US discusses energy transition with Saudi Arabia
On the eve of a pivotal meeting among OPEC and its allies, US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said March 31 she had a “productive call” with her Saudi counterpart on the energy transition.
Granholm said she spoke by phone with Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi energy minister, to discuss international cooperation on affordable and reliable energy sources.
“We also discussed closer collaboration to solve common challenges and develop renewable energy sources, increase efficiency, reduce methane in oil and gas production, and develop clean forms of hydrogen to combat climate change,” she said in a social media post.
Her comments followed an announcement from US president Joe Biden that a proposed $2 trillion spending plan to modernise infrastructure would include tax incentives for clean vehicles. The federal fleet, he added, will transition to clean electric and hydrogen vehicles as part of the plan.
On methane, the US oil and gas sector is making strides. On March 22, the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association found that if the Permian basin, among the most prolific oil and gas plays in the US, were a country, it would not be in the top 30 in terms of methane emissions intensity, a measure of emissions relative to oil and natural gas production.
Russia, the second-largest natural gas producer, has an emission level 1.5 times higher than the US.
Russian president Vladimir Putin said April 1 he discussed similar issues by phone with Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
“They paid particular attention to the prospects for interaction on global climate change and environmental protection, including green energy,” the Kremlin said. “Mohammad bin Salman al Saud told the Russian president about Saudi Arabia’s recent environmental initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the Middle East, greening territories, and increasing the share of renewable energy sources.”
The official Saudi Press Agency reported that both sides discussed the so-called Middle East Green Initiative that aims to lessen the region’s environmental footprint and enhance vegetation cover as a way to address global climate challenges.
Saudi Arabia and Russia lead an OPEC-led committee that decides on production levels. Ministers met April 1 by video conference to review next month’s output.