Net Zero: Saudi Aramco transfers $80 billion to sovereign wealth fund


Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.

The Lead

Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that it will transfer four per cent of stock in the state-run oil giant Aramco to a sovereign wealth fund, a transaction expected to be worth nearly $80 billion, as the kingdom attempts to restructure its energy-dependent economy.

The funds will go into the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman uses to invest in everything from Uber to British soccer team Newcastle United.

“His Highness added that the transfer of these shares is part of the kingdom’s long-term strategy aimed at supporting the restructuring of the national economy,” reads a state media report.

Saudi Arabia has benefitted greatly from a recent spike in oil prices, but it also acknowledges growing worldwide concern over climate change being fuelled by burning fossil fuels. According to the report, Prince Mohammed hopes this transaction will pay to create jobs for the kingdom’s youth to pivot away from oil over time. The Associated Press has the full story.

Internationally

According to new satellite data, the number of trees cut down in the Brazilian Amazon in January far exceeded deforestation for the same month last year. Deforestation totalled 430 square kilometres in January, which equates to an area more than seven times the size of Manhattan, New York.

“The new data yet again exposes how the government’s actions contradict its greenwashing campaigns,” explains Cristiane Mazzetti of Greenpeace Brazil. BBC News has more.

A new report from ShareAction, a responsible investment non-profit, suggests European banks are providing billions of dollars of funding to expand oil and gas production, despite warnings from the International Energy Agency to stop funding new facilities. Reuters has the details.

Still in Europe, as the EU prepares a package of sanctions towards Russia, in the event Ukraine is invaded, Austria is resisting the inclusion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Austrian oil company OMV is one of Russian gas giant Gazprom’s partners in the pipeline project connecting Russia to Germany. Reuters also has that story.

Meanwhile, scientists in the U.K. have determined that spring is starting earlier than normal. CTV News explains why.

On Monday morning at 10:28 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$93.42 and Brent Crude was going for US$94.48.

In Canada

Environmentalists are criticizing new rules proposed by the federal government that would double the amount of toxins — such as selenium — the mines are allowed to release. The proposed rules would also not require companies to monitor overall environmental effects. The Canadian Press has the full story.

Ontario Power Generation said a former coal-fired generating station in Lambton, Ont., was “safely imploded.” The station was open from 1969 to 2013. Global News has that story.

Aerium Analytics, an Alberta-based drone company, is hoping to keep birds away from oilsands tailings ponds by using drones that mimic peregrine falcons. The company was warded $1 million in funding last month to collaborate with the University of Alberta to create an autonomous drone to scare off the birds. CBC News has the details.

Finally, one man from Cape Breton has created a website that outlines locations of Bunker C oil burial sites around the island.

“I guess (I was motivated by) the experience here of having just learned in (October 2021) of all of this oil in the ground so near to our homes, and just the feeling of being tiptoed around (by the province),” said Adam Malcolm, a high school science teacher and environmentalist. The Chronicle Herald has more from Cape Breton.

Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$77.89 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$79.00 this morning at 10:28 a.m.

Noteworthy

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