Inside Story / Al Jazeera – 2011-12-07 01:07:47
Is Oil the Future of Energy?
As the World Petroleum Congress gets underway in Qatar, we ask if there is enough oil to meet global demand
Inside Story / Al Jazeera
“The price of energy has gone up certainly in the last few years [and] whether this is the right price or not is very difficult to talk about. What we have to worry about is [that] the price of energy should not affect the economic growth of the world and should not affect developing countries. When we talk about developing countries, especially the poor countries, the real issue is not energy on its own but all the development process.”
— Ibrahim Ibrahim, an economic advisor to the emir of Qatar
DOHA (December 6, 2011) — For the first time in its history, the Middle East is hosting the World Petroleum Congress. The 5,000 participants gathered in the Qatari capital, Doha, will be talking about the most pressing issues facing the energy sector today. The last congress was held in Madrid in 2008, and much has changed since then.
With the Middle East undergoing a wave of political upheaval, the emir of Qatar was quick to reassure the world’s biggest consumers that energy supplies will continue to flow. So, are we stuck with high energy prices? And will there be enough to meet global demand years from now?
Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests: Ibrahim Ibrahim, an economic advisor to the emir of Qatar; Jon Clark, an oil and gas analyst for Ernst & Young; and Saadallah al-Fathi, an energy analyst and former head of the energy studies department at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
DOHA, Qatar (December 5, 2011) â€“
By the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani,
Emir of the State of Qatar,
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Peace be upon you.
I am pleased to welcome you all to the opening of the 20th World Petroleum Congress Conference, and I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al- Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, for his prestigious patronage of this conference. I would also like to express my deep appreciation for everyone who has taken part in achieving this historical event of making the State of Qatar the host of this global conference. A warm welcome to you all here in Doha.
The slogan of this conference, “Energy Solutions for All,” has been developed bearing in mind the vital role that energy plays in development and its link to the three main pillars of sustainable development: Social, Economic and Environmental. All countries worldwide and the international community are urged to implement intensive efforts to overcome the challenges of harmonizing patterns of energy use and the distribution and consumption of energy with the requirements of sustainable development.
The link between energy production and usage, on one hand, and sustainable development, on the other hand, has focused on two major factors: Firstly, there is a need to provide the energy services required to meet human basic necessities and to achieve economic and social development as the basis of prosperity. The other factor is the need to produce energy and use energy resources properly and in an ecologically safe manner, so that it wonâ€™t exceed the natural capacity of the global environmental system.
Therefore, we would like to stress the importance of enhancing levels of cooperation among all concerned parties, including energy producers and consumers, the owners of advanced technology, financial institutions, and policy makers, to promote a just exchange of benefits and mutual interests, thereby achieving a state of genuine partnership based on unified targets and objectives.
Our conference today fits in the context of supporting this cooperation to achieve our mutual objectives, so allow me to shed light on the three elements that we aim to enhance through this conference: cooperation, innovation and investment.
Research and development in the energy sector, in addition to building national capabilities, the transfer of technologies from advanced countries to underdeveloped countries, the sharing of information and experience and the provision of financial resources, are all major fields of cooperation in the industry. These scopes/ domains have been presented for deliberations on various levels and through many regional and international forums. However, success in achieving these objectives still requires strong political will to translate words into actions, transform agreements into working plans, and to turn decisions into unified strategies and mechanisms that are set to be performed with a clear vision for the future. Otherwise, our talks about what needs to be done in order to enhance scopes of cooperation will remain on a standstill, not moving to actual cooperation levels that can serve our present as well as our future.
Talking about innovation, there is an urgent need for scientific and research development, which would spur the innovation process and expedite the development of applicable technologies in various fields, such as in increasing energy consumption efficiency and in developing renewable energy sources. However, transforming innovations into technological applications to cope with the growing demand on energy depends to a large extent on the policies set by countries in launching research projects, in providing funds for energy research, and in promoting strong cooperation and partnerships among various academic institutions, on one hand, and the energy sector, on other hand, to ensure that the best technologies are made available to this industry.
Investment and finance represent the cornerstone in developing energy at various forms. In conventional energy, mainly oil and gas, we have found that research, exploration and the development of infrastructure are characterized by intensive capital, in addition to the need to finance the technology used in improving the efficiency of traditional energy resources, boosting production operations, and in mitigating the environmental impact of fossil fuels.
On other hand, the development of renewable energy sources needs huge investments to accelerate the realization of more modern innovations and subsequently achieve a big step forward in expanding renewable energy usage worldwide.
The International Energy Agency has estimated that the amount of global investments needed to meet the growing demand on energy between 2011 and 2035 is around 38 trillion dollars, of which 20 trillion dollars is required for oil and gas-related investments. This means that the huge investments allocated by producers of traditional energy for developing their natural resources will need to be met with accurate information on the needs of consumers and with future plans to reduce margins of investment risks. The future of the energy industry is a mutual responsibility that depends on the pledges we undertake as producers or consumers on the extent of cooperation and dialogue among governments and international organizations, and among international and national oil companies.
Facing the challenges and overcoming the obstacles confronting the energy industry are not simple tasks. These require us to work together, unified by common objectives and destiny. We are confident that this industry enjoys a high degree of flexibility and vitality. We see a bright future for it and this will enable us to effectively deal with changes and to overcome all difficulties we face, no matter how great they may be.
Finally, I wish everyone a successful participation in the conference, and I hope that all issues and topics set in its program will succeed in drawing out efficient and effective solutions.
Thank you very much for your participation, and I wish you all the best.
I now have the honor of inviting His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir and the pioneer of Qatarâ€™s new renaissance, to give his opening speech for the conference. Your Highness . . . .
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