The head of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Haitham Al Ghais, has called for the industry to demonstrate more unity and be proactive in dealing with criticisms of being major polluters.
Al Ghais was in Bahrain at the Middle East Oil, Gas and Geoscience show, where he spoke in a discussion titled “Supply, demand, and oil price: How to find balance in a volatile market” alongside media consultant Eithne Treanor.
He spoke about how the oil industry had been a major driver of global economic growth, arguing that this was nothing to be ashamed of:
“We really have an industry we should be proud of. I mean, for decades, this [oil] industry has been the source of economic development globally, and industrialisation. Just look around you in this room; everything we have today is derivatives of oil and petrochemicals.”
Despite the pressure on oil companies to transition away from fossil fuels, Al Ghais said the global demand for energy would rise by a quarter between now and 2045, meaning that the oil industry would need to invest $12.1 trillion over this period to keep pace.
Investment in oil and gas production was slashed during the recent pandemic, but geopolitical events are now causing new supply challenges. Oil majors are investing again, with ExxonMobil, the maker of Mobil SHC gear oil, planning to invest $20-25 million annually over the coming years. Nevertheless, the global industry would need to invest a combined $500 billion every year.