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By Alex Kimani – Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Saudi Aramco has launched a $1.5 billion Sustainability Fund that will invest in technology supporting a “stable and inclusive” energy transition, making this among the largest-ever sustainability-focused venture capital funds in the world.
“Managed by Aramco Ventures, the fund is an extension of the Company’s efforts to meet the world’s growing energy demand, with lower greenhouse gas emissions,” the world’s largest oil and gas company said in a statement.
The fund’s initial focus areas include carbon capture and storage(CCS), greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, nature-based climate solutions, hydrogen, ammonia, digital sustainability and synthetic fuels. The fund will target investments globally.
“Climate change is a critical issue, which is why sustainability is well-integrated in Aramco’s strategy and investment decisions. The Company is harnessing innovation and collaboration as it seeks long-term solutions to global energy challenges. By driving large-scale investments and building key domestic, regional and international partnerships, Aramco aims to enable a stable and inclusive energy transition that meets the world’s need for energy with lower emissions,’’Yasir O. Al-Rumayyan, Aramco Chairman, said.
Last year, Saudi Aramco announced that it was kicking off the biggest shale gas development outside of the United States. Saudi Aramco said it plans to spend $110 billion over the next couple of years to develop the Jafurah gas field, which is estimated to hold 200 trillion cubic feet of gas. The state-owned company hopes to start natural gas production from Jafurah in 2024 and reach 2.2 Bcf/d of sales gas by 2036 with an associated 425 million cubic feet per day of ethane.
Aramco later announced that instead of chilling that gas and exporting it as LNG, it will instead use it to make much cleaner fuel: Blue hydrogen. The company said that its immediate plan was to produce enough natural gas for domestic use to stop burning oil in its power plants and convert the remainder into hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is made from natural gas either by Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) or Auto Thermal Reforming (ATR) with the CO2 generated captured and then stored. As the greenhouse gasses are captured, this mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet. (Oil Price)