Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief

Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief
OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo
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Updated 21 September 2021

Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief

Global conversation on energy transition is ‘misrepresented’: OPEC chief

DUBAI: While the global transition to clean energy is crucial, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo said the current conversation around it is “misrepresented” and “distorted” by emotions. 

“Emotions have taken over industry fronts,” Barkindo said at a high-profile energy conference in Dubai on Tuesday, adding the global conversation has been skewed to mean “we have to transit from one set of energy sources to another.”

This has affected investor sentiment in some energy sources, the OPEC chief added, and will have implications for the ability of the oil industry to invest across value chains.

The pressure is being amplified by hundreds of climate litigations around the world, Barkindo said, as well as by civil societies and activists who are taking over the discussions.

In a previous speech, Barkindo referred to a Dutch court ordering Royal Dutch Shell to cut its global carbon emissions by 45 percent by the end of 2030 compared to 2019 levels, describing it as a “dramatic and far-reaching decision.”

These court decisions, he said, “could further shape energy policy directions and investment trends that are exclusionary in nature."

“This world will continue to consume energy. We project that demand will increase by 28 percent by 2045, and oil and gas will remain the dominant sources of energy,” Barkindo added. 

He said oil will contribute 28 percent of global energy needs by 2045, highlighting the importance of a balanced and inclusive approach in the global energy transition. Around 26 to 27 percent will be from gas. 

‘Practically irreplaceable’

“The world needs continuous, predictable, and adequate investments in energy, particularly in oil and gas which he said was practically irreplaceable because of the scale of its contribution to the global energy mix in the next decades”, he added.

Barkindo also called on the investment community “not to crowd out the oil and gas industry, because nobody can tell us how to replace this nearly 50 percent of the global energy mix.”

The comments were made at the Gastech conference in Dubai, attended by major energy and gas players in the industry, as well as ministers from the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, and Indonesia, among others. 

The OPEC chief said the event, which runs until Sept. 23, is the perfect place for the energy industry to “pause and ask the hard questions,” and to realign the global discussions on energy transition. 


'Where's the long-term plans?' BlackRock chief calls out governments over climate change

'Where's the long-term plans?' BlackRock chief calls out governments over climate change
Updated 15 sec ago

'Where's the long-term plans?' BlackRock chief calls out governments over climate change

'Where's the long-term plans?' BlackRock chief calls out governments over climate change

The head of one of the world’s largest asset management companies has called out governments across the globe for not having long-term plans to tackle climate change.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of US-based firm BlackRock, called on world leaders to show more foresight when it comes to solving issues facing humanity.

"Capital is abundant and needs to be put in work,” he said, adding: "We have to re-imagine how to bring finance forward to effectuate the change of climate change risks.

“We do not have that platform in the world. We don't have long-term planning by most governments to effectuate these long-term problems."


$11bn invested in sustainability projects since 2019, says Blackstone Group CEO

$11bn invested in sustainability projects since 2019, says Blackstone Group CEO
Updated 14 min 26 sec ago

$11bn invested in sustainability projects since 2019, says Blackstone Group CEO

$11bn invested in sustainability projects since 2019, says Blackstone Group CEO

RIYADH: Some $11 billion has been ploughed into sustainability-linked projects over the past two years, according to the head of one of the world’s largest alternative investment companies.

Stephen A. Schwarzman, chairman, CEO and co-founder of The Blackstone Group, was speaking at the Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh.


UK's Heathrow Airport flags tepid travel recovery until 2026

UK's Heathrow Airport flags tepid travel recovery until 2026
Getty Images
Updated 32 min 46 sec ago

UK's Heathrow Airport flags tepid travel recovery until 2026

UK's Heathrow Airport flags tepid travel recovery until 2026
  • Heathrow, which last year lost its crown as Europe's busiest hub to Paris, has suffered heavy losses during the pandemic

Britain's Heathrow Airport said it was still reporting losses and does not expect air traffic to recover completely until at least 2026 even as the travel industry gathered steam in the third quarter on easing restrictions.


The London airport said passenger numbers in the third quarter recovered to 28 percent and cargo to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels, although it has lost 3.4 billion pounds ($4.68 billion) cumulatively since the start of the pandemic.


Heathrow, which last year lost its crown as Europe's busiest hub to Paris, has suffered heavy losses during the pandemic and has since tried to claw back gains by raising its charges to airlines.


Last week, the UK aviation regulator said Heathrow will not be permitted to raise passenger charges by as much as it had wanted, but airlines opposed the scale of the hike as the hub and carriers battle to recoup pandemic losses.


"The CAA's (Civil Aviation Authority's) Initial Proposals do not go far enough to ensure that investors can achieve a fair return," Heathrow said in a statement on Tuesday.


The airport, which is owned by Spain's Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp among others, said its shareholders have achieved negative returns in real-term over the last 15 years.


Heathrow, Britain's biggest airport, said it had 4.1 billion pounds of cash to be able to come through until the market recovers.


Dutch pension fund giant ABP to sell $17.5bn of fossil fuel assets

Dutch pension fund giant ABP to sell $17.5bn of fossil fuel assets
Image: Shutterstock
Updated 40 min 19 sec ago

Dutch pension fund giant ABP to sell $17.5bn of fossil fuel assets

Dutch pension fund giant ABP to sell $17.5bn of fossil fuel assets
  • Wortmann had said as recently as June that exiting fossil fuel investments was "not the solution" to global warming

Dutch pension fund ABP, one of the world's largest, will divest 15 billion euros ($17.5 billion) of investments in fossil fuel producers by 2023, it said on Tuesday, citing concern over global warming.


After the planned sale, which represents 3 percent of the fund's total assets, ABP intends to increase investment in renewable energy where possible, chair Corien Wortmann said in a statement.


The decision ahead of next week's COP26 United Nations climate conference marks a major turnaround for the civil servants' fund, which has 528 billion euros in assets under management.


Wortmann had said as recently as June that exiting fossil fuel investments was "not the solution" to global warming, despite pressure from environmental activists and a growing number of the fund's own participants.


Announcing Tuesday's decision she cited concerns of fund participants and their employers.


"The ABP Board sees the need and urgency for a change of course," she said. "We (are parting) with our investments in fossil fuel producers because we see insufficient opportunity for us as a shareholder to push for the necessary, significant acceleration of the energy transition at these companies."


She said that in the future the fund would focus on engagement with large consumers of fossil fuel such as electricity companies, the automobile industry and aviation industry.


"Using our influence as a shareholder, ABP will encourage companies that use fossil fuels to become more sustainable."
The fund said it did not expect the decision to affect its long-term returns.


FII: Forum on ‘Investing on Humanity’ opens in Riyadh

FII: Forum on ‘Investing on Humanity’ opens in Riyadh
Updated 9 min 9 sec ago

FII: Forum on ‘Investing on Humanity’ opens in Riyadh

FII: Forum on ‘Investing on Humanity’ opens in Riyadh

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative kicked off in Riyadh, with the three-day forum themed “Invest in Humanity” which will include talks on artificial intelligence, robotics, education, healthcare and sustainability.

Watch the opening events at FII:

With more than 250 expert speakers from the economic, business, education and corporate worlds, discussions at the platform dubbed the Davos in the Desert will center on investments that aim to create the greatest benefits for humanity, as the global community charts a new course post-COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference opened with a chilling video presentation of natural disasters and the impact of climate change, followed by a performance by Gloria Gaynor’s with her classic ‘I Will Survive.’

Watch Gloria Gaynor’s number at FII:

The American singer was the first recipient of the FII Award for Humanity.