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OPEC chief says calls to abandon oil is ‘unrealistic’

Haitham Al-Ghais says oil remains integral, pointing to its 31% share in the global energy mix.

OPEC chief says calls to abandon oil is ‘unrealistic’
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

According to an IEA report in 2023, growth in the world’s demand for oil is set to slow almost to a halt in the coming years, with the high prices and security of supply concerns highlighted by the global energy crisis hastening the shift toward cleaner energy technologies.

Although the shift to a clean energy economy is picking pace, oil demand will unlikely end soon. 

Recently, OPEC’s secretary-general, Haitham Al-Ghais, called proposals to abandon oil entirely “unrealistic” and “wrong” in a recent interview with the Kuwait News Agency. He highlighted oil’s deep integration into modern life, powering everything from transportation and travel to energy generation and manufacturing.

“Oil remains the lifeblood of modern life,” Al-Ghais asserted, pointing to its 31% share in the global energy mix. He stressed the advantages of oil’s well-established extraction, refining, and transportation infrastructure, which cemented its pivotal role for decades.

Al-Ghais’ comments echo recent remarks by Amin H. Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil producer. At CERAWeek 2024, Nasser argued for a more realistic approach to the energy transition, acknowledging the continued need for oil and gas.

“The current strategy is visibly failing,” Nasser said, citing the continued rise in global oil demand despite significant investments in renewables. He pointed to projections of record-breaking oil demand later this year and ongoing growth in natural gas consumption.

Nasser argued that abandoning oil and gas is a “fantasy,” calling for continued investment in these resources alongside renewable energy development.

OPEC is optimistic about the near future of oil, projecting strong demand growth in 2024 and 2025, fueled by economic activity in China and a rebound in global travel. 

According to the oil producers’ group, worldwide oil demand will increase by 2.25 million barrels per day in 2024 and by 1.85 million in 2025.

Their report highlights the continued importance of oil in sectors like jet fuel and gasoline.

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