Leaders of the world’s biggest oil companies have used an industry gathering in Houston to launch an attack on the speed of transition to clean energy, claiming a badly managed process could lead to “insecurity, rampant inflation and social unrest”.
Executives from oil companies including Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil producer, and US oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron publicly described the shift towards clean energy alternatives as “deeply flawed”. They called for fossil fuels to remain part of the energy mix for years to come despite global efforts for an urgent response to the climate crisis.
Saudi Aramco’s chief executive, Amin Nasser, told delegates at the World Petroleum Congress in Houston, Texas, that adapting to cleaner fuels “overnight” could trigger uncontrolled economic inflation.
“I understand that publicly admitting that oil and gas will play an essential and significant role during the transition and beyond will be hard for some,” he said. “But admitting this reality will be far easier than dealing with energy insecurity, rampant inflation and social unrest as the prices become intolerably high, and seeing net zero commitments by countries start to unravel.
“The world is facing an ever more chaotic energy transition centred on highly unrealistic scenarios and assumptions about the future of energy.”
Anders Opedal, the boss of Equinor, Norway’s state oil company, said: “The volatility in commodity prices and the impact on business and people illustrates the risks we face in an imbalanced transition.”