OPINION: Saudi Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser this week made a bold statement that ensuring the continued security of China’s energy needs remains the company’s highest priority for the next 50 years and beyond.

“We appreciate that sustainable energy solutions are crucial to a faster and smoother global energy transition... but realistically this will take some time since there are few alternatives to oil in many areas,” Nasser said in a video speech to the China Development Forum in Beijing.

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His proclamation came as the world’s largest oil company revealed it was slashing its 2021 investments to around $35 billion from the previously guided $40 billion to $45 billion.

Contractors and sub-contractors are seen to be the likely losers if Aramco continues to tighten its purse strings and puts the brakes on greenfield projects.

Record production

Last year — and amid the global coronavirus pandemic — Aramco achieved record daily production of both oil and gas and this was achieved with full-year capex of $27 billion, down $6 billion on the previous year.

The Saudi giant hailed its optimisation and efficiency programmes as being the drivers of this lower spending.

Although investment in new facilities will ultimately be required, Aramco has amply demonstrated it is able to drive production growth from existing assets.

It might be shelling out fewer dollars in 2021 but Aramco’s robust oil and gas output and the company’s lofty ambitions will likely not be dented as a result.

(This is an Upstream opinion article.)