Dubai: Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia is among the world’s least energy-efficient countries due to its waste and misuse of fossil fuel, the country’s oil minister Ali Al Nuaimi said in remarks published Sunday.
“In the kingdom, it takes an average of 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalents to produce $1,000 of national income, whereas the [global average] rate is 1.3 million barrels,” Al Nuaimi said in a speech in Riyadh, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency SPA.
The Gulf state’s energy consumption will double by 2030 if hydrocarbon use continues rising at the current rate, he added.
Saudi Arabia’s water and electricity minister Abdullah Al Hussain said the kingdom will need to invest 500 billion Saudi riyals [$133.3 billion] over the next 10 years to meet domestic electricity demand, which is currently rising at an annual rate of 9 per cent, SPA reported.
Power consumption in the member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries could surge to 90,000 megawatts in 10 years from the current 52,000 megawatts, he added.
The kingdom burnt 722,400 barrels a day in power stations and water-desalination plants from May to September this year, up 3.2 per cent from a year earlier, according to official data submitted to the Joint Organizations Data Initiative. Its imports of fuel oil, used at power plants, also surged during the same period, signalling growing demand for energy, which is needed to fuel electricity stations and industrial complexes in the country’s rapidly growing economy.
Saudi Arabia, which has a capacity to produce 12.5 million barrels per day of crude oil, is currently pumping around 9.7 million barrels a day, similar to what it produced in October.
Analysts have said the Gulf state is on track to surpass its record oil output this year, offsetting a decline from Iran because of international sanctions, despite pressure from other oil exporters to cut back and help bolster world oil prices.
High Saudi output helps keep oil prices down, which is good news for fragile economies in the U.S. and Europe that rely on the kingdom to help keep up supply as they implement sanctions designed to pressure Iran over its nuclear programme.
Other Gulf countries have also increased their output in recent months after calls by the US and other governments to make up for displaced Iranian barrels in anticipation of sanctions.