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| 2 minutes read

Middle East Moves...

On the eve of COP28 being held in the Middle East, I've been reflecting on the energy transition landscape in the region, and particularly in Saudi.

Saudi Arabia has been in the spotlight recently. Unless you've lived under a rock these past 18 months, you'll have seen the tremendous drive they've shown towards collaboration with the wider world, particularly the West. 

Whether it be shaking up the sporting landscape or the continual drive for inbound tourism and hospitality, the Saudis mean business. This also seems to be the case for the clean energy transition. Of course, fossil fuels are still the main driver which is a concern, but there appears to be a concerted effort to “go greener”. 

As part of the country's Vision 2030 for “economic diversification, global engagement, and enhanced quality of life", there is a clear commitment towards clean energy and sustainability. This vision has seen some huge projects announced, no bigger than the world-leading NEOM project - a US$ 500 billion mega project in world-class futuristic urban infrastructure. This project includes some of the world's largest clean energy developments from a network of global engineering and technology companies spanning Solar, Wind, and Green H2 electrolysis. They have also committed to one of the world's largest single-contracted Solar PV plants, worth over US$900 million which is predicted to provide 70% of the Kingdom's total renewable energy by 2030.

There are just two examples of the sheer scale of investments in clean energy projects in the region, as they aim for 50% of their energy coming from renewables by the end of the decade.

The Kingdom has also been on a mission to attract foreign talent and investment into the region, with newly amended policies and incentives making it easier for international companies to set up regional HQs in the country. They aim to have 160 global companies operating from Saudi Arabia by the end of 2024.  Additionally, Saudi Arabia has worked on improving investment transparency, now adopting the IMF's methodology for reporting foreign direct investment (FDI), making it a prime investment destination.

It isn't just a Saudi shift, but also a reflection of the broader Middle East movement - for example, the UAE has committed over US$50 billion in global renewables projects in more than 70 countries to date, plus another $50 billion targeted by 2030. It also hopes to generate 50% of its energy from clean sources by 2050. 

I cut my teeth in Search in the O&G and Petrochemicals space several years ago and gained solid experience hiring in the Middle East. If there was one thing I learned about the likes of Saudi and UAE, its the fact there is very much a “Go big or go home!” mindset. 

Therefore, I sincerely hope the Vision becomes reality (and isn't undermined by underhand O&G dealings as alleged in the lead up to COP28). I'd like to see a Norway-style approach in the region - reutilising the vast wealth generated and infrastructure built for fossil fuels, for cleaner industry developments. If the financial commitments we've seen so far are anything to go by, then it's certainly encouraging.

Whatever your views are on this activity, its impossible to ignore!

Hyperion Executive Search has worked in climate tech and cleantech for the past decade, helping companies to scale their leadership teams. We're particularly proud to work with companies transitioning from traditional energy to newer, cleaner sectors and in this context, the Middle East presents fantastic opportunities. 


Minister of Investment, Khalid Al-Falih, emphasized the importance of developing a robust supply chain for EV batteries in a recent interview. The government recognizes the immense potential for manufacturing expansion in this sector. To further support the growing auto industry, Saudi Arabia is prioritizing renewable energy and mining minerals essential for battery chemical development.