Aramco CEO calls fossil fuel phase out a fantasy

19 March 2024
In his keynote address to the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Amin Nasser also said global oil demand is expected to reach an “all-time high” in the second half of this year

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Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser has described global efforts to phase out production and consumption of oil and gas as “fantasy”.

In his keynote address at the CERAWeek conference in Houston, Nasser also said that the current energy transition strategy “is visibly failing on most fronts as it collides with five hard realities”, which he listed as:

  • The need to reset global efforts to meet climate ambitions
  • The inability of alternatives so far to displace hydrocarbons at scale
  • Costs associated with conventional energy alternatives
  • Energy requirements of the Global South
  • The potential for further emissions reductions from hydrocarbons

“We should abandon the fantasy of phasing out oil and gas and instead invest in them adequately, reflecting realistic demand assumptions. We should ramp up our efforts to reduce carbon emissions, aggressively improve efficiency, and introduce lower carbon solutions,” Nasser said.

“And we should phase in new energy sources and technologies when they are genuinely ready, economically competitive, and with the right infrastructure.”

Presenting his demand outlook for hydrocarbons, Nasser said: “Despite the world investing more than $9.5tn on energy transition over the past two decades, alternatives have been unable to displace hydrocarbons at scale … Global oil demand is expected to reach an all-time high in the second half of this year… Likewise, gas remains a mainstay of global energy, growing by about almost 70% since the start of the century.

“All this strengthens the view that peak oil and gas is unlikely to come for some time.”

Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer, recently declared its financial results for 2023, in which it announced a net income of $121.3bn for the full-year – a 24.7% decline in profit compared to 2022.

On the subject of the energy transition’s impact on consumers, the Aramco CEO said: “As the current transition strategy increasingly impacts the majority, not just a tiny minority, consumers around the world are sending powerful messages that can no longer be ignored. We know they want energy with lower emissions, and rightly so. But many are struggling to afford the energy they need. And they worry about ample and reliable supply, which the recent energy crisis showed is not guaranteed.

“Unfortunately, the current transition strategy overlooks these broader messages from consumers,” Nasser said. “It focuses almost exclusively on replacing hydrocarbons with alternatives, more on sources than on reducing emissions.”

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