Haitham Al Ghais, the Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), firmly stated in a Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) article that the era of oil is “far from over.” He emphasized the increasing global energy demands that alternative sources currently cannot fulfill at the necessary scale.

Addressing Misleading Narratives

Al Ghais criticized the narratives forecasting oil’s imminent demise, warning they could lead to ineffective energy policies and potential crises. He noted the paradox of declining investments in oil despite its rising demand, highlighting oil’s unchanging significance in the global energy mix.

Contrary to some forecasts by entities like the International Energy Agency, which expects oil demand to peak by 2030, OPEC predicts an uptick in oil usage in the coming decades. Al Ghais pointed out that the oil industry is making strides in technologies such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, clean hydrogen, and direct air capture. These efforts aim to cut emissions while ensuring oil continues to meet global demands.

Financial Commitments Versus Impact

The Secretary General also shed light on the financial commitments towards moving away from oil, with over $9.5 trillion invested in the last twenty years. Yet, he remarked, renewable energy sources like wind and solar only account for just under 4% of total global energy production. Electric vehicles (EVs), too, make up merely 2% to 3% of the global vehicle market.

Al Ghais’s commentary underscores the difficulties in substituting oil with alternatives that are not yet scalable or economically viable worldwide. He emphasizes the necessity of recognizing the intricate relationship between advancing technology, environmental concerns, and the stark realities of energy production and consumption.

In his MEES article, the OPEC leader illuminates the enduring pivotal role of oil in the global energy economy, reinforcing the message that the “oil era is far from over.” He calls for a pragmatic approach to energy policy that acknowledges the limitations of current alternatives and the indispensable need for oil to satisfy the world’s energy requirements.

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