Al-Naimi: Saudi Arabia’s solar energy production to soar

June 2, 2011

Fossil fuels, led by petroleum and gas, will continue to meet most of the world’s energy needs for at least the next few decades, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi said during a speech in Poland. However, new sources of energy will need to be added over time in order to maintain the strength of the world economy.

Al-Naimi made his remarks at Poland’s Gorniczo-Hutnicza University of Science and Technology, where he was recently awarded an honorary PhD. The Minister of Petroleum stressed the partnership between the Polish institution and the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST), noting that both universities play a pivotal role in the field of sustainable energy.

In the wake of the emergence of the middle classes in Asia and the rapid population increase in developing countries, the sustainable provision of greater energy supplies has become a vitally important issue, Al-Naimi explained. Reaching this goal will require the use of petroleum to meet the majority of the world’s energy needs, while also allowing for the development of other sources.

Al-Naimi highlighted the work of the Gorniczo-Hutnicza University of Science and Technology in researching methods to make oil a more secure source of energy and described its breakthroughs in the fields of conversion technologies and non-classical gas reserves.

For its part, the Kingdom is constantly working on maintaining stable flows of energy to the world. Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves of 264 billion barrels of oil are just a part of the equation, Al-Naimi said, noting that the Kingdom has invested $125 billion over five years in different phases of the oil industry. Saudi Aramco continues to focus on supply sustainability and is using technology to find and exploit new reserves.

Furthermore, Al-Naimi continued, Saudi Arabia has expanded its focus to other forms of energy, including solar. In this regard, KAUST is playing a pioneering role in solar and other renewable energy technology. Al-Naimi disclosed that KAUST and Saudi Aramco are cooperating in the creation of low-cost solar energy solutions for industrial activities, including cooling, water desalination, pumping and other processes. He added that Saudi Aramco is planning to build the Kingdom’s biggest solar energy plant, which would produce 10 megawatts of light electro energy, at a car parking lot in Dhahran. Saudi Arabia plans to produce solar electricity in levels tantamount its oil production, Al-Naimi declared.

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