Muscat – Oman has announced various initiatives to achieve its net zero emissions target by 2050, including the National Net Zero Plan and an ambitious green hydrogen strategy, which targets investments worth RO54bn and creating 70,000 permanent jobs.
However, transitioning away from carbon will not be simple for Oman, according to H E Sayyid Badr al Busaidi, Foreign Minister.
Delivering the keynote speech at the 31st Annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference, organised by the National Council on US-Arab Relations in Washington DC on Thursday, H E Sayyid Badr said, “(For Oman) It is not simply a matter of making a transition away from the consumption of fossil fuels, it is about transforming the very basis of our present prosperity.”
He added that Oman doesn’t have the comparative luxury of societies whose relationship to fossil fuels is essentially a matter of consumption. For them, the transition may turn out to be mainly a transition from one model of energy use to another, he said.
“We have to work out how we can continue to provide our citizens with work, with incomes, with public services, with healthcare, with education, and with the good life they have come to enjoy in a world beyond fossil fuels,” he said.
This means, he added, that as the Arab states of the Gulf look to the future, the complex process of decarbonisation may need to involve a “profound reorganisation of our entire economy and social relations”.
Some of the outlines of this reorganisation are already coming into focus in Oman, he said, adding that he can already see that what lies ahead may be very exciting.
Oman, for example, has some of the world’s highest potential for the generation of solar and wind energy. Year-round sunshine and a long coastline turn out to be more than just an appealing holiday proposition. “One study concludes our green hydrogen potential is ten-fold our current oil and gas production. I urge you all to come and partner with us to realise this potential.”
H E Sayyid Badr acknowledged that much work has to be done. “Storage capacity and effective technologies for energy export will be required. Oman is building partnerships with some of the world’s leading research and development organisations to make this happen. I want to see more American firms among them.”
About technological developments, which will be crucial elsewhere too as Oman moves to diversify its economy, he said, “We want to build partnerships with the technology innovators of the future, inviting them to bring their ideas and their business to Oman.”
He noted that the new economy, towards which Oman is planning its transition, should be an economy that offers all its citizens the opportunity to flourish. “In Oman, we believe that this can be best achieved by developing and maintaining the highest levels of social inclusion.
“The path to stability and security goes via social inclusion and solidarity between people and families. That is the path that Oman has chosen.”