The Saudi Arabia National Committee aims to promote sustainable energy development in Saudi Arabia, as a part of the World Energy Council’s energy vision. As a member of the World Energy Council network, the organisation is committed to representing the Saudi perspective within national, regional and global energy debates. The committee includes a variety of members to ensure that the diverse energy interests of Saudi Arabia are appropriately represented. Members of the committee are invited to attend high-level events, participate in energy-focused study groups, contribute to technical research and be a part of the global energy dialogue.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman al-Saud was appointed Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia in September 2019, the first royal to hold the position in the world’s biggest oil exporting nation. The fourth son of King Salman, Prince Abdulaziz began his career at the ministry of oil in 1987. He served as assistant oil minister from 2005 until 2017, when he was named state minister for energy affairs. The Saudi minister has extensive knowledge of the oil and gas industry and he has put his experience and diplomatic skills to good use in shaping OPEC policy. Prince Abdulaziz has a bachelor's degree in Industrial Management from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and a master's degree in Business Administration from the same university. Since joining the ministry, he has held positions on the boards of several Saudi and international organisations.
He is a member of the founding committee of the International Energy Forum; chair of the board of the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy; chair of WERA (Water and Electricity Regulatory Authority); chair of the board of directors of the Saudi Energy Efficiency Centre; a member of the board of governors of the Oxford Institute of Energy Studies in the UK and a member of the advisory council of the International Association for Energy Economics in the US. He is current Chairman of the Saudi Arabian National Committee of the World Energy Council.
Energy in Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is blessed with natural endowments including hydrocarbon resources. Diversification of the economy through the utilization of all resources by tapping into available and potential cleaner technologies is one of the Kingdom’s primary objectives in its Vision 2030. The Saudi Vision 2030 guides the nation’s sustainable development strategies based on three pillars – a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.
In the energy sector, Saudi Arabia is leading the energy transition by adopting the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) framework, which provides a holistic approach to managing emissions while continuing the economic development of the country. The G20, under Saudi Arabian presidency, highlighted the CCE framework, which addresses climate change through the “4Rs”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Remove emissions from the atmosphere.
Recently, Saudi Arabia adopted significant changes within its energy eco-system, including governance, standards, and laws focusing on energy efficiency. Currently, the utility sector is being restructured to encourage privatization and international investment. The Kingdom ensures stakeholder engagement in all major energy issues as the customer-centricity and demand-side innovation is well reflected in the development and implementation of major energy initiatives. Moreover, the Hydrocarbon Sustainability Program focuses on finding new and innovative uses for hydrocarbon resources in an economic and environmentally sustainable way.
Under this framework the country is displacing liquid from its energy mix for power and optimizing it by relying on 50% gas and 50% on renewables by 2030. Moreover, the country aims to spearhead the effort in deploying Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) and hydrogen to bring costs down significantly, which will enable global deployment of this technology. Saudi aims to be a leader in CCUS and a major exporter of clean energy especially hydrogen. This balanced approach of advancing energy transition and technology integration through inclusive investment, including renewables and energy efficiency, and cleaner fuels and hydrocarbon technologies considers climate change mitigation, and adaptation co-benefits as outlined in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Saudi Arabia under the Paris agreement, while maximizing the economic value of its energy resources.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia plays a pivotal role in the security and stability of the global energy market. It is committed to the stability of energy market and focusing on energy supply security and safety. Saudi Arabian reaction to supply disruptions was tested during the 2019 Abqaiq–Khurais attack. The Kingdom avoided global supply interruptions bringing back production levels of the world’s largest oil processing facility in less than three weeks. Terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia emphasized the extreme importance of energy security, reflecting a strong international support on the country's supreme authority and right to a peaceful environment. While Saudi continues to steadily invest in its energy sector, the slump in investment in the sector globally during the 2020 crisis raises concerns for producers and consumers, about the timely availability of future energy supplies to meet global demand.
In addition, the country continues its significant investment in digitalisation and supporting relevant R&D initiatives; however, like other countries, concerns about cyber security risks are high.
The Saudi Issues Monitor Map 2021 echoes the energy sector leaders’ interests and views on economic trends, modern technology, social welfare, and sustainable energy resources. The energy leaders’ perception on the Kingdom’s energy resilience and preparedness to natural hazards, extreme weather events, pandemics, malicious risks, and demand-side structural changes and disruptions is confident. This reflects the optimism of the country that has not suffered from a second wave of the COVID-19. Nevertheless, the pandemic’s effects led to reservations about economic trends that emerged as one of the critical uncertainties sphere in the country’s map.