Saudi Arabia’s green jobs market is developing as Saudi Aramco, the country’s largest employer, is implementing sustainable initiatives that will generate green jobs within the energy industry. This initiative has four components: energy efficiency, environmental performance, human capital development, and commercial ecosystems. Within the company’s Flare Minimization Program, multiple flare gas recovery systems are installed at offshore Safaniyah facilities on the Arabian Gulf to become more energy efficient. Cogeneration Program captures the heat from the operating plants’ exhaust stream and converts it into useful thermal energy, thereby reducing fuel burned and emissions. The company is also implementing Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies at Hawiyah gas plant in the northern region of the country and developing Mobile Carbon Capture (MCC) technology to capture up to 25 percent of the CO2 emitted from a vehicle’s exhaust then turn it into a variety of industrial and commercial applications.
The company’s Upstream Professional Development Center offers training sessions to develop the skills of participants entering the exploration and petroleum engineering fields. The In-Kingdom Total Value Add (iktva) Program is designed to drive supply-chain efficiency and prepare 360,000 trainees to enter labor market by 2030. However, lack of the political will and skilled labor shortage might impede the growth of green jobs in the Kingdom. Absence of an immediate pressure to seek and secure alternative sources of energy makes the Kingdom reluctant to invest in non-conventional energy. Insufficient skilled workers hinder the ability of the Kingdom to operate and manage its ambitious green energy programs. Saudi Arabia will need a technical workforce of 218,650 by the year 2030. This would create a demand for 14,577 graduates per year for the next coming 10 years which far above the present capacity of local universities providing technical graduates.
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Saudi Arabia has a huge potential to create green jobs for its booming workforce. As a country with ample open space and abundant sunlight, it should be one of the leading countries in solar energy production and jobs. The recent solar projects the country has been engaged in shows some fulfillment of that potential. It is impressive as well that ARAMCO has been engaged in sustainable initiatives that work to reduce its emissions and have a dedicated workforce in that sector. That being said, even these green jobs are centered around producing energy from fossil fuels, which will always be a source of pollution and greenhouse gases, so the impact these jobs on curbing climate change is limited.
The ministries of energy and environment shouldn’t be the only ones concerned with the effects of climate change. In order to mitigate the potential effects of climate change, the ministry of labor and social development also needs to be involved. The ministry needs to ensure that the necessary training and capital investment go into developing the workforce needed to fulfill the renewable energy projects that have been in the works, and slowly move away from developing jobs for the fossil fuel sector. There is also a huge potential for training and development of a workforce that will develop better natural resources conservation practices, seeing that Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that is very deficient in water and other natural resources.
Send Action Alert Message to:
Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi
Minister of Human Resources and Social Development
Phone Number: 00966112006666 – 920001173
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Saudi Arabia Country Managers Abeer Abdulkareem and Amgad Ellaboudy