Major oil consuming countries give clashing signals about alternative sources of energy, Qatari minister says

May 15, 2010
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No energy will replace oil in the near future, Qatar’s deputy prime minister and minister of energy and industry has said.

“Oil will continue to be the main source of energy for at least another 50 years,” Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Atiyyah said as he objected to the use of the term “alternative sources of energy.”

“When major consumers sit with us away from the press, they urge us to invest more money in the field and to develop capacities. However, when they are in public, we hear expressions such as ‘foreign oil’ and statements such as ‘We cannot trust the producers’ and ‘We need to think of alternative sources of energy’.  We are honestly confused and do not know whether to believe the public statements or the private statements,” Al Atiyyah told the Bahrain Global Forum.

The Qatari minister said that oil and gas producers did not want to feel threatened.

“We have just heard about Congressmen pushing for fighting foreign oil. What is foreign oil? We believe in free trade and US products are in our country. Do we say that they are foreign products and we should fight them? Do we say we should pull them out of our market? If they threaten with this foreign oil claim, we believe that they want to create uncertainty,” the minister said. “Is foreign an accusation? Are foreigners criminals? I am a foreigner when I go abroad, so does that make me a criminal?”

According to Al Atiyyah, one of the major challenges facing the developing countries today is how to provide adequate, affordable and reliable sources of energy, such as electricity and gas to two billion people who lack these basic services. “Most of the future energy demand growth is likely to come from developing countries, and this could worsen an already difficult situation,” he said at a plenary session devoted to expert insights into harnessing energy resources for economic prosperity and security.

Attributing social development slowdown to the absence of energy in rural areas in developing countries, Al Atiyyah called for promoting modern energy usage in these areas to promote living standards, remove the threat to economic prosperity and mitigate the impact of biomass usage on people’s health and the environment.

In the speech, Al Atiyyah said that policy makers in producing and consuming countries were not dealing with energy issues in an integrated ways that leads to an optimum resolution.

“Ensuring energy security needs to be tackled from several perspectives: At the global level to ensure adequacy of resources, at the regional level to ensure that trade networks are established, at the producers level to ensure security of supply and at the consumer level to ensure demand,” Al Atiyyah said. “Ensuring continuous availability of energy supplies and services can be attained by ensuring the availability of abundant oil supplies at affordable prices and improving energy efficiency. Preserving the environment must be at the core of any sustainable energy strategy,” he said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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