Aramco CEO in call for ‘ultra clean energy’

“We must continuously remind all our stakeholders that we are a global industry at the cutting edge of science, technology, engineering and logistics, supported by a complex global supply chain,” Nasser said. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2019

Aramco CEO in call for ‘ultra clean energy’

  • Oil giant chief takes aim at climate change deniers during global oil industry gathering in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: There is no limit to the oil industry’s potential if it can meet society’s demand for “ultra clean” energy, Amin Nasser, the president and chief executive of Saudi Aramco, told delegates at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi.

“The world faces an incredible climate challenge and we need a bold response to match. In my view, that means the entire industry must come together around a new mission beyond our gates of making oil and gas much cleaner across the full spectrum of end-use applications,” Nasser said.

His comments were seen against the background of Aramco’s long term strategy to be regarded not just as a pumper of crude oil, but as a diversified high technology energy group with a strong sense of corporate social responsibility. Nasser spoke recently of a “crisis of perception” in the oil industry.

“We must continuously remind all our stakeholders that we are a global industry at the cutting edge of science, technology, engineering and logistics, supported by a complex global supply chain,” Nasser said.

In an apparent swipe at climate-change deniers, he hit out at those who do not recognize the need for alternatives to hydrocarbon fuels to meet rising global energy demand. 

“Many governments are adopting policies that do not appear to consider all the complex aspects of global technology, the long term nature of our business, and the need for orderly transitions — policies that seem to assume there are quick and easy answers to the many challenges that alternatives face,” he said.

Nasser added that throughout Aramco’s history, it had a competitive edge in four key areas: Resource abundance, safe production, reliable supply and affordability. “But meeting society’s expectations requires a fifth. Quite simply, our products need to be much cleaner,” he said.

He added that the world was “at a turning point” in the search for cleaner forms of energy. “The good news is that we are not starting from scratch,” he said, highlighting Aramco’s halt to gas flaring, its low upstream carbon intensity, and low methane levels by industry standards.

He also underlined Aramco’s commitment to a range of technologies with transformative potential for the whole global oil industry, like advanced integrated engine fuel systems and carbon capture techniques.

“This is the latest turning point in our history, and we must, once again, lead the turn,” Nasser said.

 


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.