RIYADH: Saudi Arabian Oil Co., one of the biggest oil producers in the world, has joined hands with the Kingdom’s energy ministry to establish a carbon capture and storage hub as Saudi Arabia steadily progresses to achieve its net-zero ambition by 2060.
The announcement was made during the Saudi Green Initiative on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Summit, known as COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
After the announcement of the new project, Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said that the Kingdom could achieve its net-zero target before the stipulated target in 2060.
“The Kingdom is taking another bold step. I’m very pleased to announce the establishment of a carbon capture and storage hub through a partnership with Aramco, which will help the Kingdom to meet its net-zero ambition by 2060. Don’t be very surprised if we achieve this net zero even before that period,” said the minister.
He added: “We honor our commitments and deliver them. We have to showcase that we are honorably achieving our commitments.”
During the speech, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser said that the new CCS hub would be located on the east coast of Saudi Arabia in Jubail.
According to Nasser, the hub will have a storage capacity of up to 9 million tons of carbon dioxide a year by 2027.
“At Aramco, we aim to contribute around 6 million tons, and the remaining 3 million tons from other industrial sources. As overall capacity ramps up, we will start other phases of our carbon-capture sequestration process,” said Nasser.
Nasser added: “We are the founding members of the oil and gas climate initiative, which drives collective action at the industry level. At the company level, Aramco announced the creation of a $1.5 billion sustainability fund to find solutions to climate challenges.”
He further noted it is a challenging period for the energy sector.
“This is a testing time in the world of energy. All of us need a little inspiration as we face the triple challenges in the sector; security, equity and environmental sustainability,” said Nasser.
RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian Mining Co., known as Ma’aden, has announced its plans to export blue ammonia amid a global transition to sustainable energy.
The announcement was made by Saudi Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman during the opening of the Saudi Green Initiative forum on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, according to the Saudi Press Agency.
This comes after Ma’aden obtained an accreditation certificate last month to export blue ammonia.
He added that Ma’aden will be granted 138,000 tons of blue ammonia, representing one of the largest quantities approved in the world to date.
Blue ammonia is where CO2 is captured during the production process of combining hydrogen (from natural gas) and nitrogen, in a method where such emissions can be reduced by up to 90 percent.
This will allow the firm to supply 14 percent of the total blue ammonia market globally, Ma’aden CEO Robert Wilt told Al Arabiya on Oct. 28, on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative held in Riyadh.
The certificate was granted by Germany’s testing, inspection, and certification agency TUV Rheinland.
The first shipment of 25,000-ton blue ammonia minerals will be sent from Saudi Arabia to South Korea this month, the minister said.
This happens as mining company seeks to support the global transition to sustainable energy and decarbonize their existing operations by adopting carbon capture technologies.
Additionally, Ma’aden signed a 20-year agreement with Gulf Cryo to build and operate a carbon dioxide capture plant at the Ma’aden Phosphate Complex in Ras Al Khair Industrial City during the Saudi Green Initiative forum.
In October, Saudi Arabian Mining Co. decided to increase the capacity of its phosphate production complexes located in Waad Al-Shamal and Ras Al-Khair industrial hubs.
According to a MEED report, UK-headquartered Petrofac has secured the engineering, procurement and construction contracts for both facilities.
“Ma’aden received bids for the packages in May and, presumably, is in the process of finalizing budgetary approvals and other sanctions (with the Saudi government) for the project,” one source told MEED.
Another source said: “It could be a while before the EPC contracts are awarded, but for now, Petrofac appears to be leading the race and is in discussions with Ma’aden.”
RIYADH: Aljouf Mineral Water Bottling Co. has been given Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority’s regulatory nod for a 50 percent capital hike to SR47 million ($13 million).
The company said in a bourse filing that it will raise its capital from SR31 million through the distribution of one-for-two bonus shares.
The increase will be paid from retained earnings by transferring SR16 million to the company’s capital, resulting in an increase of 1.56 million shares from 3.13 million to 4.69 million.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund’s book-building for the sale of a 10 percent stake in Tadawul Group has been concluded, with the final offer price set at SR191 ($51) per share, according to a bourse filing.
From the book-building offering, the sovereign wealth fund raised SR2.29 billion through the sale of the 10-percent stake in the stock exchange, Bloomberg reported.
