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Saudi Arabia ‘is and will remain the kingdom of energy’

Saudi Arabia hydrogen Creative Commons/Milken Institute
Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Falih said Saudi Arabia has earmarked 'tens of billions of dollars' to diversify its energy portfolio
  • PIF-funded hydrogen projects imminent
  • Actively diversifying energy portfolio
  • Economic potential of green derivatives

Saudi Arabia will sustain its status as a global leader in oil and gas while spearheading green energy initiatives, the country’s minister of investment Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al Falih has said.

The country “is and will remain the kingdom of energy,” Al Falih, who was previously CEO and president of state oil giant Aramco, told a conference in London.

The kingdom is currently preparing to announce a line-up of hydrogen projects to be managed by its Public Investment Fund (PIF).

“We are not going to cede our position as a global leader of providing competitive energy,” Al Falih said at the UK Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Forum.

“We’ve done it with pride, over 90 years, with our endowment for oil and gas, with the lowest pollution and the highest health and safety standards.”

But Al Falih said Saudi Arabia is also actively diversifying its energy portfolio, developing what he described as “the world’s largest, most cost-effective green and blue hydrogen and ammonia production facilities”.

These projects, strategically located along the kingdom’s coasts, target major export markets in Europe and Asia, he said.

“Tens of billions of dollars is being earmarked for these resources,” the minister said.

Al Falih also underscored the economic potential of producing and exporting green derivatives, which he said would energise a supply chain and transform Saudi Arabia into a leader in green commodities.

“We will see the kingdom become a source of green steam, green aluminium, green plastics, green fertilisers, and send it to countries that don’t have cost-effective energy,” he said.

Sohail H Janbi, energy sector general manager at the Ministry of Investment, added that while the current green and blue hydrogen projects are on track, Saudi Arabia is planning to announce additional PIF-funded projects.

“Very soon, you will be hearing about more projects about clean hydrogen, and that will power the whole world with clean hydrogen,” he said.

The hydrogen rainbow

  • Green hydrogen is produced on a carbon-neutral basis through water electrolysis. 
  • Turquoise hydrogen is created when natural gas is broken down into hydrogen and solid carbon with the help of methane pyrolysis.
  • Blue hydrogen is generated from the steam reduction of natural gas. 
  • Grey hydrogen is obtained by steam reforming fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal. 
  • Sometimes other colours are ascribed to hydrogen, based on how it is produced. For red, pink and violet hydrogen, the electrolysers are driven by nuclear power. 
  • Yellow hydrogen is hydrogen produced from a mixture of renewable energies and fossil fuels. 
  • White hydrogen is a waste product of other chemical processes, while the use of coal as a fuel produces brown hydrogen.

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