Statement by the Secretary General of OPEC to the high-level segment of the UNCSD-15

Delivered by HE Abdalla Salem El-Badri, OPEC's Secretary General, New York, 10 May 2007

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

I should like to share with you the following messages:

1. OPEC strongly supports dialogue between energy producers and consumers, at the same time as pursuing its longstanding objective of greater market stability. Both policies have a positive impact on the prospects of sustainable development for all, developing and developed countries alike;

2. OPEC welcomes greater diversity in the energy mix;

3. Energy should be used more effectively and efficiently;

4. The development and deployment of cleaner fossil fuel technologies, including carbon capture and storage, are crucial for sustainable development.

It is important to recall what was clearly expressed in Johannesburg in 2002, that the eradication of poverty is the greatest challenge facing the world today, and that access to energy facilitates the eradication of poverty.

I am sure you are all acquainted with the following basic facts:

  • 2.4 billion people lack access to modern fuels for cooking and heating;
  • 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity.

Access to modern energy services is essential for poverty eradication and sustainable development, and plays a crucial role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals we have all pledged to reach.

In OPEC, we welcome any diversification in the energy mix, which can contribute to reaching the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development. We believe that the introduction of new fuels, such as biofuels, could be a good step forward. However, their contribution towards meeting the world’s energy needs will remain modest, at best. Furthermore, their expansion will create greater competition for land, water and food, and this is detrimental to the Millennium Development Goals.

It is clear that fossil fuels will continue to satisfy the lion’s share of the world’s growing energy needs for decades to come. Demand for energy is expected to increase by more than 50 per cent by 2030, and most of that increase will be provided by fossil fuels. Cumulative total investment requirements in energy are estimated to be in the order of US $20 trillion. 40 per cent of this, or some $8 trillion, is needed in the oil and natural gas sectors. Therefore, if we are to tackle climate change with the sense of urgency that is being called for in many quarters, it is important to continue to promote the development and deployment of cleaner fossil fuel technologies.

In this connection, carbon capture and storage is an existing technology, with the potential to contribute up to 40 per cent of emission reductions by the middle of the century. However, industrialised countries, having the financial and technological capabilities, should take the lead in developing and deploying this technology.

With today’s technology, petroleum provides the most accessible, useable and affordable energy source for many countries seeking to develop and modernise their economies. Fuels derived from petroleum have become increasingly cleaner over the years.

As was clearly expressed in Johannesburg in 2002, the eradication of poverty is the greatest challenge facing the world today. In particular, urgent action is required to reduce indoor air pollution from traditional biomass cooking and heating, through access to modern energy services.

It is clear that, in taking on such a challenge, we must all work together to achieve a balanced, and realistic outcome— and, perhaps most importantly, a sustainable one — at this session is essential. Developing countries will need more energy, and not less, to meet their social and economic needs. And so we must all play our part in achieving a sustainable world.

Finally, OPEC believes that the legitimate interests and views of oil-producing developing countries, which supply the world with a valuable, exhaustible natural resource, should be considered at all times in multilateral discussions involving energy, development and the environment.

Thank you.