Mukesh Ambani pushes for clean, affordable energy; tech to restore carbon balance

Last Updated 26 June 2020, 13:55 IST

In his biggest push for clean and affordable energy, billionaire Mukesh Ambani on Friday said it was imperative to adopt technologies that can recycle to set the carbon balance right.

With Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, Energy Minister of the world's largest oil exporter Saudi Arabia, listening, Ambani said there is a need to provide efficient, clean, and affordable energy.

"The way I see is that in the progress that humankind has made (between) industrial revolutions, we have disturbed the carbon cycle and now it is time to use technology... to reset that balance and adopt the carbon cycle right," he said speaking at the FII Investment Institute Conference over a video link.

He went on to stress the need for technologies that can recycle carbon dioxide.

Statement by the Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Ltd, India's most valuable company, is significant considering that his firm operates the world's biggest oil refining complex at Jamnagar in Gujarat.

"I think that, where we are, if we take a clean sheet of paper and adopt technologies whereby we can complete the energy cycle, we can adopt new technologies particularly biochemical photosynthesis. Instead of treating carbon dioxide as a liability - we can make that as raw material," he said.

"It's not only imperative for us to be net carbon zero but I think that we should opt to recycle carbon."

Ambani said for those in the energy business, it is not so much about the decarbonisation but about completing the cycle for zero carbon emission.

"Energy is an essential requirement for all 8 billion people on this earth. There is a need to provide efficient, clean, affordable energy. And we have to do it in a responsible way. That's the business. We should not confuse that between clean and unclean," he said.

The oil-to-telecom conglomerate head said no one solution will fit all.

"The important thing also is to allow energy equally. That means, everybody has to have access to clean energy for their quality of life at an affordable price," he said.

Ambani's company buys a significant quantity of crude oil from Saudi Arabia for processing at its twin refinery complex at Jamnagar.

It is in talks to sell a fifth of its oil-to-chemical business to Saudi Aramco for an asking of USD 15 billion.

"The new supply of energy on an affordable basis is the prosperity of the planet. And only after these two, there can be prosperity for the companies and the shareholders, and I think with where we are today, in the coming decades we have no choice, but to meet these challenges to complete the carbon cycle.

"And serve the energy needs of all its customers rather than thinking in terms of fossil and renewable and wind and so forth," he added.

Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF has picked up a 2.3 per cent stake in Ambani's digital arm Jio Platforms Ltd.

"For us, particularly in India, we have high growth so it is important that one works with consumers in spreading awareness. This virus itself has helped everybody realise the benefit of low carbon mindset," he said.

"Real touch with the community, understanding the community on the ground level and understanding different sectors of the economy and getting them involved in the energy movement is critical as for having a part of restoring the carbon cycle."

(Published 26 June 2020, 13:44 IST)

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