The energy crisis is wake up call for more investment, forum hears

The current energy crisis is a wake-up call for the need to invest more in the sector to avoid another energy supply crunch, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Chief Executive Sultan al-Jaber told a conference on Wednesday.

The oil minister of India, the world’s third-biggest oil consumer, and importer echoed Jaber’s comments, while OPEC’s secretary-general said oil and gas needed to play a central role in the energy transition.

“Yes, a wake-up call. That there is not enough investment. In addition to that is also the fact that the transition to green energy is also imposing a cost,” said the Indian minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, at the CERA Week India Energy Forum.

India is facing its worst power crisis in years and has been hit hard by rising oil prices, with local fuel prices surging to record highs and its trade deficit ballooning to the highest in at least 14 years. 

India imports 85% of its oil needs and buys most of this from Middle East producers.

The United Arab Emirates is investing in boosting its oil and gas production, ADNOC’s Jaber said, adding that the company would remain a trusted oil supplier to India.

Puri said high energy prices are affecting global economic recovery, stoking inflation and logistics costs. “If prices are not brought under control, global economic recovery could be fragile”.

Oil prices have to be predictable, dependable, and stable, Puri said, adding that high prices may also affect producers in the long run.

India’s oil secretary, Tarun Kapoor, said: “OPEC can very easily raise production and gain the confidence of consumers. If the sellers don’t come to help then the reliability goes away.”

The UAE and Saudi Arabia are members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and wider OPEC+ group, which is gradually easing output cuts made last year and has come under pressure from India to add more supply. 

Both Jaber and Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the world will continue to need fossil fuels despite the transition to cleaner energy sources.

Prince Abdulaziz said there was a lack of anticipation that the world economy would grow as fast as it is doing now. “People all of a sudden woke up to the reality that they are running out of everything,” he told the forum. 

OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo, also speaking at the forum, referred to surging energy prices and said not tackling energy affordability, energy security, and reducing emissions at once could lead to unintended consequences.

“We need a diversified energy mix, cleaner, and more efficient technological solutions, and a stable, inclusive, just and equitable energy transition,” he said. “The oil and gas industry can and must play a key role.”

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