Saudi Arabia said that proven reserves alone are conservatively estimated to continue for approximately 80 years, especially in light of evolving exploration and production technologies.
Saudi Arabia stressed that non-renewables would remain the world’s energy work-horse for many decades to come, and that while the days of easy oil may be over, its days as a primary fuel source are far from over.
Saudi Arabia is now occupied with investments in solar energy in the hope that it will become a major resource, as is the case with oil, according to Al-Nuaimi.
The minister added that much was at stake in the energy debate, with issues ranging from security of supply and future demand to environmental sustainability and energy for emerging markets, against a backdrop complicated by tough economic conditions, price volatility, and evolving energy policies.
Speaking in a conference on ‘Energy, the Environment and Development: The Ultimate Human Agenda’ organized by the Energy Pact Foundation in Geneva, Al-Nuaimi said that the next factor driving the urgency of the energy debate is environmental sustainability, and the need to make all energy sources safer, cleaner and greener.
Al-Nuaimi made his remarks in the context of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s petroleum policy, basing his argument on what he described as ‘dwindling fossil fuel resources.’ He said that Saudi Arabia was the world’s leading petroleum country in terms of reserves, production and exports. The Kingdom is home to one quarter of the world’s petroleum reserves; these are the planet’s largest proven conventional resources. It also holds the world’s fourth-largest natural gas reserves.
Al-Nuaimi also spoke about the world’s total liquid energy resources, encompassing not only conventional oil (which is estimated at between six to eight trillion barrels), but also non-conventional liquids, ranging from condensates and natural gas liquids to tar sands, oil shales and extra-heavy oil (estimated at seven or eight trillion barrels).
He stressed that these figures indicate that while the days of easy oil may be over, the days of oil as a primary fuel source are far from over.
At present, fossil fuels meet more than 80% of the world’s energy requirements. Energy demand has been moderated by the economic downturn, but this dampening is broad-based, and in step with the economic slowdown.
Many authoritative energy-tracking organisations predict that fossil fuels will continue to meet four-fifths of the world’s energy requirements for at least the next few decades. In addition, transportation will continue to depend largely on oil for at least four decades.
Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, Saudi Aramco, is focusing research and development campaigns on technologies that help find and recover more oil in an environmentally sustainable, cost effective manner.
These include technologies such as Extreme Reservoir Contact wells that optimise recovery; giga-cell reservoir models, which increase our understanding of reservoir behaviour over time; and the I-field concept, facilitating quick data transmission to inform production and reservoir management decisions.
The company is also looking ahead, with the industry award-winning ‘resbot’ concept, which deploys nano-scale reservoir robots into oil-reservoir rock to analyse and store vital mapping information.
Saudi Arabia is currently investing in another natural, renewable resource plentiful in its part of the world -sunlight. The minister stated that the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust) the Kingdom’s new research university set to open this autumn, was conceived as a global partnership to develop solutions for energy and the environmental sectors.
Although the university will officially open in September, Kaust is conducting solar energy studies worldwide through a number of research centres that it funded while the physical campus was under construction. Many of the activities of these centres will relocate from their countries of origin to Kaust’s Red Sea campus when the university officially opens its doors.
The Kingdom, already world’s largest oil exporter, also hopes to be the world’s biggest solar provider someday, in a diversification strategy that was planned decades ago. The position of Saudi Arabia, he noted, is that all energy sources will have a role to play in meeting future demand as the world’s population, and its energy use, balloon.
Thursday, April 2- 2009 @ 12:03 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.