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.