Oil Minister addresses the International Oil Summit in Paris

April 10, 2008

Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Affairs Ali Al-Naimi gave an address on energy and the environment at the International Oil Summit in Paris today.

Al-Naimi said that he expects fossil fuels to meet global energy needs for at least the next 50 years.

“In the future, there is no doubt that the world will witness yet another stage of energy evolution,” he said. “Between moving from our current sources of energy, primarily fossil fuels, to a dominant new source will require at least a half-century, and perhaps more given the various challenges associated with such a broad-based conversion.”

Biofuels and ethanol are not viable alternative energy sources, Al-Naimi said. “Currently, ethanol and other biofuels will not contribute to the protection of the global environment by reducing emissions, they will not increase energy security, nor will they reduce contemporary civilization’s dependency on fossil fuels to any appreciable degree,” he noted, adding that solar energy is perhaps the best source of alternative energy.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is increasing its production capacity to meet global needs, Al-Naimi stated. He pointed out that the Kingdom is spending more than $90 billion over the next five years to increase production capacity in both the upstream and downstream segments of the industry.

Currently, the Kingdom’s total petroleum production – including crude oil, liquids, and natural gas – is more than 11 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, he remarked. Next year, the Kingdom’s crude oil production will increase to 12.5 million barrels per day (bpd), while maintaining a spare production capacity of 1.5 to 2 million bpd, he said.

On the downstream side, the Kingdom is doubling its refining capacity at home and abroad from three to six million bpd to meet the international demand for cleaner petroleum products, Al-Naimi stated.

The oil minister noted that Saudi Arabia has 264 billion barrels of crude oil reserves, with the potential to increase those resources by at least 200 billion barrels. Additionally, the Kingdom’s natural gas reserves total 258 trillion cubic feet, a figure that is likely to double in the future.

“Saudi Arabia’s contribution to the availability of energy and the stability of global energy markets is considerable, and serves the wider interest of global economic growth and human prosperity,” he said.

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