The secretary general of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Wednesday that the energy transition does not mean abandoning oil and gas and that countries with reserves of these resources should realise their potential.
“It’s very important to explain that transition does not mean abandoning oil and gas. There is a narrative that is becoming common in many countries, even in producing countries, that transition means stopping producing oil or gas. We at OPEC believe that this is wrong and dangerous,” said Haitham al Ghais in Luanda on the sidelines of the Angola Oil & Gas conference.
“The global economy is going to double between now and 2045 and the world’s public is going to reach almost 10 billion people and most of this growth is going to be in the non-OECD countries, in other words the countries of the Global South and it’s natural that they’re going to need more energy,” he added.
According to OPEC’s calculations, “the world will need almost 25% more energy by 2045 than it does today, so it’s important to explain at these events the importance of not abandoning one form of energy in favour of another,” urged Haitham al Ghais.
“Our focus has to be on reducing emissions,” he added, saying that there are various technologies and options available to achieve this goal.
“It is a legitimate aspiration for all countries to realise their potential,” he said during his speech at the conference, stressing that this means benefiting from the oil reserves that many countries “have been blessed with”, including in Africa.
“Unfortunately, there are constant efforts to stop some countries from realising their potential,” he criticised, lamenting the growing difficulties in accessing capital under the pretext of good governance and the “discouraging speeches” that also represent “serious risks for energy security”.
On the other hand, “we need a cumulative investment for the oil industry of 12 trillion dollars by 2045 and the annual estimates have been well below this level,” said the OPEC leader.
“Unfortunately, public discourse on environmental challenges has become more polarised, but the reality is that the oil industry must be part of the solution. We all share the same goal, it’s not about reducing the use of certain energy, it’s about reducing emissions, we want to use knowledge to find efficient technological solutions,” he emphasised.
NJ Ayuk, president of the African Energy Chamber, spoke in the same vein, emphasising that the reforms that Angola has promoted in the sector “are working and the industry has responded”.
He also emphasised that the oil industry should not be abandoned, as it is a source of growth for African countries.
With regard to natural gas, he said that Angola has promoted various initiatives to develop the sector, considering gas to be “a bridge” for the energy transition and to lift people out of energy poverty.
“Keep believing in oil and gas,” he appealed to the audience, saying: “we shouldn’t apologise for wanting to produce oil and gas.”