Saudi Aramco is looking to make a significant move into the solar power sector as part of its plans to reduce the amount of oil and gas it uses producing power for its operations.
The oil company has already approached several potential financial advisers to help it develop a plan for building up its solar power capabilities. Sources who have been in talks with Aramco say the company is considering a range of options to develop solar power, including building a series of solar projects, or acquiring a specialist so it has the expertise in-house.
“It is a very broad mandate that includes developing a strategy for solar power, it is not just helping develop and finance a specific project,” says one source involved in the talks with Aramco.
The size of the investment and the capacity of solar power that Aramco is looking to develop is still unclear. Potential advisers are understood to have already pitched for the mandate to work with Aramco on the plan, but no appointment has yet been made.
Aramco is currently expanding a network of power and steam plants around the kingdom that it has built for its own uses. It is also developing a trial solar project in the kingdom with Japan’s Showa Shell Sekiyu that will produce up to 2MW of power. If successful, the pair aim to form a joint venture to start producing solar panels in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is moving on several fronts to address the domestic consumption of its oil and gas reserves. It has established the King Abdullah Centre for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-Care) to drive the development of nationwide nuclear and solar power projects. Aramco is understood to be working independently of KA-Care on the solar initiative.
Saudi Aramco declined to comment on the latest development.