RIYADH: There is no “immediate solution” to high oil prices, Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua, president of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, said on Wednesday.
The oil-producing countries’ capacity to increase crude supply is curtailed by a lack of investment in the industry, said Itoua, who is also Congo’s minister of hydrocarbons.
Itoua was addressing an energy conference in Riyadh.
The forum, which included speakers from OPEC, the International Energy Agency and the International Energy Forum, presented varying forecasts for oil demand and discussed energy security and market stability.
Yet from the outset, the wider debate on how the world should best transition away from fossil fuels and other sources of carbon emissions that pollute the air played out as speakers gave their remarks. Major oil-producing nations, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have long argued that a rapid energy transition away from the fossil fuels that they continue to rely on for revenue will impact global economic growth and hurt the world’s poorest.
“We are not on track. So how should policymakers respond to this dilemma? The reality is that 80 percent of the world’s energy needs continue to be met by fossil fuels,” said Joseph McMonigle, secretary-general of the Saudi-based International Energy Forum that hosted the symposium.
The IEF is the largest organiza-tion of energy ministers, with 71 member states, including the US.
McMonigle said global energy demand has “roared back” to pre-pandemic levels, but that investments in oil and gas are not back to where they were before the COVID-19 crisis.
“Disinvestment in energy supply will not deliver a just and orderly transition and cannot be a response to the climate crisis,” he said, arguing that countries should invest in both greener forms of energy as well as fossil fuels.