Abu Dhabi: Global energy giants representing the world’s leading oil, gas, and petrochemical companies sounded cautious optimism on the state of the global economy and the uptick in demand for energy as they convened at a special virtual edition of the Abu Dhabi CEO Roundtable.
The exclusive, invitation-only event marked the fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi CEO Roundtable and was hosted by Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and group CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc).
“This virtual edition of the Abu Dhabi CEO Roundtable provided an important opportunity for leaders of the world’s oil, gas, and petrochemical industries to share best practices around critical issues, as we navigate the post-COVID-19 period in a fast-evolving energy landscape,” said Dr Al Jaber.
“The roundtable offered an excellent platform to share valuable lessons on how to ensure the safety of our people, the resilience of our business, and the long-term growth of our industry,” he added.
Among the key discussions included the short and medium term outlook on oil market dynamics as the world continues to grapple with the pandemic, and the need for energy companies to transition towards a strategy of providing energy with fewer emissions in the long term.
“I would say in Europe today we are more optimistic because we are getting out of the lockdown and honestly in our industry, the consumption of energy is going up quite quickly,” said Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and CEO of Total, providing his outlook.
“We can see that in electricity, in power supply we were down 20 per cent. We are now back almost to normal market levels. In our fuels business, we are still not at standard levels, but demand is coming back quite quickly,” he added.
Bernard Looney, CEO of BP – which recently announced non-cash impairment charges and write offs for the second quarter ranging from $13 billion to $17.5 billion – said the market continued to remain volatile, and that companies would need to react accordingly.
“I do think the response has probably been a bit quicker than we expected. I think that’s a good thing. As ever, we don’t know what the future holds.
“And while I’m optimistic about it, I’m only optimistic because we are very focused on the things we control – getting our business in shape…with discipline. So, optimistic but we don’t know and therefore we’re focused on what we control,” he added.
Other Roundtable participants included Amin Nasser, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco; Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries Limited; Takayuki Ueda, president and CEO, INPEX; Dai Houliang, Chairman, CNPC; and Vagit Alekperov, president and CEO, LUKOIL.
And highlighting why the energy industry is feeling optimistic, oil prices were up again on Wednesday, with global benchmark Brent crude trading above $40.
Oil prices, which saw historic lows back in April, have made a gradual recovery since then thanks to production cuts by Opec+ and the rolling back of lockdown measures which has led to economies slowly reopening again.
Opec+ this month also agreed to extend production cuts of 9.6 million barrels per day throughout the month of July, as the body continues to work towards rebalancing oil markets.
“Having prices around the $40, with marginal moves to either direction should be expected for the rest of June,” said Bjornar Tonhaugen, Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets.
“A daily decline or rise, if marginal, does not mean much now and it’s just a result of market forces trying to sell fear and buy enthusiasm. But we don’t expect it to be anything else than a gentle constant bounce,” he added, pointing to some short term stability for oil markets.