Mixed Signals from the Energy Sector?

It’s OPEC vs IEA

Yesterday, the Secretary General of OPEC was given air time on CNN. He told the world that a lack of investment in the oil industry could spike prices for crude oil to over $100 a barrel and jeopardise global energy security.

Energy security is defined as an uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price.

His Excellency Haitham Al Ghais said that at least $12 trillion was needed to invest in new fossil fuel projects between now and 2045. Without it, well, petrol will become more or less unaffordable. And it won’t be very available either.

He backed his assertion with the conviction that there was no way future energy requirements could be met with renewable energy or hydrogen.

Meanwhile, a week earlier, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that demand for fossil fuels would peak in six years time.  The IEA has also called for investment and spending on new oil and gas projects to cease. Immediately.  There’s a (presumably) global memorandum of intent to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

Forgive me if I decide to take all this personally. I drive a petrol-powered car, but I’m hoping that by the time my daughter has a measure of independence, she’ll drive an EV. Or HV. Or WV for heaven’s sake. Anything, as long as it’s not powered by petrol. Anyway, every time I go to fill up, I have faint sense of resentment towards OPEC. I can still remember when they held the world to ransom in 1973 by driving up prices for political purposes. I have even more resentment towards my government (South African) because they’ve mismanaged the economy so badly that fuel is now regarded as a luxury.

Fuel for Thought

So OPEC and the South African government have relieved me of between 12 and 15 percent of everything I’ve ever earned. Before 1973, it would have been between 3 and 5 percent. Okay, let me not take things personally. Let’s say there are 17 million gasoline-burning cars in America. This is a New York Times estimate. And let’s also say that the average American spends $3000 dollars a year filling up. That’s $51 billion a year. And that’s just the private sector. In a country where petrol is still cheap!

So OPEC have just basically asked the world for $12 trillion in order for us to keep destroying the atmosphere whilst emptying our wallets. This is an organization that’s still making well over $1 billion a day from oil exports.

The IEA are saying the world will pass the point of no return if we don’t achieve zero emissions. The target is five years after OPEC has finished spending the money we’ve given them, in 2050. And I’m not even sure the world will trust the EV industry for too much longer, either. The narrative is becoming far too commercial and competitive. And then, of course, there’s the batteries.

Whoever wins this OPEC vs IEA spat– the oil industry that’s in its death throes or the rebound  relationship promised by EVs – the real losers will be your children.

On a closing note, it’s 11:23 pm here in South Africa. In 37 minutes, there will be the second petrol price increase of 12% in one month.

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