09/11/2009 11:15 PM | By Samir Salama, Associate Editor
Abu Dhabi: The UAE was praised as "a source of inspiration, vision and leadership in the region" at a Ramadan majlis in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
"Many people look to the UAE as a source of inspiration, vision and leadership in the region," said Tony Hayward, CEO of the British Petroleum.
A frequent visitor to the country over the last 20 years, Hayward said each visit is an invigorating experience. "It's tremendous to see the pace of development and the scale and breadth of the ambitions of this country."
Hayward was delivering the sixth of a series of Ramadan lectures before royals and dignitaries at the majlis of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
He said he had been particularly struck by the successful diversification of economy, investment in education and fundamental research to build capability "which at the end of the day is the only thing that will be a lasting legacy to have a highly educated population".
The chair of Globe CEO Forum for Climate Change, also praised Masdar City, the world's first carbon-neutral and zero-waste city, being built in Abu Dhabi.
"Tremendous progress has been made in this country over the last 20 or 30 years," Hayward said.
In his lecture titled Managing the Nation's Resources ; The Role of Governments in Shaping the Energy Mix Through to 2030, Hayward said the balance of energy supply versus demand will continue to change in a fundamental way.
"In my lifetime the world's population has doubled to more than 6 billion people.
"Over the next decade, around 500 million households will join the $5,000 (Dh18,400) income band; half of these in just two countries - China and India. With this growth and improvement in living standards comes increasing demand for energy."
According to IEA projections, the world will need about 40 per cent more energy in 2030 than it does today. And, if current trends continue, the world will double today's demand by the middle of the century.
Hayward said the world has produced about 1 trillion barrels of oil. "We're sitting on another 1 trillion barrels of proven reserves with another trillion barrels which we know to exist but which are not yet commercially viable."
He said when it comes to producing more oil to meet demand, the problems are not below ground, they're above ground. They are human, not geological.
Hayward noted around 80 per cent of all energy is provided by fossil fuels and, by most forecasts, fossil fuels will still provide the majority share of primary energy in 2030.
Satisfying future demand will require partnerships between National Oil Companies and International Oil Companies, between governments and corporations, and between academia and industry.
Speaking of policies to achieve a stable energy supply and a sustainable planet, Hayward said energy companies and governments must integrate to invest the $26 trillion needed to meet expected growth in energy demand over the next 20 years.
"Free and open energy market is our best guarantee of energy security and we must make energy efficiency and energy conservation a priority. We must also begin to address the challenge of climate change. Pricing carbon could make energy conservation far more attractive and wind, nuclear and solar power more cost competitive.
"If we want more investment, then businesses and governments must act together. We need fiscal, regulatory and climate change regimes that are stable and enduring.
"BP is ready to play its part and I am optimistic that governments across the world recognise that the only thing riskier than action is inaction."