The report's message is loud and clear - explosive growth in China and India pose the greatest energy challenges ahead.
This year's seminar – the third annual hosted by StatoilHydro – revolved around the Nordic premiere of the World Energy Outlook 2007 report, which urges authorities worldwide to guide energy systems towards a more sustainable path.
Speakers at the event include Dr Fatih Birol, chief economist in the International Energy Agency (IEA), chief executive Helge Lund, and executive vice president for Technology & New Energy (TNE) Margaret Ovrum. Mr. Lund opened the seminar by sharing StatoilHydro's strategy for tackling immediate and future global energy challenges.
Dr. Fatih Birol presented the WEO report's main conclusions.
China and India are fast-emerging giants with enormous impact on the world's economy and energy markets. The two countries are so vast that they impact global energy supply by sheer size alone, he said.
World energy demand is expected to soar 50% by 2030 compared with today. China and India will account for 40% of that demand. At the same time, climate change is expected to increase exponentially. During the last two years, China and India have been the key drivers for CO2 emissions. The two countries are expected to account for 60% of CO2 emissions increases between 2005 and 2030, he said.
The speed by which China and India are growing demands that the global community takes proactive action to steer them towards a safer and more sustainable path with lower carbon emissions.
These challenges must be solved, but without undermining the economic growth and social advances of developing countries, Dr. Birol emphasized.
"It's a huge challenge to simultaneously combine continued economic growth, sustainable recovery of the world's energy resources and reduce climate gas emissions," said Mr. Lund.
"No industry dwells closer to the heart of the energy demand and climate gas emissions issues than ours. And no industry is better positioned than ours to develop progressive solutions. It's in our interest to actively pursue environmental measures compatible with our values."
Mr. Lund pointed to the WEO report's assertion that "we can guide the global community towards a more sustainable path through ingenuity and wisdom.
"We must recognize climate challenges as a global problem," he said. "We must build experience and expertise to develop new technological solutions, and we must make a collective pledge to develop new forms of energy that are industrially and commercially viable."
Ms. Ovrum put the world's emerging energy situation into perspective.
"The largest part of the world's growing energy appetite will continue to be fed by fossil fuels," she explained. "Presently, the world produces more oil and gas than we're finding, placing huge demand on discovering new reserves and extracting as much as we can from proven reserves.
"The world still has substantial reserves of conventional hydrocarbons, but they are unevenly distributed geographically – mostly in the Middle East and former Soviet Union. At the same time, some 50% of current demand is in the American and European markets. By 2030, the EU will import some two-thirds of its entire energy needs."
Where does StatoilHydro fit in?
"Our technological strategy is driven by commercial demand and achieving our goals. A combination of technologies and the ability to see the bigger integrated picture is our strongest card," she commented.
In addition to a steady focus on finding and producing hydrocarbons, StatoilHydro actively pursues promising new energy technologies.
"We're looking for new business opportunities where we can apply the competitive technological advantages we've already established within reservoir, offshore and materials technologies. We'll proceed step by step, the same way we've done in the offshore oil and gas industry."
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