OPEC Sec Gen and IEA discuss finding the right balance
WPC Special Report: Tanaka, director general of The International Energy Agency (IEA) and Abdalla Salem El-Badri, secretary general of OPEC on: "The need for cooperation to achieve a balance of interests."
The price of oil was again one of the topics discussed. Tanaka spoke about the current situation of oil as “a third oil shock", because the market had not seen a situation like the present one since the eighties.
An increasing number of reports point towards an unstoppable rise in oil prices, which impact on current economic affairs and on consumers.
During the session, they analysed the challenge for the oil industry in terms of sustainability. According to Tanaka “it is essential to change our energy habits in order to cushion global warming", and assured that the best solution should be directed towards investments that result in an “energy revolution" especially regarding the production and distribution of energy.
Abdalla Salem El-Badri said, for his part, it is essential to have new technologies on extraction and refinement in order to achieve the production of improved fuel by-products. He also noted that rather than the lack of production to meet demand, what is needed is investment and effort in technological development: "The world is full of oil, what is needed is technology development in order to increase performance in the extraction of new oil deposits."
The General Secretary of the OPEC acknowledged the fact that speculation controls 70% of the oil market, a figure he described as "dramatic". He added that because of this speculative fluctuation the economic impact has spread to other products and resources. He also believes that the oil market is "tight" at present and that this must change by 2009-2010. But with the increasing demand from emerging countries like China and India, it is necessary to produce 3.5 million barrels more than what is produced today.
Finally, making a long-term analysis, of the next 20 to 50 years, Nobuo Tanaka considered climate change as the biggest challenge for the future. He cited the so-called Blue Map Scenario presented in Tokyo three weeks ago, which concludes that solutions for a sustainable energy growth can be achieved through "huge investments and a great performance" by producing and consuming countries which, according to Tanaka, "is not impossible, but very, very difficult."
Abdalla Salem El-Badri said that to achieve a true energy “decarbonisation" revolution, the consumption of oil should be reduced by at least 30% by 2050. However, even if this energy revolution occurs, it does not mean the end of society's dependence on oil.