The offering, which took place on Nov. 11, was successfully oversubscribed by both local and international institutional investors.
The final price for the offering represents a discount of 8.9 percent to the closing share price on Thursday Nov. 10, 2022, the last trading day before the offering, according to the offering documents.
The PIF, which has over $600 billion in assets, offered 12 million shares in Tadawul Group, the document added.
The offering is in line with the PIF’s strategy of recycling its capital in order to invest in emerging and promising sectors of the local economy, according to a statement.
Once the offering is finalized, the PIF’s ownership will amount to 60 percent of the company’s share capital.
The remaining ordinary, held by the PIF in Saudi Tadawul Group, will be subject to a 90-day lockup.
The offering will not generate any proceeds for the company and will not dilute the shares of its other shareholders.
The sale will be conducted through off-market negotiated deals before the opening of the market on Sunday, Nov. 13.
The sovereign wealth fund has hired both HSBC Saudi Arabia and Morgan Stanley Saudi Arabia to act as joint global coordinators, as well as Al Rajhi Capital to act as joint book-runner.
Last year, the PIF sold a 30 percent stake in Tadawul in a $1 billion initial public offering, and since then, its shares have doubled.
The PIF, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, invested SR84 billion locally in 2021 and is planning to invest another SR150 billion in 2022.
The fund has investments in companies spanning a wide range of industries, such as Saudi Electricity and utility firm Acwa Power.
It owns majority stakes in the $53 billion Saudi Arabian Mining and $54 billion Saudi Telecom, as well as Saudi National Bank, Riyad Bank and Alinma.
JEDDAH: Flying into the Saudi capital Riyadh, visitors cannot help but notice the patchwork of green spaces that have popped up across the city. Less than a decade ago, the scene from above would have more closely resembled the fictional Star Wars planet of Tatooine.
Although its territory is largely covered by desert, Saudi Arabia has worked hard in recent years to protect and restore its biodiversity, and has opted for a more sustainable future by turning whole swathes of its landscape into havens of green.
Last year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the twin Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative, which feature the largest afforestation projects in the world, to capture carbon from the air, improve soil quality, and enhance quality of life.
The second edition of the Saudi Green Initiative Forum is taking place in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh from Nov. 11 to 12 to coincide with the UN climate summit, COP27.
“As a leading global oil producer, we are fully aware of our responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that just as we played a leading role in stabilizing energy markets during the oil and gas era, we will work to lead the coming green era,” the crown prince said during the initiatives’ launch.
A warming climate is already taking its toll on the Kingdom and the wider Middle East, with less rainfall to water crops and refill groundwater aquifers, creeping desertification and soil degradation, and dust storms growing in scale and frequency.
The two initiatives are designed to help the Kingdom and wider region adapt to and mitigate for the effects of climate variation and to adopt technologies and practices that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants.
By the end of 2021, around 60 community-based projects and private sector collaborations had already been launched under the initiatives to help improve public health, boost quality of life, and promote sustainable lifestyles. At the heart of it all is the city of Riyadh.
The growing metropolis is set to more than double its population in the coming decades thanks to an $800-billion project aimed at transforming it into an economic, social and cultural hub for the region. Such a transformation will of course come with environmental challenges.
In 2019, the Green Riyadh Project, the world’s largest integrated urban reforestation project, announced an intention to plant 7.5 million trees across the capital, to increase green space from 1.7 to 28 square meters per capita, and to increase total green space to 9 percent.
The project aims to reduce ambient temperatures by an average of 8-15 degrees Celsius in afforested locations across the city, to improve air quality by 3-6 percent, and to improve the overall aesthetic of the urban center.
Given Riyadh’s location and high density, it will need time, hard work, and investment to become a sustainable city that fulfills the goals set out in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 Quality of Life Program, Abdullah Aldakheelallah, an architect and urban researcher, told Arab News.
“Urban areas must not only incorporate green spaces. They must also provide basic amenities, entertainment spaces through eco-friendly practices, afforestation on roads and in neighborhoods, the construction of sidewalks and pedestrian pathways,” said Aldakheelallah.
