WPC20: Emir calls for cooperation on supply, environment

Opening the 20th World Petroleum Congress in Doha this week, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani called for renewed cooperation between countries that produce oil and gas—mostly in the developing world—and countries that comprise major markets—mainly in the developed world.

The cooperation can and should be found in the joint efforts of oil and gas exporting countries and importing countries to ensure dependable supply and to reduce the environmental harm caused by emissions from carbon-based fuels.

The spread of globalization, said al-Thani, makes talk of energy independence “unreasonable and impossible, especially in view of the growing demand for its resources.”

He noted how major crises in the world’s economy have affected the “cohesion of the regional blocs” and the “trade and political relations among states.”

Most oil and gas exporters, he said, belong to developing countries, which must “preserve the rights of their future generations.” These countries must ensure that depletion “of their natural resources…not weaken their production base in the future.”

Achieving that requires oil revenues to be used to meet the “needs of the present generation” and convert the remainder to a “renewable production base” that does not depend on oil and gas.

This goal, he said, needs close cooperation between developed importing countries and international oil companies, on the one hand, and exporting countries “especially in the domains of human development, technology transfer, and promotion of innovation.”

Later, in dealing with issues around energy and the environment, al-Thani said: “The negative impact of producing fossil energy on the environment, particularly air quality due to the rise in harmful emissions and climate change as a result of the worsening problem of global warming are facts that leave no room for argument.”

This clear endorsement of the science of global warming may have caused some heartburn among his IOC listeners.

Nevertheless, cooperation was his consistent theme. Tackling the negative effects on the environment, he said, “cannot be handled by a single party in isolation of other concerned parties.”

Later, he said efforts to upgrade technology that “alleviates the negative impact of producing and using the fossil fuel on environment, should coincide with the development of renewable energy resources.”

Action “to achieve clean and renewable energy…by the developed importing countries should not be triggered by malicious reasons, such as not to be dominated” by oil exporters.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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