OPEC downgrades renewable potential to overtake oil

Renewables will not come anywhere close to overtaking oil and gas in the decades ahead, Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Dr Mohammad Barkindo, has declared.


Barkindo added that oil and gas sector would still supply over 50 per cent of the global energy needs by 2045. Barkindo made the assertion while presenting a special address at S&P Global Platts Americas Petroleum and Energy, held virtually. He spoke on the topic: ‘The pursuit of global multilateralism to help drive the global energy transition.’


“There are some who believe the oil and gas industries should not be part of the energy future, that they should be consigned to the past, and that the future is one that can be dominated by renewables and electric vehicles. “It is important to state clearly that the science does not tell us this, and the statistics related to the blight of energy poverty do not tell us this either.


“We fully support the science. We do not deny the existence of climate change. “What the science and statistics tell us that we need to reduce emissions and use energy more efficiently. “Renewables are coming of age, with wind and solar expanding quickly, but – even by 2045 – in our WOO they are only estimated to make up just over 20per cent of the global energy mix. “Oil and gas combined are forecast to still supply over 50 per cent of the world’s energy needs by 2045, with oil at around 27 per cent and gas at 25 per cent.


“We appreciate that some will view this as an OPEC forecast, dispute the numbers and state that the Organization is against renewable,’’ he said. He noted that many OPEC member countries had great solar and wind resources and huge investments being made in this field. According to him, OPEC welcomes the development of renewables. “However, we do not see any reputable outlook projecting in their base cases that renewables will come anywhere close to overtaking oil and gas in the decades ahead,’’ he added.


In terms of electric vehicles, the OPEC scribe said that there was no doubt that they would continue to see expansion in the transportation sector. He noted that the share of electric vehicles in the total road transportation fleet was projected to expand to around 16 per cent in 2045. “We support their development in a sustainable manner.


“However, for many of the world’s population, electric vehicles do not offer a viable alternative to the internal combustion engine, primarily due to cost.


“There is also debate about how environmentally friend  ly they are considering their build process, especially the required batteries, and the sourcing of the vehicles’ electricity. “In the period to 2045, fuel efficiency improvements are expected to result in a far greater reduction in oil demand, than the increasing penetration of alternative fuel vehicles,’’ he added.


Barkindo further said that at the scale of the challenge of the energy transition, there was the need to utilise all available energies, adding that it was crucial to appreciate just what each energy source could provide in the decades ahead. He noted that the challenge of tackling emissions had many paths that needed to be explored. “Complex problems require comprehensive solutions.


“The oil and gas industries are part of the solution; they possess critical resources and expertise that can help unlock our carbon-free future. “We need to look for cleaner and more efficient technological solutions everywhere, across all available energies. “We will need a very broad portfolio of emission removal technologies to tackle climate change.


“We are believers that solutions can be found in technologies, such as carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) and others, as well in the promotion of the Circular Carbon Economy to improve overall environmental performance.


“It is vital that the required investments are made, in all energies, to ensure stable and continuous supplies, and to help reduce and, ultimately, eliminate emissions,’’ he said. He further noted that nobody should be left in the global energy transmission drive for better result.




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