Saudi government spends SR220bn on fuel subsidies

The Kingdom spends SR220 billion a year to subsidize gasoline and diesel, a Shoura Council member said here recently.
Fahad bin Juma’, deputy chairman of the committee for energy and economic affairs, said the country uses an estimated 2.8 million barrels of petrol and gas a day during the summer season to desalinate water and to generate electricity. The consumption drops to two million barrels a day at other times during the year.
Bin Juma’ told local media on the sidelines of a solar energy conference in Riyadh that the Kingdom is looking for alternative energy sources, either from clean energy produced from nuclear power, or through wind and solar energy.
He said the Kingdom has started using solar energy on Fursan Island on the Red Sea in the south of the Kingdom.
He said research and money is needed to exploit this energy source and that the private sector needs to invest in the field. Bin Juma’ said investors would face various challenges including dust, wind and the strong sun in the region.
He said the Kingdom was trying to reduce energy consumption by calling on citizens and residents to use electricity sparingly in their homes and workplaces, and to use public transport.
He said another way to cut consumption would be to raise prices. “The price of gasoline and diesel could be increased and while this measure may not reduce energy consumption, it will ease traffic congestion in cities.”
Bin Juma’ said the world would not stop using petrol, no matter how advanced the other alternatives.