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DUBAI: Saudi Arabia is focused on the production of green molecules, said Prince Abdelaziz bin Salman Al Saud, the Kingdom’s minister of energy.

“Our plans are clear to everyone, we are focusing on the molecule,” the prince said at a World Economic Forum meeting in Riyadh. “Being environmentally conscious is our human duty, whatever we do today should not endanger any aspirations of future generations.”

In a session focused on green molecules such as biofuels, hydrogen, and their derivatives, experts discussed various countries’ plans on how to move forward with the production of green molecules.  

For his part, Prince Abdelaziz said he believed the concept should be color agnostic, because the molecule business has to do with how we produce clean energy, and that has no color.

“There is a carbon footprint that we need to manage and mitigate. I think stigmatizing things might narrow our choices rather than expand (them). We believe, as Saudis, that we require all the sources of energy, be it nuclear, hydrocarbon-based, or synthetic fuels. We are open to choices.” 

The prince also said the kingdom is “libertarian” in its business approach, willing to share the expertise with other countries and that it is already in business with some European states.

“While the technology remains challenging, we continue to work on it to make it accessible and affordable to all,” he said.

The United Arab Emirate’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei said that, as in Saudi Arabia, leaders in the UAE are aware of the need to invest in new energy. 

“The region has become important in tackling problems and coming up with solutions,” Al Mazrouei said. “Clean energy is something we decided to venture into 17 years ago as we were thinking about what is going to happen when we export the last barrel of oil.”

Echoing the prince’s remarks, Al Mazrouei said consumers should not be limited to those considered ready simply because they can afford the price.

“We are working on the technology to make it accessible to all,” he said.

Amani Abou Zeid, commissioner for infrastructure and energy of the African Union, said that Africa has different levels of development and needs and expressed the need for alternative power options.

“Overall we are still electrified in only 49 percent of the continent, so more than half of the population doesn’t have electricity. Africa can’t afford to discard any solution at this point.”

Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies SE, alongside Shrikant Vaidya, chairman of India’s Oil Corporation, and Erasmo Carlos Battistella, CEO of Be8, reiterated the importance of accessibility and affordability when producing green molecules.

Despite the positives from those countries engaged in the production of green molecules, such as job creation, there is still a long way to go. 

Prince Abdelaziz said: “I think we should be conscious of the fact that the challenge is big, we are still talking about artificial intelligence, the component of the electrification, and what is required for it; the world will require clean molecules (and) it is our hope that we all work together to ensure this happens.” 

 

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