CMD Subhash Kumar pitches for clean and affordable energy at ADNOC CEO Roundtable

“Developing economies like India need clean, reliable and affordable energy for the continuity of their growth,” ONGC CMD Subhash Kumar said at the CEO Roundtable held at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Business Centre in Abu Dhabi on 14 November 2021. He also said that energy transition towards low carbon sources shall not be a single process, but a series of transitions over a couple of decades during which fossil fuels shall continue to play their important roles of building and growing economies.

ONGC CMD speaking at the CEO Roundtable
ONGC CMD speaking at the CEO Roundtable

“The issue of GHG emission has to be seen through the prism of energy poverty; and hence, the energy transition has to concurrently address the issues concerning energy security and energy affordability,” the CMD said.

Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber presiding over the session
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber presiding over the session

Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC), world’s one of the most premier events of the oil & gas industry, is being hosted by ADNOC every year since 1984. After last year’s disruption due to the pandemic, the mega event is being held this year in physical format at Abu Dhabi from 15-18 November 2021. A day before the main event, the high profile CEO Roundtable was held at ADNOC Business Centre in Abu Dhabi. The session was guided by IHS Markit Vice President Dr Daniel Yergin, presided by ADNOC President and CEO Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber and participated by about three dozens of business leaders of oil & gas industry from around the world. While more than two dozen CEOs were physically present at the venue, about a dozen more had joined virtually.

The four hour long conference intensely deliberated on the future course of action and direction of the global oil and gas industry. The deliberation assumed more interesting and important as it was being held right after the COP 26 in Glasgow. While most of the discussion was devoted to the role that this industry would play in addressing climate change, environment and sustainability challenges, the deliberations also penetratingly devolved around the speed and dimensions of energy transition, new energy like hydrogen as well as the importance of addressing the energy poverty, energy security and equitable economic growth.

The CEO Roundtable in session
The CEO Roundtable in session

The whole deliberations was divided primarily in two sessions; investment and technology. In his opening remarks, Dr Al Jaber summed up that “we must continue investing responsibly. Objective is to hold back the emission, not the progress”.

Dr Daniel Yergin said, “A North-South divide is visible as far as the emission reduction vis-à-vis the demand for investment support is concerned. But the best part is that the North is listening to the South”.

Business leaders of Oil and Gas industry during the session
Business leaders of Oil and Gas industry during the session

At the end, everyone was on the same page as they agreed that the energy transition is necessary and has already started happening. The pandemic has given an extra thrust to this process. Rapid innovation and technological development are essential to augment capital efficiency, reduce carbon emission and decarbonize the entire hydrocarbon value chain. In that context, collaboration of activists, scientists and business community is need of the hour.

The congregation also deliberated on three most talked about technology areas; carbon capture, hydrogen and electric power. It was almost unanimously opined that the idea of asking to stop or reduce oil and gas production or censoring the funding of oil and gas projects is just ridiculous.

Dr Al Jaber concluded the roundtable by saying that this industry had assumed more importance than ever before in context of energy transition. Oil and gas would be central to this whole conversation of low emission. The responsible investment in fossil fuel would only help to hasten the process of energy transition.

The Roundtable concluded on an optimistic note and an expectation of much more intense deliberations during the four days long ADIPEC from 15-18 November 2021.