Oil companies agree with call to move away from fossil fuels


Oil industry executives on Wednesday They said they more or less supported the agreement that emerged from the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, even though its language called for “the transition away from fossil fuels.”

“We support the outcome of COP28,” said a spokesperson for Shell, Europe's largest energy company.

Eni, the Italian energy giant, praised the “great pragmatism” of the meeting.

Saudi Arabia, de facto leader of OPEC, who had raised objections to an initial draft of the agreement, he backed the final agreement, saying it left countries free to choose their own direction in addressing climate change.

“Dictating things has been buried,” Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the Saudi oil minister, said in an interview with Al Arabiya television. “And that's why people are free to choose,” he added. The Saudi minister also said that the COP28 agreement would not have an impact on the country's ability to sell crude oil, according to the outlet.

The deal's appeal to oil producers is likely the lack of requirements to take specific actions. As a result, countries can choose their own paths to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. The broad agreement, approved by diplomats from almost 200 countries, even appears to suggest a role for natural gas, a fossil fuel that has attracted heavy investment in recent years from large oil companies, in “facilitating the energy transition.”

The leaders of the producing countries were concerned that the meeting could find stricter recipes to curb the use of fossil fuels. That would put pressure on the oil and gas industries, whose revenues often support their governments' budgets.

In a letter last week Seeming to reflect such unrest, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al-Ghais urged the 23 members of the group of producers and their allies, known as OPEC Plus, to “reject any text or formula that targets energy, that is That is, to fossil fuels, instead of emissions.” .”

After the conference ended on Wednesday, he praised “the consensual and positive result,” in a joint statement with his counterpart from a group of natural gas exporters.

In the end, oil producers appear to have succeeded in ensuring that language that played to their strengths was included in the agreement. The agreement also calls for “accelerating” carbon capture and storage, a technology that has been criticized by environmental groups for having the potential to expand the use of fossil fuels.

While the focus of COP delegates was to ensure that there was language on “fossil fuels” in the final document, the energy industry also appears to have had a lot of input. The Saudi Oil Minister was almost embarrassingly frank about his delegation's access to the conference, which was led by Sultan al Jaber, chief executive of Adnoc, the Abu Dhabi-based state oil company.

“We were given a priority that I don't think I've ever seen,” the prince said.

Despite appearances, rich oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, along with the largest energy companies, are willing to make at least modest investments in cleaner energy technologies. They realize that, with temperatures reaching record highs and countries like Canada affected by wildfires, a gradual shift in energy use is inevitable.

Smaller oil companies may not have the skills or financial resources to make such investments. Their interest is to be able to produce oil and gas as long as there is a market for these fuels.

“Demand for affordable, reliable energy will continue to rise as the world's population increases, and the world will need more energy sources, not fewer,” said the American Petroleum Institute, a Washington-based trade group that represents a broad range of energy sources. range of companies. he said Wednesday.

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