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16 Jun 2022

Barkindo takes part in Dundee University symposium, reappointed as Honorary Professor

OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, participated in a symposium organized by the University of Dundee and the Centre for Energy, Petroleum, Mineral Law and Policy (CEPMLP), together with White & Case LLP, in London, UK.

The Symposium was titled ‘Quo Vadis? – Oil and Gas in the 21st Century, Charting New Directions for the Oil and Gas Industry after COP26’.

In his remarks, the Secretary General underlined the importance and timeliness of the gathering given recent industry developments, and thanked Professor Peter Cameron, Director of CEPMLP, and all those involved for the invitation.

On the Symposium’s theme, Barkindo recalled recent events related to climate change discussions, including the Paris Agreement and the announcement of the Glasgow Climate Pact at COP26 last year, with the US back at the multilateral table.

“This was all encouraging [COP26], given the pressing need to reduce global emissions, alleviate energy poverty, counter the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and find a sustainable way forward that leaves no country, industry or peoples behind,” he added.

The Secretary General noted, however, that talks around energy, climate, and sustainable development continues to be extremely emotive and not as broad as one might hope. He stressed that the conversation must be global, inclusive, fair, scientific and based on facts, not emotions.

“The new parameters of the public discourse around the energy transition seem reduced to the question: are you for or against fossil fuels? It is perhaps the ultimate false dichotomy,” Barkindo stated, adding, “All voices need to be listened to. The challenges before us are enormous and complex.”

He said it requires a delicate balancing act, with comprehensive and sustainable solutions, and all voices at the table. He added: “We have been delivered a stark reminder of the recent strains and conflicts related to energy affordability, energy security, and the need to reduce emissions playing out in regions across the world at the end of 2021 and into 2022.”

“It is an energy sustainability trilemma, with each piece of the jigsaw having to fit together,” he underscored.

He also stressed the importance of investments going forward and the need for clarity from policymakers and industry stakeholders.

In this regard, he recalled the recent call from G7 Ministers of Climate, Energy and the Environment, for oil and gas producing countries, including reference to OPEC, to play a key role in ensuring stable and sustainable global energy supplies. From this perspective, he stated that at OPEC “this is what we do, day in, day out.”

At the same time, however, he highlighted that the G7 communique also committed the group of major industrialized consumer countries to end financing for most overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. In looking at these two statements, he said, “it is difficult to reconcile them.”

The University of Dundee also reappointed the Secretary General as Honorary Professor in the School of Social Sciences until May 2026. The reappointment was announced at the Symposium.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary General, the University said: “The School … would like to record its gratitude for the contribution you have made … and for your ongoing commitment to the School and the University.”