Investment and technology key to energy security
The world has enough hydrocarbon resources to meet demand for more than 100 years but it should pump sufficient investments and exploit technology to achieve that goal, the US oil company ExxonMobil said yesterday.
Despite a rapid rise in demand for renewable energy sources, oil, gas and coal will remain the dominant components of the energy mix in the long term as they are more reliable sources of energy, said Rob Young, a spokesman for ExxonMobil.
Speaking to Emirates Business at the World Future Energy Summit, Young said Exxon Mobil pumped a record $29 billion (Dh106.43bn) in capital spending on its development plans worldwide in 2009 despite a sharp fall in crude prices.
He said the funds were part of the company's five-year development plan for 2009-2013, which envisages investment of $125bn.
"Investment is the key point in this issue. Sufficient investments must be made in the development of the energy sector even during crises," he said.
"Sufficient investments along with technology will give us access to more oil in place. I don't believe in the scenario that we have reached peak oil. We have to take technology into consideration… because of technology, forecasts about the hydrocarbon reserves are continuously revised up every 10 years. For now, the reserves in place could last more than 100 years."
Young said the world had used nearly a third of the known oil resources or about one trillion barrels. About two trillion barrels in conventional oil reserves are still available while there are large amounts of non-conventional oil resources, including tar sands and shale oil, he added.
"We have to continue investing in these resources to meet demand in the future. Global demand for oil is projected to surge by nearly 30 per cent by 2030 and this means massive investments are needed," said Young. "As far as ExxonMobil is concerned, it is pushing ahead with its investment programmes. We do not look to the market and oil needs on an annual basis. We always take long-term views in our capital spending plans," he said.
Young cited forecasts by ExxonMobil and other sources showing demand for oil would grow by an average one to 1.2 per cent annually until 2030 while gas is expected to rise faster at about 1.5 per cent.
Although alternative energy sources are forecast to grow much faster at nearly 10 per cent, their share of the energy mix would likely remain relatively small.
"By 2030, the share of the oil, gas and coal in the energy mix will be about 80 per cent while that of the renewable and traditional sources such as biomass energy would be 20 per cent," said Young.
"This is because of the poor infrastructure for renewable sources and the fact that oil, gas and coal are reliable sources of energy…it is still too difficult for the renewable sources, including wind and solar energy, to compete on commercial basis and they are also not reliable sources of energy."
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