The world of oil is defending its usefulness despite the energy transition

News 10 July, 2017
  • File Photo, AFP
    Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell


    Monday, 10 July, 2017 14:50

    Monday, 10 July, 2017 14:50

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    The oil industry world, meeting in Istanbul, has set before Monday, its necessary adaptation to the transition energy, while promoting oil, only able, according to her, to feed the global demographic and economic growth, particularly in emerging countries.

    The transition to a world less emitter of greenhouse gases shall not be present in the form of”a solution” but “will involve a different course”, according to the needs of each country, said Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell, during the first day of the world petroleum Congress.

    These words of the boss of the major oil anglo-Dutch summarize the message that the global players of the oil came to bring, while experts and environmental NGOS believe that it will be necessary to leave it in the basement a large part of the reserves of hydrocarbons in the fight against global warming.

    “The increase in demand for all energy sources, with oil and gas at the heart of the energy mix, will be a reality for decades to come”, has estimated Amin H. Nasser, president of the company, saudi Saudi Aramco.

    The oil remains the primary energy consumed in the world, especially because of its dominance as a fuel.

    In many countries, and despite the fall in the price of black gold these past two years, the renewable energies, in particular solar power, are however become at least cheaper than gas or coal.

    “The renewable energies have continued to exceed all forecasts,” admitted Juan Vera, operations director of the Spanish company Cepsa.

    The industrial, as the producing countries have become aware of this new economic reality, investing in solar, such as the French Total, or some countries in the Middle East, or in the wind, like the Norwegian Statoil.

    In the energy industry, “the fastest growth will come from renewable energy,” admits Alexander Novak, the Russian minister of Energy, but he warns against the temptations of “discrimination” between the energies.

    The oil sector has built expectations in the developed countries, or in China, for a transition to an economic model less emitter of greenhouse gases. Expectations emphasized by the international agreement in Paris on climate and to a certain disengagement of the financial and industrial coal.

    Suckers emerging

    In addition to the development of renewable energies, the standards reinforce in favour of greater energy efficiency in industry or the building, and the electric vehicles are selling more and more.

    “Too often, the energy transition is considered from the point of view of Europeans or North Americans ( … ), but the demographic reality shows that this is not sufficient to concentrate on these areas”, said the boss of Shell, citing Africa and Asia, which will concentrate the major part of the 3.6 billion extra inhabitants expected on the planet by the end of the century.

    “These countries growth will still require hydrocarbons to develop their industries,” he added. To the extent that some, such as steel, cement or chemicals, can not afford to spend the amount of energy produced by hydrocarbons, according to him.

    However, in response to criticism about the greenhouse gas emissions from the exploitation of hydrocarbons, the industrial advance of the “technological progress” to reduce their impacts, through the capture and storage of CO2, yet still far from having found its balance in the economy, or biofuels, has listed Darren W. Woods, the CEO of ExxonMobil.

    But, according to Amin Nasser, it is necessary to fight against “the belief growing that the world may prematurely go to a reliable resource, and proven as the oil and gas”.