“Projects in the Kingdom should adapt and adjust themselves to the strategic keys of the Quality of Life Program in their unique way to add to the improvement of urban cities as a whole.
“Green pockets of land will help nourish a city, it can promote outdoor recreational activities, improve the health of citizens and help reduce the urban heat island (UHI) phenomenon, where surfaces absorb heat and retain the heat for longer hours.”
Net-zero emissions by 2060.
*Boost use of renewables to 50% by 2030. Contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
Plant 10 billion trees and rehabilitate 40 million hectares of land.
Raise protected areas to more than 30% of total land.
Another benefit of the urban afforestation project is that it will curb the effects of “unmanaged surfaces,” such as uninhabited land, roundabouts, and other empty spaces that tend to retain heat longer, said Aldakheelallah.
“Some 20 percent of Riyadh is made up of unmanaged surfaces. By shading such areas, their goal is to decrease the exposure of solar radiation to unmanaged surfaces, and decrease temperatures in the city during daylight. Studies predict that by doing so, you can decrease temperatures by 4-5 degrees during the day,” he added.
Beyond increasing tree cover, Aldakheelallah says the design and retrofitting of buildings can also have a significant impact on local temperatures.
“Roofs play a crucial role in the energy balance of buildings and the surrounding environment,” he said. “The total height-to-floor area ratio and width of the roof are key determining factors for reducing direct radiation exposure.
“Unfortunately, modern ways of building homes have given way to reducing the size and width of roofs, which has had adverse impacts.”
To create and sustain its new green spaces, Riyadh must guarantee plentiful and sustainably sourced freshwater — a limited resource in a country that lacks its own rivers and receives precious little rainfall.
Deep groundwater aquifers and desalination plants are the Kingdom’s primary water resources. In major Saudi cities, desalinated water consumption is extremely high, especially in Riyadh, where its share stood at 63-64 percent in 2020.
Much of the capital’s drinking water came from desalination plants in Makkah, Jeddah and Taif — a practice which, until more plants are powered by renewable sources of energy, continues to contribute to the Kingdom’s carbon emissions.
Dr. Mark Tester, associate director at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Center for Desert Agriculture, says Riyadh needs to better integrate its wastewater management if it wants to irrigate its green spaces sustainably.
“Wastewater is a massive resource, especially in a country which has so little water,” Tester told Arab News. “You need to be able to, for example, separate greywater from blackwater and then use the greywater directly.
“This saves enormous amounts of money and greatly reduces the CO2 emissions from pumping and treating the wastewater. You can use the greywater locally and with minimal treatment and this gives you an opportunity to green the environment.”
Blackwater, also referred to as sewage or brown water, is the wastewater from bathrooms, which can carry disease and bacteria, both of which can be harmful.
Greywater, by contrast, is the wastewater that comes from sinks, washing machines, bathtubs and showers. It contains lower levels of contamination, making it easier to treat and process.
Recycled greywater is commonly used in irrigation and constructed wetlands. In fact, greywater that contains food particles can even nourish plants. Using treated greywater in Riyadh could lead to improved planning, regulations, and building codes, could irrigate tens of millions of trees, and significantly improve health and well-being.
Indeed, at the very heart of the greening strategy is the happiness and well-being of Saudi residents and foreign visitors, allowing them to experience the psychological benefits of the great outdoors in a safe and manageable climate.
“Green spaces should be prioritized where they can be safely and conveniently accessed and enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age, gender, or physical ability, for example, in a neighborhood park as opposed to a street median or traffic roundabout,” Huda Shaka, a sustainable cities adviser, told Arab News.
“Such spaces can improve the physical and mental health of the urban population as well as provide opportunities for improving biodiversity, air quality, and access to food.”
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman at COP27 inaugurated three new projects and a greenhouse gas credit scheme to launch next year, further enhancing the Kingdom’s action on climate change.
The announcement came on the second day of the second Saudi Green Initiative Forum, held on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh resort town.
The forum addressed climate challenges in the Kingdom as well as the plans and achievements of 39 Saudi stakeholders committed to achieving the Saudi Green Initiative goals and Vision 2030.
As part of its commitment to the Middle East Green Initiative, the Kingdom is launching the Circular Carbon Economy Knowledge Hub. The platform will facilitate regional collaboration in circular carbon economy technologies, and share the information, best practices and learnings to support the region-wide implementation of NDCs, helping achieve ambitious targets.
