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World Energy Congress discusses disruptive technology, shifting economic models

UAE, World Energy Council discuss importance of diversified energy mix, and creative partnerships and investments; forecasts future of Middle East’s oil and gas sector

| | Sep 12, 2019 | 10:38 am
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ABU DHABI, UAE, 12 September 2019:  The World Energy Congress, from September 9 to 12 in Abu Dhabi discussed disruptive technology and shifting economic models on September 11. The United Arab Emirates is host to the 24th edition of the Congress, which is seeing participation of high-level government officials, scientists, entrepreneurs and decision-makers across the diverse mix of industries within the energy sector from over 150 countries.

H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei, UAE Minister of Energy and Industry, inaugurated the Congress. Speaking on the occasion, he underlined how the decision to hold the event in the country was an opportunity to showcase the international community’s support of the UAE’s effort to transition and diversify its energy mix. “For more than 95 years, the Congress has been a platform where government and companies discuss future solutions to take care of some of the most challenging issues facing humanity and planet earth,” he said.

Younghoon David Kim, Chair, World Energy Council, during his welcome address, underscored the importance the discussions being held play in the grand energy transition, adding that this year’s edition is organised under the theme ‘Energy for prosperity’. “Global energy leaders are acutely aware of the pressing need for change to ensure development is sustainable in terms of supply and use of energy,” he added.

During a keynote address, H.E. Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chief Executive Officer, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), highlighted the importance of the UAE being host to the prestigious event. “The Congress will provide important information to engage on key issues on the evolving energy landscape,” he said. “The theme should serve as a reminder to the industry of its responsibility to provide energy needed for sustainable economic growth.” Al Jaber added that this is especially crucial, as society enters the “Age of Disruption”, pointing out that emerging economic powers are shaping a new geopolitical order, and traditional commerce is being challenged by new models. “Car sales are down, but car ride services, like Uber and Careem, are taking off,” he said. “Stores are not as busy as they used to be, but online sales are soaring. In short, conventional manufacturing networks are being fundamentally, challenged and reshaped.” However, he pointed out that in the face of such unprecedented changes, new operating models, no matter how they evolved or transform, will always require energy.

Kim said that The World Energy Council is set to publish the three pathways for energy transition during the Congress, which is set to be a definitive guide on implications of rapid innovation on the energy industry and an annual index measuring how countries balance energy security, reliability and equality. “For the first time, governments can use integrated policy tool to track and compare year-on-year performance,” he said.

Al Jaber added that robust population growth and historic rise of the middle class has led to greater spending power, driving demand for energy. He pointed out that over three times of the current energy consumed by Europe will be added to global energy demand in the next two decades.

To meet such growing demand, Al Jaber said, it is important to integrate and optimise a diversified energy mix, emphasising the leadership role in creating a diverse energy ecosystem, and highlighting the great strides the UAE has made in terms of renewables, particularly solar, and nuclear. “We know that the world will still rely on oil and gas as a majority source for many decades to come,” he said. “In fact, about USD 11 trillion of investment is needed to just to keep up with current projected demand. In the UAE, the leadership set ambitious target to be a reliable and responsible supplier for energy markets. At ADNOC, we are on track to achieving sustainable capacity goal at four million barrels per day by 2020 and five million by 2050.”

Al Mazrouei discussed the UAE’s long-term energy strategy, pointing out that the country’s investment in solutions could be considered unprecedented from a country that is responsible for supplying so much oil and gas to the global market. “We will continue as a reliable supplier of hydrocarbon,” he said. “But our leadership wants us to do it in a way where we, together with national oil company, reduce the carbon footprint by 70% by 2050. So, that’s quite a commitment we would like to share with you all. We are encouraging all the countries to try to diversify the energy mix to include cleaner forms of energy. We would like this to be a platform where solutions are created and opportunities are given to entrepreneurs.”

Al Jaber emphasised that meeting energy needs responsibly and economically will require a renewed spirit of partnership with new sets of investments and energy companies, where best practice is shared, technology is leveraged and capital is efficiently used “We stand ready to forge strategic, value-added commercial partnerships with governments and industry leaders and innovators across the entire value chain,” he said. “By bringing together energy leaders from public-private sector, we will stay ahead, we will protect our environment, and there is no limit to opportunities we can unlock jointly.”


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