Saudi Arabia Increases Coal Production

Spotlight Activity: Saudi Arabia Increases Coal Production

Saudi Arabia produces virtually no coal for its own energy use.  It chooses instead to import 123.4 thousand short tons per year, with that value increasing almost every year throughout the 2010 decade. Saudi Arabia consumes only a small amount of coal for its energy use per year as of 2016 (123 thousand short tons per year), which fulfills less than 0.1% of its energy needs.

Saudi Arabia chooses to rely instead on its immense reserves of oil and natural gas for its energy. However, it does not seem that Saudi Arabia is phasing out its coal usage, as the amount it consumes has been increasing. The Saudi Petroleum Company also just signed a contract at the end of 2018 to establish the largest calcined coal production plant in the Middle East, which signifies that it does not plan on phasing out its coal usage anytime soon. It will need to import the coal needed for this process. However, the calcined coal produced by Saudi’s new plant will add to Saudi’s CO2 emissions at a time when most countries are being asked to reduce CO2 (Coal contributes significantly more CO2 to the atmosphere than oil and gas).

It would be quite feasible for Saudi Arabia to phase out its coal usage, considering the availability and cost-effectiveness of emerging renewable energy sources. However, its use of coal seems to be an attempt to diversify its energy production away from its very large reserves of oil and natural gas, and perhaps to use coal as a source of revenue from fees it would accrue from other Middle East countries buying coal from its new calcined coal production plant.

Status: Falling Behind

Saudi Arabia’s current low coal production and usage level is currently an encouraging sign that coal represents a small amount in its energy use per year. However, the slowly but steadily increasing trend in Saudi production and consumption levels of coal sends the Kingdom on the wrong path on its Paris Agreement commitments. This is corroborated by the recently announced plans to build the largest calcined coal plant in the Middle East. While the Kingdom’s aim to diversify its energy production away from its excessive dependence on its vast oil and natural gas reserves is understandable, it is totally unnecessary given the availability and cost-effectiveness of emerging renewable energy sources.

Take Action

We encourage Saudi Arabia to completely phase out its coal and instead focus its efforts on renewable energy sources. This is quite a feasible step since Saudi Arabia has the capital and resources to make a serious push towards renewable energy if it makes that its primary goal. Despite many ambitious renewable energy projects implemented in the last year, Saudi Arabia has announced a plan to build the largest calcined coal plant in the Middle East. Environmental leaders across industries should send letters to the Minister of Energy urging to reverse course on its intended goal to expand coal production and instead redirect the resources to build renewable energy projects.

Send Action Alert Message to:

Khalid A. Al-Falih

Minister of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources

For further information contact Climate Scorecard’s Saudi Arabia Partner Organization————- OR Climate Scorecard Country Managers for Saudi Arabia, Abeer   Abdulkareem and Amgad Ellaboudy

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