Now in its seventh year, AGSIW’s Petro Diplomacy conference is a signature annual event that brings together stakeholders in the energy sector of the Gulf Arab states, global supply competitors in North America, analysts, and policymakers to discuss how changes in technology, fiscal priorities, and growth opportunities continue to alter the relationship between politics and energy for both the region and the world.
Oil Minister of Bahrain, Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, on October 20, participated in the seventh edition of the “Petro Diplomacy” conference, held virtually, under the theme “Gulf Countries in a Net-Zero World.”
Held annually by the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington (AGSIW), the Petro Diplomacy conference is a signature event that brings together stakeholders in the energy sector of the Arabian Gulf states, global supply competitors in North America, analysts, and policymakers to discuss how changes in technology, fiscal priorities, and growth opportunities continue to alter the relationship between politics and energy for both the region and the world.
Addressing the conference, the Minister of Oil stressed that the Kingdom of Bahrain had implemented a wide range of environmental projects and initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the adverse effects of climate change, in cooperation with many local and international agencies, including the “Green Climate Fund,” whose 21st board meeting was held in Bahrain, the first oil country to host such an event.
The minister indicated that GCF Board endorsed and approved to finance environmental projects in Bahrain during that meeting, noting that among such projects was the Oil Ministry’s project with the Green Climate Fund, “Enhancing Climate Resilience for the Water Sector in the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
Shaikh Mohammed bin Khalifa highlighted the fruitful cooperation between the Ministry of Oil and the Electricity and Water Authority, on the one hand, and governmental and private institutions, on the other, in signing the joint agreement to improve energy efficiency through the implementation of several programs aimed at reducing energy use in government and private buildings, which would reduce electricity and water bills, and contribute to saving natural gas, which is used to produce electricity and water in the kingdom.
He added that the Tatweer Petroleum Company had inaugurated the first and second solar power plants to reduce the use of natural gas to generate electricity, which contributes to preserving the country’s natural resources.
He indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic has generally weakened the desire for investment in the oil industry for difficult reservoirs, in addition to the fact that the industry is facing more pressures from regulators and shareholders in Western international oil companies to shift energy and move away from investing in fossil fuels, stressing that the current rise in oil and gas prices proves that upstream development is still necessary with the expansion of renewable energy projects to meet the increasing global demand for energy.
Referring to the recent discovery in the Bahrain field in 2018, the minister noted that studies are still continuing to cooperate with various international companies to find the appropriate technology to benefit from oil and gas extraction in commercial quantities.
Energy transitions are by their nature disruptive, but the pandemic has introduced a risk factor that might play out for years to come, the conference site states.
There has been a tectonic shift in the energy market structure and a realignment of key stakeholders’ goals and business models that dominate the oil and gas industry, with enormous implications for the petroleum producers of the Middle East. Measures to redesign the global economy that hydrocarbons have sustained for decades were in motion before the 2020 onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the devastating health crisis and its economic impact prompted governments worldwide to accelerate their environmental agendas with green recovery packages. More than 50 countries have announced their intention to transform their energy systems to reach net-zero emission targets by 2050 or 2060. Energy transitions are by their nature disruptive, but the pandemic has introduced a risk factor that might play out for years to come.