“Saudi Arabia is working with the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia to establish a regional center to advance emissions reduction. This center will provide opportunities for regional collaboration to accelerate emissions reduction and facilitate the implementation of the CCE. It will also be a powerful platform to represent regional voices, influencing global narratives and developing a road map to lower emissions,” the Ministry of Energy said.
On the sidelines of #COP27, the #SGIForum delivered two days of focused conversation on how KSA is moving from #AmbitionToAction.
Watch to see a recap of the closing day pic.twitter.com/23RJ9fns4d
The Kingdom is also working with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to host the next MENA Climate Week in 2023, set to take place in the run-up to COP28 in the UAE. The event will bring together key regional and global stakeholders to explore challenges and opportunities, as well as showcase innovation and solutions.
Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s climate initiatives and approach to cross-border collaboration, Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi envoy for climate affairs, said: “We all inhabit this planet together. What happens in one part of the world affects other parts of the world — we can’t escape that. The issue of climate change doesn’t recognize borders or genders, or religion. We have to all chip in to do this. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of petroleum and so we also have a responsibility in that sense … we have to take a leading role.”
At #COP27, we are moving from accusations to practical solutions – HE @AdelAljubeir, Envoy for Climate’s message on pooling resources and collaborating to overcome challenges together . pic.twitter.com/Gy6rQ1lwZV
He added: “The objective is to plant up to 50 billion trees in the Middle East and his royal highness also announced the funding of $2.5 billion of support to activities of the initiative, to make sure we deal with desertification and deal with planting trees in order to reduce carbon in our environment. We’ve also launched funds that deal with food security and funds that deal with helping countries manage the transition using a circular carbon economy approach … we want to be an example to the world in terms of what can be done. We believe it can be done, we believe it will be done and we are determined to do so.
“You either get ahead (of climate change) or you are going to be buried by it. Saudi Arabia is committed to being ahead of it. When you look at many of the world problems, or potential problems, they have to do with climate change, whether there is not enough food or not enough water. These become sources of conflict and we need to get ahead of this, in order to eliminate them and to provide a better future for our children and grandchildren.”
During the forum, Prince Fahad Bin Jalawi signed the UNFCCC Sport For Climate Action Framework to make the the Saudi Olympic & Paralympic Committee an official signatory.
KSA is now an official signatory of the UN Framework Sports for Climate Action .
HH Fahad Bin Jalawi Alsaud, Vice-President, @saudiolympic announced the news on behalf of HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal (@gsaksa_en) at the #SGIForum today. pic.twitter.com/Cgu1Xd7lbt
Prince Fahad expressed his gratitude to the prominent efforts of the Saudi Green Initiative under the leadership of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman toward encouraging climate action and sustainability in Saudi Arabia.
“The climate crisis is a call of action for all of us to combat climate change through all levels. SOPC is working to expand the scope of climate actions in the Kingdom to be extended to the sport level, to contribute in finding solutions for the climate crisis in and through sport at the international, regional and national levels.”
He added: “It is our responsibility to spread awareness about the climate issues and address them through sport as well as join the forces of all sport organizations in the Kingdom to play a vital role that helps achieve the goals of the Saudi Green Initiative and Vision 2030.”
UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri, who spoke on the sidelines of the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, said throughout her panel session that the need for climate action was reflected in the holding two consecutive COPs in the Middle East, sharing her hopes that the world will take the opportunity to catalyze real change.
I want to say there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel, we just need to move faster- HE @mariammalmheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, UAE on the new technologies and sources of energy that will lead the world to a greener future. pic.twitter.com/ZSYSlt2o4I
“It will be the first global stock take. This is going to be very unique in the COP process — in a way it’s like a report card. We’ll be able to see where we are, compared to where we want to be. We need to be more ambitious. We know that the results of the ‘report card’ will not look good. But it is important to realize from now that this is an implementation COP. It’s really important that we scale up … having COP27 in here in Egypt, having COP28 in the UAE next year and having the Saudi Green Initiative — these are all opportunities that we can move forward.”
