Saudi Aramco Technologies Company, a unit of the world's largest oil exporter, signed an agreement with Japanese car maker Mazda and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) to develop advanced low-emission engines, as the energy company explores more sustainable business models.
The agreement was an effort by Aramco, which produces and sells crude on behalf of the Saudi state to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector” as well as work towards an "affordable mobility future", Ahmad Al Khowaiter, Aramco’s chief technology officer said in a statement on Wednesday.
Aramco, which produces about 12.9 per cent of the world's oil has been looking at projects on developing engines that burn less oil at its research centre in Detroit. Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, has built an undisclosed stake of between 3 to 5 per cent in electric car maker Tesla this year, the Financial Times reported. The Middle East's biggest producer seeks to embrace electric vehicles, a segment it had earlier viewed as a threat to its oil export business.
With Japan’s Mazda, Aramco will bid to provide “low carbon content new fuels”, with the car maker likely to contribute a high-efficiency advanced prototype of an engine. All research and tests will be conducted and optimised at the headquarters for AIST in Tokyo.
The three parties are targeting 2020 as the completion timeline.
The full programme comprises carbon dioxide assessment through refinery modelling, engine testing, spray diagnostics, and computational fluid dynamics simulation, Aramco said in a statement.