Saudi Arabia Review 2017

Nasser ... global energy landscape undergoing transformation

Nasser ... global energy landscape undergoing transformation

Oil industry facing various pressures

With the global population forecast to grow from 7.3 billion in 2015 to 9.7 billion in 2050, the industry is forecast to retain, and build upon, its influential place

The energy industry is on a journey of long and complex transition that will see the world reliant on the full palette of energy sources – including oil and gas – for many decades to come, Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO Amin Nasser told the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ 2017 Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference in Bahrain.

A record 9,353 industry professionals attended the four-day conference, which was held with a theme of "Transforming the Industry through Innovation and Operational Excellence."

The event, held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the Prime Minister of Bahrain, covered a range of topics focused on the future of hydrocarbons in the energy mix. The biennial conference has played host to more than 92,000 industry leaders and professionals since its inception nearly four decades ago.

MEOS 2017 also honoured the conference’s previous chairmen, including former Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and current adviser to the Royal Court, Ali Al-Naimi, who addressed the conference on behalf of the former MEOS chairmen, saying that change was one constant in the industry.

At the opening ceremony, Nasser shared the stage with Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Bahrain’s Minister of Oil and chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority, for a discussion on what lies ahead for the industry.

Nasser said the industry was facing various pressures and challenges, and that the global energy landscape was undergoing a transformation.

But, with the global population forecast to grow from 7.3 billion in 2015 to 9.7 billion in 2050, the oil and gas industry is forecast to retain, and build upon, its influential place in the energy mix.

"The industry is transforming significantly with innovation and technological advancements driven by global challenges such as climate change," said Nasser.

While alternative sources of energy are still developing as a viable source, Nasser said they are not yet capable of shouldering, "a significant burden of the world’s energy demand."

The transformation will be prolonged and complex, he noted, and oil and gas will maintain a significant influence for decades to come.

As an example, electric vehicles are emerging, but currently represent only 0.1 per cent of the global vehicle population of 1.2 billion, which is expected to grow to two billion in about a quarter of a century from now, and three billion by 2060.

"Even as electric vehicles grow, a large number of vehicles will still be advanced conventional vehicles for quite some time, helped by continued improvements in their mileage efficiency and emissions performance," said Nasser.

He added that the "intermittency" of major renewables, such as solar and wind, is a major challenge and that a solution is gigawatt scale electricity storage, which could become a game changer in freeing renewables from the limitations of intermittence.

Oil and gas will remain essential components in the global energy future for decades to come, said Nasser, and continued investments in the industry are essential to guaranteeing adequate supplies. Lack of investment, he said, could potentially lead to gaps in supply The industry must continue to become more efficient.

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