Energy leaders gather in Houston for the ‘Oil Man’s Davos’

Energy leaders gather in Houston for the ‘Oil Man’s Davos’
Visitors at the booth of US electric carmaker Tesla Motors at the Geneva Car Show. Electric cars sales are accelerating, posing questions for some of the oil exporters gathering in Houston this week. (AFP)
Updated 05 March 2018

Energy leaders gather in Houston for the ‘Oil Man’s Davos’

Energy leaders gather in Houston for the ‘Oil Man’s Davos’

DUBAI: Around 4,000 leaders of the global energy industry will gather in Houston, Texas today for the CERWeek by IHS Markit — the annual event that has been called the “Oil Man’s Davos.”
Top of the agenda, under the theme “Tipping Point — Strategies for a new energy future,” will be the new dynamics of the oil industry, with the emergence of the US as an energy-exporting power and a realignment of the traditional exporters under the new-found alliance between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the two biggest oil producers.
There will be a big contingent from the Kingdom and the other energy players in the Gulf. The Saudi Aramco team will be led by Amin Nasser, the chief exec-
utive, with a UAE delegation under energy minister Suhail Al-Mazrouei.
The creation of Daniel Yergin, the energy expert best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Prize,” the event is in its 37th year, having been launched when Yergin and partners started Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy policy think- tank, in 1983.
Yergin said: “Nasser will deliver a keynote that will be of intense interest. He will have a most attentive audience. I will introduce him by pointing to the historic significance of having the CEO of Aramco speaking in Houston.
“The oil industry is being reshaped by the new relationship between OPEC and non-OPEC producers, and the rebound of shale, which has its own dynamics. Investors are making new demands on shale producers. We will hear a lot about the need for long-term investment,” he added.
“Last year the big discussion was about peak demand, this year it has shifted to energy transition. But what does that mean and when will it happen? There will be a lot of debate about renewables and climate policy,” Yergin said.
The announcement of President Trump on introducing tariffs on steel and aluminum, signaling a possible “trade war” between the US and the rest of the world, will also figure high on the agenda.
“There will be a lot of concern about the impact of trade battles on energy flows. The question is: What is happening to globalization?” Yergin added.
There will also be intense interest in the effects electronic vehicles will have on energy trends, with demand for traditional petrol engines set for long-term decline.
“There will be a huge focus on the new mobility and how that will affect cars and oil demand. There are key questions around the timings of electronic vehicles. I’m very much looking forward to hearing Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors. People will hang on every word,” Yergin said.
There will be a big emphasis on innovation and technology in the energy industry, with 180 speakers at the events in Agora, the conference’s high-tech center. “It shows you where the head of the energy is at: Innovation,” said Yergin.
Leading policymakers will also be present at the meeting, including Rick Perry, US energy secretary, Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, and Mohammad Barkindo, secretary general of Opec.