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Oil and gas viewed as needed in green shift

By JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-21 09:16

As the need for energy grows, oil and gas will continue to remain a significant part of oil-producing countries' energy mix so as to ensure global energy security, experts say.

Sultan Al Jaber, the United Arab Emirates' special envoy for climate change and minister of industry and advanced technology, said the UAE was seeing record growth in renewables.

But while wind and solar accounted for most of the new power generation capacity last year, he said this still only comprises 4 percent of today's energy mix.

"A successful energy transition must progress with economic and climate action in tandem. As part of this, we know we must do more now to reduce the impact of oil and gas on the climate," he said.

In its monthly oil market report published on Sept 13, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries reported that world oil demand growth in 2022 remained unchanged from the previous month's assessment "at a healthy level of 3.1 million barrels per day".

The report also said oil demand is forecast to remain driven by global economic growth, especially by the recovery in travel and transportation, which is projected to lead to robust overall growth in oil demand of 3.1 million barrels per day in 2022 and 2.7 million in 2023, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

Aisha Al-Sarihi, research fellow in the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore, said one of the drivers behind developing renewable energy has been the need to keep up with growing domestic oil and gas demands, and to free up fuel needed for downstream economic diversification projects. "Given their high economic reliance on oil and gas export revenues, oil and gas exporters, including Kuwait, do not exclude oil and gas from their energy transition road map," she said.

Al-Sarihi also said oil and gas resources and the revenue gained from their exports "are currently irreplaceable" in helping to provide for basic needs and cushion the adverse impacts of climate change, including the growing need for cooling, water desalination and securing food supplies.

Exploring ways

Oil exporting countries such as the Arab states in the Gulf have been exploring ways and means to maintain the competitiveness of hydrocarbons in a climate-constrained world.

Al-Sarihi said to monetize the value of hydrocarbon resources as much as possible, Gulf countries have been advocating for and prioritizing technologies that do not restrict the production and export of hydrocarbons. These include carbon capture and storage and the production of hydrogen and green ammonia.

Al Jaber said the UAE remains a reliable supplier of some of the world's least carbon-intensive oil and gas, and that they are working to reduce its intensity by a further 25 percent before the end of the decade.

"We are proud to have the region's first industrial-scale carbon capture program, and all the electricity consumed by our national oil company now comes from zero-carbon nuclear and solar power," Al Jaber said.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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