The opening day of the World Petroleum Congress, a major oil industry conference, saw consensus on at least one point: scorn for the International Energy Agency and its perceived politicization amid the climate debate.
(Bloomberg) — The opening day of the World Petroleum Congress, a major oil industry conference, saw consensus on at least one point: scorn for the International Energy Agency and its perceived politicization amid the climate debate.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, the head of a group of African oil producers, and the premier of Alberta — which is hosting of the event in Calgary — all weighed in Monday with criticism of the Paris-based agency.
In the past two years, the IEA has said the world must make an attempt to stop developing new oil fields and other sources of fossil fuels or face a dangerous rise in global temperatures. Just last week, it said oil demand may plateau this decade as consumers shift to renewable energy.
All this represents a departure for the IEA, an intergovernmental organizational that, for most of its near five-decade history, has worked to help secure crude supplies for industrialized nations. It’s also at odds with Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ allies, plus many other major producers, who advocate for a long-term future for oil and the use of carbon capture to cut emissions.
“They’ve moved from being a forecaster and assessors of market to one for political advocacy,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said of the IEA. “That’s their choice.”
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said the agency’s projection that the world must cut oil production by 75% in the next 30 years to achieve net-zero global carbon emissions was “ludicrous.”
“We know for sure that IEA will say everything it can say in order to scare the world from investing in fossil fuels,” Omar Farouk Ibrahimar, secretary general of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organization said during a press conference.
A spokesperson for the IEA couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The IEA has said that oil demand must crater to about 25 million barrels a day by 2050 — from about 100 million now — in order to get to net zero. Some leading figures in the oil industry have countered that such an outlook ignores likely growth in global energy demand and the scope for carbon capture technology to mitigate carbon emissions.
“I like what the Saudi energy minister had to say this morning,” said Smith, the conservative premier of a province that holds the world’s third-largest oil reserves. “You’ve got to live in the real world, not on computer models. [Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman] actually challenged the group to find a single time that the IEA has had a single projection that has been correct. It takes a leap of faith to think that if they have never been correct that they will be correct by 2050.”
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