This week, oil and gas leaders from across the globe are convening in Calgary to inaugurate the 24th World Petroleum Congress. The central theme of this year’s gathering revolves around “Energy Transition: The Path to Net Zero.”
Among the notable figures set to participate in the event are CEOs of prominent oil and gas firms, including Darren Woods of ExxonMobil and Amin Nasser of Saudi Aramco. Over 5,000 delegates from more than 100 countries are anticipated to attend this conference, commencing this Sunday.
The Chair of the World Petroleum Council in Canada has highlighted the discussions that will revolve around the actions taken by companies and nations to advance the decarbonization of existing oil and gas production. Topics such as carbon capture and storage, hydrogen utilization, and methane reduction technologies will be explored. Moreover, many companies have diversified into renewable energy segments, such as wind and solar, as they strive to develop comprehensive energy systems.
These conversations will embrace a global perspective, recognizing that various regions face unique challenges related to energy transition. Developing nations, in particular, grapple with issues related to energy accessibility and affordability. Therefore, the dialogue will encompass the broader context of energy transition, extending beyond Western viewpoints that often revolve around the simple adoption of electric vehicles.
Chris Severson-Baker, the executive director of the Pembina Institute, has expressed optimism about the focus on energy transition but emphasized the importance of discussions concerning the shorter-term future, rather than aiming solely for a distant target like 2050. He underlines that the world is gradually shifting away from conventional oil and gas uses, and companies that acknowledge this shift stand to benefit.
Severson-Baker intends to address the audience on Tuesday, highlighting how Canadians can position themselves favorably in the evolving energy landscape. He envisions Canada supplying both traditional and net-zero energy solutions to global markets undergoing decarbonization.
He hopes that the International Energy Agency’s prediction of peak demand for oil and gas by 2030 will be a central topic at the conference, suggesting that stronger regulations will be necessary to compel companies to invest in emissions reduction. In Alberta, the Pathways Alliance, a consortium representing a significant portion of oilsands production, has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but this transition will require a combination of talent, capital, and government policies.
The emphasis, according to Masson, should be on offering viable alternatives that meet energy needs at affordable prices, reducing the carbon footprint in oil and gas production while transitioning to alternative energy sources. He anticipates that this will be a prominent theme throughout the Congress.
In 2000, when Calgary previously hosted the World Petroleum Congress, it was met with protests. A counter-congress rally is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, featuring participation from environmental groups like the Calgary Climate Hub, Fridays for Future Calgary, and For Our Kids Alberta.
Dr. Joe Vipond, co-chair of the Calgary Climate Hub, acknowledges the Congress’s recognition of the climate crisis but calls for more substantial actions. He emphasizes the need for government regulation to ensure accountability in the industry, as corporations often act in the best interest of their bottom line. He believes that corporations need to take responsibility for their role in the climate crisis and refrain from lobbying for weaker regulations.
The World Petroleum Congress will commence with an opening ceremony at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre, featuring a keynote address by Canada’s federal energy minister, John Wilkinson. The conference will primarily take place at the BMO Centre, the Big Four Building, and the Nutrien Centre at the Stampede grounds.
Numerous Alberta ministers are expected to attend, underscoring Alberta’s role as Canada’s energy province. The province is committed to reducing emissions while maintaining energy security and affordability. The event is projected to inject approximately $88 million into the local economy.