By Eamonn Houston

Long-term energy security and ‘high quality’ development critical issues at the China Development Forum.

Aramco Underscores Commitment to China
Speaking in-person at the China Development Forum for the first time in four years, Amin Nasser explained why Aramco has increased collaboration with China on issues of energy and the introduction of new lower carbon products, chemicals, and advanced materials.

China’s long-term energy security and “high quality” development are among Aramco’s top priorities, president and CEO Amin Nasser has affirmed.

Nasser was speaking in Beijing at the China Development Forum (CDF) in-person for the first time in four years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The theme of this year’s forum was “Economic Recovery: Opportunities and Cooperation.”

In a wide ranging address, he spoke of the alignment in thinking between the company and Chinese president HE Xi Jinping on the energy transition.

Nasser welcomed what he described as the president’s “pragmatic thoughts” in the face of the challenges of ongoing conflict in Europe, global economic headwinds, and an energy crisis.

“We agree with his (President Xi’s) view that conventional energy sources and alternatives will have to work in parallel for decades to come,” said Nasser. “We also agree that China cannot achieve its climate change mitigation goals at the expense of energy security. And his principle of ‘building the new before discarding the old’ really struck a chord with us.”

Major Strategies

Nasser went on to detail three major Aramco strategies to support China’s energy and development priorities.

“First, expanding our oil production capacity by a million barrels per day to 13 million barrels by 2027 will strengthen China’s long-term energy security. So will increasing our gas production by more than 50% by 2030, which should release an additional million barrels of oil per day for export.

“Second, we are determined to further reduce the already low carbon intensity of our oil production, as well as our methane intensity. We are also working on solutions like advanced carbon capture and storage, and circular carbon economy technologies. Furthermore, we recently launched a one-and-a-half billion dollar venture capital sustainability fund to invest in advanced technologies that will help all of us move closer to a net zero emissions future.”

Nasser pointed to China’s venture capital space, a space he said that, “Offers important investment opportunities to stimulate the technology development and innovation required.”

The development of more efficient and lower emission engines and hybrid systems would also contribute to China meeting its emissions reduction goals.

“Third, we are steadily adding lower carbon energy to our portfolio, especially blue hydrogen and blue ammonia, electro fuels, and renewables. And, we are evaluating entry into liquified natural gas as well.”

Nasser also flagged up the “critical issue” of the materials transition, noting that reducing emissions from hard-to-abate sectors like steel and aluminum, cement, and concrete, is essential to China’s high quality development.

An All-inclusive Source of Energy

“We are partnering with Baosteel to produce steel plates in Saudi Arabia with a lower carbon footprint. In fact, this is a great example of the multiple and highly attractive opportunities for Chinese companies in the Kingdom in a variety of energy and non-energy areas.”

Aramco has also launched a new center of excellence for nonmetallic technologies called NEXCEL in Beijing.

“In other words, we want to be an all-inclusive source of energy and chemicals for China’s long-term energy security and China’s high quality development,” Nasser told the forum.

“That is why we are doubling down on China’s energy supply, including new lower-carbon products, chemicals, and advanced materials, all supported by emissions reduction technologies.”

— Amin Nasser

Nasser shared Aramco’s vision of a “win-win” opportunity to build a world leading, integrated downstream sector in China, with special emphasis on the high conversion of liquids directly into chemicals as part of a broader liquids to chemicals business expansion plans.

“Aramco’s view of the energy future, and the most realistic path to get there, closely aligns with China’s. And, like China, we think in decades, not quarters. That is why your long-term energy security and your high quality development are among our highest priorities, to the horizon and even beyond,” Nasser concluded.

The CDF heard from some of China’s top officials of a drive toward innovation-driven development to accelerate the modernization of the nations’ industrial base.

A focus will also be placed on the digital economy.

— The Arabian Sun: March 28, 2023