Saudi Arabia will be a “model” for the energy transition at the COP27 climate summit, the country’s energy minister told Energy Voice.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, responsible for the energy portfolio of the world’s largest oil exporters, promised a “surprise” at the UN conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.
He told Energy Voice: “If you come there, we will have the green initiative and the middle east initiative in tandem with the COP 27.”
When pressed on what his country plans on exhibiting at Egypt’s COP27 next month, Saudi Arabia’s energy minister responded: “That will be a surprise for everybody.”
Prince Abdulaziz is the fourth son of King Salman and brother of Crown Prince and Saudi prime minister Mohammed bin Salman.
With power over the energy portfolio, he is one of the most powerful figures in the world oil market.
He added: “You are more than welcome to come and visit us, we have a gallery and events, it’s going to be visited by all those who attend the COP, hopefully, and they will see how much we mean to committed to transitioning and transitioning in our way.
“We will hopefully become a model for how we do the transitioning.”
The country is a major player in the OPEC cartel which controls a huge chunk of world oil, but it has been accused of using its immense oil wealth for greenwashing.
Saudi Arabia is hosting the first Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum and the Youth Green Summit in October 2021.
However, the country has been accused of greenwashing in the past with TIME reporting last month that climate scientists have argued that increasing oil production to 13 million barrels a day while aiming to reduce emissions is contradictory.
The exchange on Saudi and COP27 followed a behind-closed-doors discussion with the Saudi minister shortly after arriving in Aberdeen for the first World Energy Council Executive assembly hosted in Scotland.
The minister’s talk was hosted by John Defterios, professor of business, NYU Abu Dhabi and former CNN emerging markets editor, featuring Dr. Angela Wilkinson, secretary general for the World Energy Council.
Dr Wilkinson thanked the Scottish Government for being “such good co-hosts” and Aberdeen city council “for their generous support”.
Going on to say: “Aberdeen is the fitting location for us to meet today, a clean and just energy transition is unfolding here in this city.
“Aberdeen is known as the oil and gas capital of Europe and earlier this week Nicola Sturgeon outlined her vision, in this venue, for the city to become the Net Zero capital of the world, calling on more people and communities to play a vital role”
The World Energy Council secretary general explained the event theme of ‘Transformational solutions in turbulent times’, saying: “These are painfully challenging times, societies are fearful of the coming months and the risk of the cost of living crisis is increasing in all regions.
“This is a significant moment in energy leadership, times of deep uncertainty creative and collaborative solutions, not panic.
“Today there is only one question, what difference can we make?”
The event opened with comments from Mr Defterios, Dr Wilkinson and Michael Matheson, the cabinet secretary for net zero, energy and transport.
Focussing on the trilemma of energy transition, affordability and security, the heavy hitters of the sector made appearances at the World Energy Council’s event, including former Shell chief executive, Jeroen Van Der Veer and head of business development at BP UK, Oliver Taylor.
Mr Matheson said at the event opening: “I believe that our transition to our net zero objectives can play an important part in helping address the challenges households and the energy sector are facing.
“We are now at the point where almost 97% of our electricity comes from renewable sources in Scotland.
“Scotland is not only the place to meet our own energy needs in terms of decarbonising our energy system and moving towards renewables, we are also in the unique position to decarbonise the rest of the UK and also beyond to Europe.