energy community to Saudi Arabia. As the heart of the global energy sector and a gateway to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Saudi Arabia is a prime regional center with ample and lucrative investment opportunities.”
CEO Amin Nasser attends the China Development Forum (CDF)
While in Beijing, CEO Amin Nasser attended the China Development Forum (CDF), an annual business gathering for China’s senior leadership and representatives from global leading businesses, international organizations, and scholars from China and around the world.
In remarks he delivered at the CDF, Nasser said that since the Forum first met 20 years ago, China’s expanded role in the global economy has been of “great benefit” to the world. He said: “China is at another milestone moment with the Belt and Road Initiative. Clearly, having adequate, reliable, affordable and clean energy will be critical to the continued development of China and the broader global economy. I believe that a pragmatic mix of cleaner oil and gas and the new and evolving energy sources will help achieve both of China’s cleaner energy and economic goals.” He added: “Saudi Aramco is ready to play a leading role as part of this strategic effort and make more investments, including in energy-related infrastructure, to ensure China – as well as all the Belt and Road partner countries – have access to reliable long-term energy supplies.”
During the CDF, Nasser met with China’s Premier and Vice Premier who welcomed Saudi Aramco’s investments in an integrated downstream JV in Panjin City in Liaoning province. At the same time, China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, commended Saudi Aramco’s commitment to follow up on the project after the signing of the agreement in February during the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince to China.
During HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s visit to China last February, Saudi Aramco signed several business agreements with Chinese energy entities, including:
- An agreement to form a joint venture with NORINCO Group and Panjin Sincen to develop a fully integrated refining and petrochemical complex, located in the city of Panjin in the Liaoning province of China.
- Two agreements to acquire a 9% stake in Zhejiang Petrochemical’s 800,000 barrels per day integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, located in the city of Zhoushan.