Oil & Money — a relationship destined to endure

October 21, 2009

The energy world gathered this week in London for the 30th annual edition of Oil and Money, a major industry event.***Some would say it is high time the conference had a title more in keeping with the prevailing political mood and the conference’s official colour — green.***But, for all the rising tide of rhetoric ahead of talks in Copenhagen in December to try to ensure a low-carbon future, high-carbon oil is still where a great deal of the money is.***If big business is shifting, the process is gradual and many have voiced scepticism about the chances of agreement in Copenhagen on how to follow up the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012.***Representatives of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries were particularly clear that the not-too-distant future was more black than green.***”There’s no getting away from fossil fuels,” Nigerian Oil Minister Rilwanu Lukman said on the sidelines of the industry conference.***”Biofuels will not work. You can’t use your food to have energy,” said OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri. He also ruled out nuclear power, which many in the energy industry regard as a low-carbon option.***”Nuclear energy is just waiting for a catastrophe,” was Badri’s view.***The heads of oil majors were more circumspect, but the message was not so very different.***Gas, they said, was very viable as a proven technology for power generation that emits far less carbon than coal, but it cannot meet the world’s massive transportation needs.  BP’s CEO Tony Hayward said the company worked on the assumption 80 percent of the world’s energy needs would be provided by fossil fuel as far out as 2030.***By that measure, we could be set for another 30 editions of Oil and Money.

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