She highlighted the technological innovations that are driving regional climate action and presenting opportunities for collaboration: “It would be amazing if we could see regional carbon markets increasing our collective liquidity. We’re electrifying our industries and mobility as well in order to decarbonize, so having interconnected grids to help stabilize the grid and increase efficiency across the region. We’re all putting a lot of a lot of focus now on hydrogen, on CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and storage) — with Saudi Arabia really putting a lot of effort in on this – and it’s amazing when you see what these technologies can actually do.”
Almheiri added: “There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. We are moving in the right direction … we need to move faster, but I really think that we should use this as an opportunity to catalyze efforts to put these technologies into place.”
Speaking ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Bali, Cheng Lin, head of the Center for International Cooperation at the Beijing Institute of Finance and Sustainability, discussed transitional finance and China’s role as co-chair of the G20 Sustainable Finance Working Group.
“With the #SaudiGreenInitiative, there will be more efforts to enhance green finance.”
Cheng Lin, Head of International Cooperation, Beijing Institute of Finance and Sustainability, on the guidance that SGI is providing for investment in a greener future. #SGIForum pic.twitter.com/4tifxXiCU8
A key responsibility for the working group co-chairs in 2022 has been to develop a transitional finance framework.
“We need to have another framework to help mobilize in the scaling of more finance to support in the transition activities. And of course, it’s very challenging on traditional financial markets, not only in China but globally. So that’s a very strong demand for transition and we need to work on something that can be guiding all the financial settings, including jurisdictions. So, a framework is very much needed. We are very happy that the framework has been developed and delivered … we hope that the work can be endorsed by the G20 leaders this week in Bali,” Chen said.
On China’s approach to transitional finance, he added: “We already have up and running green financial markets since 2016. So, after more than six years of development, we have come up with a framework that can support a very well-running green financial market in terms of taxonomy, disclosure requirements, policy and incentive mechanisms, and a suite of green financial products, as well as capacity building. We have heard a lot about transition and taxonomy’s role. This is a very important part that is also leading many international departments, collaborations and also initiatives. I think we’ll also see some other progress in terms of taxonomy internationally and in the region — this is also targeted in the Saudi Green Initiative.
UK COP26 High Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping challenged the narrative that the world has gone past the point of no return: “Don’t believe anybody who tells you 1.5 degrees Celsius is dead. Don’t believe anyone who has the lost confidence in the ability of us as unbelievable engineers and in the power of markets to drive exponential change. That’s what’s happening now in sector after sector after sector.”
Don’t believe anybody that tells you 1.5° C is dead.
Don’t believe anyone who has lost the confidence…in the power of markets to drive exponential change. That’s what’s happening now in sector after sector @topnigel, UK @COP26 High-Level Champion at the #SGIForum pic.twitter.com/mHVlNzBe9M
He added: “We were at 0.01 percent sustainable aviation fuel in 2000 and now we’re collectively targeting 10 percent. That’s an 1000 times improvement by 2030. Those kind of growth curves are a result of costs coming down and are a very predictable economic process.
“None of the forecasts you are reading that say 1.5 degrees Celsius is dead are using that (economic) logic. They’re adding up today’s policies and saying that determines the future, as though people stop making policies. Engineering organizations and countries like Saudi with strong engineering skillsets in the political elite — they learn fast. I think the whole world is on that track now.”
Patricia Espinosa, former UNFCCC executive secretary as well as founding and managing partner of 1PointFive, said: “I do believe a lot has been achieved in terms providing the world with the tools in order to go into these very deep transformations. The process has produced the big frameworks but also the tools for all of us to be able to monitor what is going on.”
Investment in climate change is not only for the benefit of others, but also for your own benefit – HE Ambassador @PEspinosaC personalizes the impacts of climate action. pic.twitter.com/lCDNLwhK6I
“When we look at the roles that conferences have, I would say that it has provided a very important impulse to leadership, not only in government, but also leadership in businesses and civil society. But a negotiation does not transform the world. What is critical is to provide a platform where leaders come together and react, and they create this momentum.”
On engagement in global solutions, Espinosa said: “I think that this is precisely the point of a conference like this. A conference where everybody comes at the highest level of government as we have been witnessing. And just the presence of the heads of state and government already indicates that they want to be on board.”