Saudi Aramco innovation shines at COP 21

HE Ali I. Al-Naimi and Amin Nasser tour the Saudi Aramco exhibit at the recent United Nation’s Climate Change Conference (COP 21) near Paris, France. Among Saudi Aramco’s innovative technologies showcased at the KSA Technology Exhibit were an on-board carbon capture storage system demonstration vehicle, an auxiliary power unit mockup for trucks, a gasoline compression ignition (GCI) engine mockup for enhanced efficiency in the transport sector, a robot for photovoltaic solar panel cleaning, and a cross-sectional scale model of the ‘Uthmaniyah CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery Project.

Company showcases strides in greenhouse gas (GHG) management and technology as global leaders adopt landmark climate change deal.

Saudi Aramco has demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the Kingdom's drive to address climate challenges through maintaining a strong presence at the recent United Nation's Climate Change Conference, known as COP 21.

Representatives of 195 nations — including Saudi Arabia — reached an historic accord to work toward limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the culmination of more than 20 years of international efforts to address the climate change issue.

Saudi Arabia's negotiating team spent two weeks locked in intense discussions at the conference held in the Parc des Expositions in the Paris suburb of Le Bourget.

GCC pavilion

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources HE Ali I. Al-Naimi led the Saudi delegation at COP 21, and during the second week of the negotiations Saudi Aramco president and CEO Amin Nasser visited the GCC Pavilion, a 1,000 square meter exhibition space designed and constructed by the company.

As the negotiations progressed, all of the nations involved put forward their respective climate change management plans by showcasing initiatives and technologies that will contribute to the alleviation of climate challenges.

The main attraction at the GCC Pavilion was the central interactive technology display, which showcased the Kingdom's efforts in environmental protection and actions in addressing climate change.

The technical content for the display was provided by the Kingdom's main entities, including Saudi Aramco, SABIC, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the Arriyadh Development Authority, and ACWA Power.


The exhibits were categorized into four focus areas: technology; renewables; energy efficiency, and adaptation.

Technological content emphasized the role that technology can play in addressing climate change through the development of solutions such as carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), clean technology (transportation fuels) and flare minimization.

The renewables area highlighted the development of solar, wind and geothermal sources of energy, while the energy efficiency segment featured the Kingdom's drive in implementing a suite of initiatives such as increasing efficiency in operations, led by example programs, saving energy and resources across the value chain and the role of the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center.

Under the banner of “adaptation,” efforts designed to improve water management, reducing desertification, urban planning programs, and marine protection were showcased.

Oil and gas companies across the GCC are making significant investments to advance research on carbon capture and storage — a technology that stores carbon dioxide (CO2) underground instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.

Saudi Aramco has a proactive program for carbon management that looks into energy efficiency, solar power, and enhanced oil recovery, as well as research and development (R&D) into the capture and utilization of CO2 — both in the mobile and stationary sectors.

Al-Naimi, speaking during the second week of the negotiations in Paris, underscored Saudi Arabia's commitment to reducing GHGs through mitigation and adaptation measures and a focus on developing game-changing technologies.

“The Kingdom is committed to improving energy efficiency, the use of solar and wind energy and the sequestering and storage of carbon dioxide for use in improving oil extraction and the transition from liquid fuel to gas and the promotion of research and development in the field of clean energy,” he told other ministers and delegation leaders.

In addition to the GCC Pavilion Saudi Arabia had a 220 square meter exhibition booth at La Galerie comprising of technological exhibits from the Kingdom's main entities, led by Saudi Aramco.

Innovative technologies showcased by the company at the KSA Technology Exhibit at La Galerie included:

  • An on-board carbon capture storage system (SCCS) demonstration vehicle
  • An auxiliary power unit mockup for trucks
  • Gasoline compression ignition (GCI) engine mockup for enhanced efficiency in the transport sector
  • Robot for photovoltaic solar panel cleaning
  • 'Uthmaniyah CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery (CO2-EOR) cross sectional scale model

The Kingdom has placed technology leadership at the heart of efforts in addressing climate change challenge and fostering environmental stewardship.

Saudi Aramco is helping to spearhead these efforts and has invested heavily in its R&D endeavors since the establishment of the Accelerated Transformation Program.

Global R&D reach

The company's R&D now has a global reach with the opening of research centers in North America, Europe and Asia — 11 in all, six of which are involved in carbon management related research.

The global drive covers the very broad spectrum of the energy value chain, from exploration, refining, power generation to value-adding products and solutions delivered to end users around the world. The company's R&D Center in Dhahran helps to drive both operational excellence and improve environmental performance.

This dual approach is prominent in the field of carbon management. Rather than limiting the focus to reducing the operational environmental footprint, the company is also looking at how it can help provide solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges regarding GHG.

Industry leadership

Last month, Saudi Aramco also welcomed global energy ministers, officials and experts from the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) to its Dhahran headquarters to demonstrate our industry leadership in GHG management, including energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage.

Al-Naimi, CSLF ministerial co-chairman, hosted a delegation that included Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy for the United States and CSLF ministerial co-chairman, and ministers and ministerial representatives from Australia, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, France, Korea, and the United Kingdom.

Addressing the delegation, Al-Naimi, said: “We are here because we are united in a common cause. We want to tackle climate change and we know that technology holds the key. We also appreciate that it is only by working together that these challenges will be overcome. From what I have witnessed these past few days at CSLF, I am confident that we are on the right track. That said, there is a lot more hard work ahead. As this visit to Saudi Aramco helps demonstrate, Saudi Arabia is playing its part. Globally, it is gratifying to me to hear that so many nations are taking positive steps forward in terms of CSLF.”

In October, Saudi Aramco joined nine other global oil and gas players in an unprecedented declaration showing support for an effective agreement at COP21.

The collaborative declaration coincided with the release of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative's report “More Energy, Lower Emissions,” which highlights the practical actions taken by the companies to improve GHG emissions management and thereby reduce the industry's impact on climate.