In a keynote speech at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser stressed his support for sustainability measures, and the need to make energy products cleaner, but called on governments to recognise the complexities of the energy market when enacted energy policies.
"Certainly, we support the growing contribution that alternatives are making to meet rising global energy demand," he said. "But many governments are adopting energy policies that do not appear to consider all the complex aspects of global energy; the long-term nature of our business; and the need for orderly transitions…"
He noted that some of these policies assumed "quick and easy answers" to the challenges facing alternatives to hydrocarbons, "assume rapid electrification of transport," and often "cost tens of trillions of dollars, with the burden often falling on those who can least afford it."
"The world can no longer afford such policy miscalculations," Nasser said. "We need a major awareness campaign to remind stakeholders and energy users why oil and gas are still so essential. And since oil and gas will be at the heart of the global energy mix for decades to come, we need regulators to be policy holistic and technology agnostic."
Nasser said that the industry is at the cutting edge of science, technology, engineering, and logistics, with a complex, global supply chain.
"Even when we have genuine breakthrough moments, they take time and massive investments to commercialize and roll-out across the global energy network," he added. "In addition, all energy transitions (including this one) take decades, with many challenges along the road."
He stressed some successes from Saudi Aramco, with its Master Gas System ending associated gas flaring, which he estimated has removed 100mn metric tons of CO2 equivalent every year since its establishment in the 1970s.
He revealed that Saudi Aramco's upstream carbon intensity is approximately 10kg of CO2 equivalent per barrel of oil equivalent, and its methane intensity in 2018 was 0.06%. Still, he admitted that these achievements would not be anough to meet society's demands for sustainability.
"The world faces an incredible climate challenge and we need a bold response to match," he said. "In my view, that means the entire industry must come together around a new mission beyond our gates of making oil and gas much cleaner across the full spectrum of end-use applications."