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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Global energy transition will not happen without a corresponding material transition, the CEO of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. insisted as he set out the path for his company to achieve its net-zero target by 2050.
Speaking at the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association Forum in Riyadh, Amin Nasser said that more durable and sustainable materials should be used to ensure an environmentally friendly future.
He said the company is strengthening its focus on materials transition, and cutting-edge research and development, innovation and investments are necessary to achieve the target.
Nasser added that establishing an advanced materials center in Saudi Arabia could strengthen and complement existing programs and push the boundaries of innovation through global collaboration.
“A viable materials transition in parallel with a viable energy transition is urgently needed to build a new world made to last,” he added.
The executive pointed out that emissions from concrete are projected to total almost 4 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 because of the growth in demand.
The iron and steel sector accounts for more emissions than the whole of road freight, and global demand for steel alone is expected to rise by more than a third by 2050.
Nasser said: “To help reduce emissions in this growth environment, more durable and more sustainable materials must be the building blocks of 21st-century life.
“Just imagine a future where skyscrapers, bridges, planes, cars – including electric ones – and even World Cup football stadiums are built with these advanced materials.”
Nasser also added that the chemical industry should also strengthen and accelerate its innovation efforts to develop sustainable materials in a cost-effective manner.
“The big opportunity for the chemical industry is to steadily supplement existing materials as their carbon footprint is lowered too, with more durable and sustainable ones, especially polymer- and carbon-based materials,” he said.
He added: “I believe the industry should especially focus on finding optimal material solutions, with a lower carbon footprint, in high volume applications.”
Reaffirming his previous views, Nasser made it clear that oil demand from the petrochemicals sector is likely to remain robust in the future, amid the energy transition journey.
“Under a net-zero scenario, petrochemicals could still account for more than half of total global oil demand by 2050. That is why our strategy to convert up to 4 million barrels per day of liquids into chemicals by 2030, supported by technology investments, is beginning to take shape,” he added.
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