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Saudi Arabia wants lower emissions, level playing field for all energy: minister

Abu Dhabi — Saudi Arabia wants lower emissions globally and at the same time a level playing field for all energy, including Middle East crude amid a push by the world's biggest oil exporter to produce more power from renewables, the country's energy minister said on Tuesday.

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"We are talking about conversion of our energy mix whereby we will be using more gas and more renewables and we want to become part of the solution but not only that," energy minister and prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told the Future Sustainability Summit in Abu Dhabi.

"Primarily we want to do it with a view that people could give all sorts of energy a fair, equitable chance so long as we mitigate these emissions. It is equally important to be realistic about what sort of an energy mix the global economy will have."

Saudi Arabia ranks fourth in terms of reduction of emissions among G20 countries, he said.

Saudi Arabia wants to produce 70% of its power from gas and 30% from renewable energy to reduce domestic consumption of crude and free up the commodity for export.

Saudi Arabia's local energy reforms will reduce domestic consumption by 2 million boe/d by 2030, the prince said in October.

The energy ministry created the Renewable Energy Project Development Office in 2017, which is targeting 27.3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2024 and 58.7 GW by 2030

"By 2040 we will still need a lot of oil, a lot of gas and coal and a lot of renewables," bin Salman said on Tuesday. "You cannot attend to the security of supply issue if you say I don't want to rely on Middle East sources of energy and at once want to achieve sustainability development goals."

Saudi crude has the lowest carbon footprint of any other oil, Aramco's senior vice president of upstream, Mohammed al-Qahtani, told the International Petroleum Technology Conference in the Saudi city of Dhahran on Tuesday.

"Saudi crude, we're the lowest, and we continue to be driving that trend and coming up with technologies that will help us reduce that environmental footprint," he said.

"These are legitimate concerns, and we are part of the solution."