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Calgary’s 24th WPC: ExxonMobil CEO Says, People underestimate challenge of moving away from fossil fuels – Upstream

  • ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco and CNPC believe energy demand will continue to grow
Assessment: ExxonMobil chief executive Darren Woods takes part in a panel discussion at the 24th World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Canada. Photo: JEFF MCINTOSH/AP/SCANPIX
Assessment: ExxonMobil chief executive Darren Woods takes part in a panel discussion at the 24th World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Canada. (Jeff Mcintosh/AP/Scanpix)

Fabio Palmigiani, Upstream Online

EnergiesNet.com 09 19 2023

Energy demand will continue to grow in the coming years even as the world gradually transitions from fossil fuels to renewable sources, according to three top executives from oil companies attending the 24th World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Canada.

Darren Woods, chief executive at US supermajor ExxonMobil, said that as the world’s economy continues to grow, that will drive energy demand higher, but he warned it is difficult to replace today’s energy system where oil consumption stands at approximately 100 million barrels per day.

“We have got to come up with solutions to see the transition happen. There seems to be somewhat of a wishful thinking that we are going to flip the switch and we will go from where we are today to where we will be tomorrow,” said Woods.

“I think people underestimate the size of the global energy system and the challenge of moving from what we have today,” he said.

Woods emphasised that oil and natural gas fields face a natural production decline every year, so the industry needs to maintain some level of investment; otherwise, the world will run short of supply and prices will rise.

“My sense is it will be a transition. It will take time, and hopefully energy will continue to grow with much less emissions associated with it,” he added.

Saudi Aramco chief executive Amin Nasser said that even during an economic slowdown in recent years and lasting until today in many countries, energy demand was rising.

“Demand will continue to grow because we are also making a lot of progress in terms of reducing emissions of conventional energy,” Nasser told the panel.

He said oil and gas production will be much cleaner in the future, as the industry continues to work on new technologies.

“We need to invest; otherwise in the mid to long term, we will have another crisis and we will go backward in terms of using more and more coal and other cheap products, and all these decarbonisation efforts will go down the drain,” Nasser said.

“We need to continue investing in conventional energy while decarbonising at the same time and build renewables at the speed we can.”

Hou Qijun, president of China National Petroleum Corporation, believes it is very important to speed up the energy transition as demand continues to grow.

“The most important part of building the new [energy] is maintaining a stable and secure supply of hydrocarbon production. While transitioning towards low-carbon new energies, we must also bear in mind the necessity of socio-economic development of millions of people,” said Qijun. “Without a stable and secure supply of current energy, their lives will be significantly impacted.”

Woods also said governments around the world need policies focusing on reducing emissions and not getting rid of the existing energy system –more specifically, oil and gas.

“We need clear, consistent policies that focus on that objective versus one that was to eliminate what today is an incredibly important source of energy. I think that is a real big challenge,” he said.

upstreamonline.com 09 18 2023

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