The 6th OPEC International Seminar opened in Vienna, Austria, today under the theme ‘Petroleum: An Engine for Global Development’
The seminar includes two days of presentations and debates on such key issues as oil market stability, production capacity and investment, technology and the environment, and prospects for the world economy.
Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Qatar's minister of energy and industry, alternate president of the OPEC Conference, welcoming speech discussed reasons for optimism despite crude oil prices losing half their value over the last nine months on crude oversupply and speculation. He spoke of the global economic recovery showing encouraging signs, oil demand improving and that there should be a more balanced market in the second half of the year.
H.E. Abdalla S. El-Badri, OPEC secretary general, followed with a speech on how the world will need more energy in the decades ahead, as the global population expands and economies grow, and as countries seek to provide the energy poor with access to modern energy services. In OPEC’s most recent World Oil Outlook, energy demand is set to increase by around 50 per cent between 2015 and 2040. The key questions about our energy future relate to deliverability and sustainability.
He added that fossil fuels will continue to play a dominant role in meeting energy demand, although their overall share will fall from around 82 to 78 per cent during this period. By the 2030s, the share of oil, coal and gas are anticipated to be at similar levels, at around 25 to 27 per cent.
El-Badri stressed that although we need to continue to develop renewables, they cannot be seen as a replacement for fossil fuels. Yes, there are environmental concerns regarding fossil fuels. But there are ways these can be overcome, including pushing for the development and use of cleaner fossil fuel technologies, such as carbon capture and storage.
He also warned producers and investors will want to see signs of certainty, since no-one wants to waste huge amounts of capital on unused plants and equipment. But if these signs are not forthcoming, we could find there is not enough new capacity and infrastructure in place to meet rising demand levels.