Top oil firm boss warns not to ‘demonise’ industry despite global push to hit climate targets

The head of the world’s largest oil firm has rejected suggestions that oil will be fully phased out and said that it would be a mistake to “demonise” the hydrocarbon industry.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, insisted oil has a future, despite a global shift towards cleaner, renewable energy.

“Oil and gas will continue to be a part of the energy mix for decades,” he predicted. “That doesn’t mean they will be the same, they will be cleaner, technologies will help to reduce emissions significantly.

“We need a holistic policy that takes into consideration energy, reliability, affordability, and energy security, so that we can avoid a global economic crisis due to lack of supplies.

“This is going to continue for decades. Hydrocarbon will be part of the energy mix for decades to come.”

FILE PHOTO: General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. Picture taken May 21, 2018. To match Special Report CLIMATE-CHANGE/SCIENTISTS-DUARTE REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah/File Photo
Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal

The state-owned Saudi Aramco is the world’s third most valuable company, only behind the US tech firms Apple and Microsoft. It is also considered by some measures to be the biggest polluting company on the planet.

In a bold attempt to reverse the company’s reputation for contributing to the climate emergency, Mr Nasser has announced an ambition for Aramco to become carbon-neutral within three decades.

More on Saudi Arabia

“Saudi Aramco will achieve the ambition of being net-zero from our operations by 2050,” Mr Nasser told the inaugural Saudi Green Initiative summit over the weekend, hours after the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Gulf Arab state would achieve net-zero by 2060.

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Earlier this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the world’s main energy organisation, released a “Net Zero by 2050” report warning investors against funding new oil, gas, and coal supply projects beyond 2021.

Ahead of COP26, which starts later this month, the IEA said investment in renewable energy needs to triple by the end of the decade if the world hopes to effectively fight climate change and keep volatile energy markets under control.

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