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28 Apr 2021

IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium discusses COVID-19 recovery, post-pandemic prospects

Vienna, Austria, 28 April 2021--The International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Energy Forum (IEF) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) today held the Fifth IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Coal and Gas Market Outlooks via videoconference.

In its fifth edition, the Symposium examined short- to long-term gas and coal market developments, COVID-19 recovery and post-pandemic outlooks, gas decarbonization and the role of gas and coal in the energy transition.

The Symposium was hosted by the IEA and co-organized by the IEF and OPEC. Dr. Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director; Joseph McMonigle, IEF Secretary General; and Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, OPEC Secretary General; led the participating delegations.

Secretary General Barkindo, in his opening remarks, highlighted the importance and timeliness of today’s event in promoting energy dialogue and multilateral cooperation, particularly at a time when the energy sector continues to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and address its impacts on the global energy markets.

“Today’s Symposium is part of our ongoing joint work programme between the IEA, the IEF and OPEC,” Barkindo stated, adding, “These joint events have increasingly attracted high-level participation, and the important issues discussed have been elevated to the global energy agenda. These dialogue initiatives have significantly strengthened the producer-consumer dialogue.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has served as a stark reminder of how crucial global energy cooperation is in confronting serious industry crises, supporting stable energy markets and fueling economic growth.”

In referencing OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2020, Barkindo noted that global primary energy demand is expecting to continue growing in the medium and long term, rising by 25 per cent by 2045. Oil is projected to remain the largest contributor to the global energy mix by 31 per cent, while gas and coal are set to account for 28 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively.

On the energy transition, Barkindo stated: “At OPEC, we believe that the scale of the challenges that the energy transition presents will require us to utilize all available energies. We must seek out cleaner and more efficient technological solutions, such as carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), while promoting the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE), as means to improve overall environmental performance.”

Today’s Symposium is part of the trilateral work programme, which is comprised of two other regular dialogues in addition to today’s event: the IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks and the Joint IEA-IEF-OPEC Workshop on the Interactions between Physical and Financial Energy Markets. These two annual events were established and endorsed by Energy Ministers at the 12th International Energy Forum in Cancún, Mexico, in 2010.