London-based Nick Cooper, who is the CEO of Storegga, which develops decarbonisation projects around the world, recently returned from a British government trade mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The delegation was led by MP Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The trip focused on Saudi Arabia’s energy transition and how they could use UK decarbonisation technologies and expertise to help their ambitious plans to reach net zero by 2060.
This is a relatively big move for the world’s largest oil producer, so a good time to AM City to talk to Cooper about the trip.
What was the purpose of the trip to Saudi Arabia?
The trip was a British trade delegation, following COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. The purpose of the trip was to establish and strengthen meaningful trade routes to help Saudi Arabia and indeed the world decarbonize. Climate change is a global problem, we all breathe the air of an atmosphere.
“It is only through cooperation and collaboration that we will have a chance to fight climate change effectively.”
And the UK has a very important role to play in this global effort. In specific areas of the decarbonisation industry, the UK leads the rest of the world, and the trip was an opportunity for us to define and explain our carbon management expertise.
Who left the UK and why were you involved?
This was a joint mission between the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Department for International Trade, led by MP Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng, Secretary of State in the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. I have been invited to participate as lead developer of the British Scottish Cluster Carbon Capture & Storage project.
“Saudi Arabia is planning a series of carbon capture and storage projects, which have similarities to aspects of the Scottish cluster and the East Coast cluster.”
The project involves the capture of CO2 from power stations and heavy industry, it also includes hydrogen and Europe’s first large-scale direct air capture (DAC) capability. The project has enormous potential to remove large volumes of CO2 of the atmosphere. The Scottish Cluster was particularly interested in its blue hydrogen plant, where natural gas is reformed to produce hydrogen and CO2 is separated and stored, its ability to import the CO shipped2 other locations and its DAC plant, which will suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and be permanently stored underground.
This is a fabulous opportunity for the UK with great potential. Projects of the scale planned by Saudi Arabia will be a huge job creator both domestically but also in the UK supply chain.
What can UK businesses do to help Saudi Arabia decarbonise?
Simply put, the UK, with the support of the UK government, is leading the world in its industrial ‘cluster’ and carbon capture and storage model and there are many lessons to be learned from this process. .
“There are strong diplomatic and commercial ties between Saudi Arabia and the UK.”
A collaboration would allow the Kingdom to share the lessons we have learned and benefit from our more advanced and mature model and supply chain. Collaboration is key to net zero success and I was truly impressed with the scale of Saudi Arabia’s ambition and openness to learning lessons from advanced projects like the Scottish Cluster and the East Coast. Cluster. It could also provide an opportunity for the UK, an opportunity to export technology, knowledge and skills from the UK.
What renewable energy and carbon reduction technologies are likely to work best there?
Solar and wind, where Saudi Arabia already has a series of major projects, will produce low-cost renewable electricity. A derivative of renewable electricity is green hydrogen, in which hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. These projects should be located on the Red Sea coast.
“The UK is seen as a leader in decarbonisation progress, and trips like this help define our position within the global decarbonisation community.”
Much like the UK government has done with its cluster sequencing process, the Saudis are considering large-scale CCS applications on the Gulf Coast where the existing oil and gas infrastructure is located. Large-scale CCS will help the country decarbonize its hard-to-reduce industries such as construction, chemicals, and manufacturing to help achieve its national goal of net zero by 2060 and help decarbonize its very sizable hydrocarbon exports. .
Does this have the potential to boost jobs and growth in the UK?
The collaboration is a fabulous opportunity for the UK with great potential. If you consider that the first phase of the Scottish cluster is expected to create 15,000 direct jobs in Scotland and many more thousands of indirect jobs, CCS projects of the scale planned by Saudi Arabia will be a huge job creator both domestically, but also in the UK supply chain. Job creation is an essential part of the transition away from oil and gas.
Did you leave with hope that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, has a chance of meeting its 2060 net zero goal?
I left Saudi Arabia impressed by the scale and ambition of their plans. And I left full of hope. Dramatic changes are already happening, and they certainly have the potential to reach net zero by 2060 or even earlier. We live in a world with a big problem, we all need to work together.