Saudi Arabia Oil Minister Expects End of Fossil Fuel Exports by Mid-Century

He’s not thinking about LENR, apparently, but Ali Al-Naimi, the oil minister of Saudi Arabia said that by mid-century, there could no longer be a need for his country to export oil.

Reuters reports some comments he made in a panel discussion at a business and climate conference in Paris last week. Al-Naimi said:

“In Saudi Arabia, we recognize that eventually, one of these days, we are not going to need fossil fuels, I don’t know when, in 2040, 2050… so we have embarked on a program to develop solar energy,”

“Hopefully, one of these days, instead of exporting fossil fuels, we will be exporting gigawatts, electric ones. Does that sound good?”

One thing in addition to oil that Saudi Arabia has in abundance is sunshine, so developing solar energy does make sense in that respect. For domestic power needs, solar could be useful — but exporting gigawatts of electricity would seem to be a lot more problematic than shipping oil around the world. Not only would you have to have thousands of miles of high voltage power lines, they would also be passing through some of the most politically unstable countries on earth, and I would think would be a ripe target for those who would want to cause havoc withe energy supplies.

I think technologies like solar power and LENR will mean that the future of energy production lies more in local production — at domestic or neighborhood levels — rather than in large-scale central generation facilities.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see that Saudi Arabia sees the writing on the wall in the long-term, and recognizing the need to adapt and change to a new energy reality.

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    They could be surprised, rather than 2040-50, could be 2020-30

  • Omega Z

    What’s the Saudi Minister really saying.

    There is 1.4(?) trillion barrels of known oil reserves.
    Using at 90 Million barrels a day for 40 years equals 1.32 trillion barrels.

    Couple things.
    90 Million barrels a day: Demand is expected & will increase. New reserves are being & will continue to be found, but they will cost more to retrieve & be found at diminishing rates. At some point being to expensive for continued usage as today.

    There are variables that could shorten the 40 year time frame as well as extend it, but 40 years is a pretty good bet on business as usual coming to an end. Beyond that it is no longer a viable energy source.

    Reading headlines in the MSM seldom tells the true or whole story. Big Oil becomes very adverse to the idea of building new refineries from scratch when encouraged to by the Politicians. All most are willing to do is incrementally expand or upgrade existing refining facilities.

    There is good reasoning behind this. They calculate it takes at least 40 years for a new facility to pay for itself if fully utilized. Anything less is a cost loss. It would be comparable to you buying a new $40K car knowing that next year, they may be outlawed. Who wants to make payments on a stranded asset.

    This is why you only see Nation states build/finance new facilities & usually is in isolated areas where costs can be offset by the shipping costs for these resources. In essence, Big oil thinks they have enough such assets to last until Oil is economically depleted.

    Note that the coal reserve outlook doesn’t fare much better. Natural gas is thought to be available for about 1000+ years, but if required to fill in the void of coal & oil, that time period could be shortened substantially.

    Solar panels in the Middle East. The only positive here is longer periods of sunlight. Of course, They don’t handle the heat so well. Or the several days of sand blasting from sand storms they suffer a couple times a year.

    Note, The Saudi Oil Minister may be saying something all together different. Likely he is well aware of LENR & in 40 years he may believe the reign of Oil will come to an official end. Some Saudis have invested in LENR through the Australian License-(Mr. Roger Green if I recall). Such investments are usually attributable to members of the Royal Family. As in They Know…

  • Erkki Yrjönen

    The saudis could convert the electricity to liquid hydrogen and ship it then anywhere. Actually strange why they aren’t doing this already. They are some of the very few peoples in the world who don’t know where to put all their income. Any Saudi oil billionaire with any strategic skills could plan this easily.

    • Omega Z

      Hydrogen is a great energy source. However it suffers many issues. At present, it takes much more energy to make then you get. Also, the same thing that makes it an excellent energy source(It’s Energy Density) makes it very scary. I wonder how many tanker vehicles would make it out of the middle east intact. Not to mention the many other ways it could be exploited by whackos.

  • EEStorFanFibb

    http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2015/05/inside-war-on-coal-000002 <<<< lots to digest if you like to read about energy/electricity production.

  • Miles

    Well Done Saudi Arabia…If only our Australian Government was as forward thinking. Can’t wait till the next election to remove these Corrupt Lying Liberal Parasites from Government.

  • EEStorFanFibb

    Thanks for making a blog post for this Frank. It’s yet another marker showing the historic shift we (the globe) are making away from fossil fuels. I posted it here as well at some point days ago.

  • friendlyprogrammer

    i think many of the problems in the middle east could be solved with education. Many hard core religious militants do not have enough education to think for themselves, and must believe what they are taught by their churches and indoctrinated family.

    Instead of bombs. They should drop tablets and broadcast wi fi from servers filled with educational software in their languages. Maybe teach a little tolerance to prevent the stoning deaths of Gays / adulterers’ /rape victims.

    ignorance is the enemy.

  • US_Citizen71

    Maybe the plan is to retrofit their tankers with many banks of batteries and then offload the power on foreign shores. 😉

    • EEStorFanFibb

      Transporting electricity by ship and by rail is something Dick Weir famously said he could provide with his EESU (electrical energy storage unit). While EEStor is now starting to enter commercialization with superior capacitor solutions, they still have the goal of producing a superior energy storage device. Maybe someday electricity will be moved extremely cheaply this way.

      • mcloki

        Energon cubes. lol

  • friendlyprogrammer

    Sounds very unintelligent. If the need for fossil fuels dampens, then it is likely some new energy source has replaced the need. Despite our hopes for LENR, It seems Hydrogen might become much easier to manufacture and inm yo pinion might be the go to fuel of our future.

    The middle east is demonstrating their power to waste coupled with a lack of common sense.

    In all honesty. If LENR and/or Cheap convenient Hydrogen become realities, would anybody waste any time or money investing in Solar/wInd.

    • mcloki

      Solar. the business of solar is getting huge. Thousands of salespeople and installers will make it a huge business for decades.

      • friendlyprogrammer

        Not if almost free hydrogen or LENR electricity become realistic. Why would you spend a single moment looking for alternative energy once it becomes almost free.

        This is of course supposing someone finds a way to create Hydrogen, etc., in an easy home use format, however if that were true then why would anybody even raise a sail on a sailboat,never mind messing with solar panels..

        Think of the overall picture.

        I do agree solar research has a lot of validity until then, but not so much in a country that has a seemingly unlimited oil supply for their own usage.

  • GreenWin

    Transmitting energy by wire over great distance is outdated and unnecessary in a distributed energy infrastructure. Aramco needs to make a fundamental investment in LENR – possibly Dr. Duncan’s CEET at Texas Tech. A Saudi gigafactory able to build various levels of distributed energy devices would create jobs and export products.