Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairman of Masdar, made the opening keynote address and extended his warm welcome to all in attendance. He spoke of how the summit had become the, ‘premier destination for championing sustainability and championing tangible and real results’. This is certainly true, as the last 10 years has not only seen the introduction of solar and wind power into emerging markets, but also the reduction of its production and maintenance costs, by one third and one half respectively. Though Jaber expressed hope for continued renewable success, he emphasized that, ‘oil and gas will remain critical drivers of the global economy for decades’ and that, ‘there is more benefit in leveraging both new and traditional forms of energy by integrating them’ rather than trying to reach 100% renewable energy usage.
The four-day event comprised various exciting and innovative talks, events and showcases that enlightened and inspired. Always a crowd-pleaser are the live demonstrations of the latest products and this year was no different. At the Sustainable Transport event for example, exhibits included fuel cell cars, robotic parking and LPG Powered Vehicle that certainly impressed. New product announcements included air to water generators from Maghdeem Contracting which work by extracting humidity from the air, floating solar panels from Nemo and the SAM Bridge Environmental Data Acquisition System by ISEO that can be used as hardware for environmental systems such as weather sensors and analysers. It all looked very technical.
91% of exhibitors were satisfied with the World Future Energy Summit 2017’
Talks of particular interest to us included, ‘Carbon Capture and Storage – a critical part of the future energy mix’, ‘Energy Transitions for Oil Producing Regions’ and ‘Disrupting the transportation model’. In the former talk, John Scowcroft (Executive Adviser at the Global CCS Institute) discussed the worrying effects of climate change but how carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies can enable oil recovery and stop greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere. With many Middle Eastern countries aiming to enact CCS schemes with the possibly of worldwide uptake, this has the potential to reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions drastically. In the latter talk, Dr Andreas Dietrich Kopp (Lead Transport Economist at The World Bank’s Sustainable Development Network), Tim Karlsson (Executive Director at International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy) and Tom Zhao (General Manager at BYD) discussed the future of travel. They believe electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells will eventually replace oil-based options and that transport companies especially should be wary of this in terms of future innovations. Lastly, in, ‘Energy Transitions for Oil Producing Regions’ El Hadi Jazairy (a research scientist at MIT School of Architecture and Planning) examined how various political, financial and environmental crises have placed energy as a top concern for many national leaders. He particularly looked at how geography impacts oil infrastructure and what can be done to benefit both.
In true, ‘World Future Energy Summit’ style, some key decisions were also announced. Saudi Arabia stated they would be investing approximately $50 billion (Dh183.50 billion) in renewable energy schemes such as wind and solar. They hope by 2023 to generate close to 10 gigawatts of power from these sources, considerably cutting their carbon footprint. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) itself will be investing Dh600 billion into renewable energy to appease growing energy demands in a sustainable way. India announced plans for a 175 gigawatt renewables addition by 2022 which led to much discussion and private meetings between potential partners such as Masdar, Dewa, AVAADA Energy and Mytrah Energy Limited. Other plans included Masdar’s acquisition of a 25% stake in the offshore floating wind farm, Hywind Scotland which is located in the North Sea and will power 20,000 homes from late 2017. Masdar and Bee’ah also agreed to construct a 300,000-tonne waste-to-energy plant in Sharjah.
96% of delegates were satisfied with the World Future Energy Summit 2017
So how could these decisions affect Petroplan? Though one may worry about the increase in investment of renewables in the Middle East, we do not see the oil and gas industry declining anytime soon and consider the evolution of renewable energy as a great opportunity for our candidates. Lastly, as stated in our celebratory post, ‘The Oil & Gas industry – the past 40 years, the current market and a look to the future’, the oil and gas industry remains incredibly lucrative as globally the need for oil especially is increasing. We are therefore certain that we will see continued success for the foreseeable future.