Going according to the script set over the last few years, the sixth edition of the Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah International Energy Awards witnessed a number of personalities being recognised for various contributions in their respective fields. And one of the most prominent names to feature at the awards night, which took place at the Museum of Islamic Art on May 7, was Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chief Executive Officer of Qatargas, who was given the Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of the Qatar Energy Industry award.
The Qatargas CEO was one of seven distinguished individuals recognised for exemplary careers in the energy industry, which included the OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, who was selected as the 2018 winner of the International Energy Award for Lifetime Achievement for the Advancement of OPEC. The other winners included Maria Van Der Hoeven, former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, who was recognised in the category of Producer-Consumer Dialogue. During her tenure at the International Energy Agency (IEA), she steered a period of exceptional economic transition in the global energy industry.
The Foundation’s annual Honorary Award for Advancement of International Energy Policy and Diplomacy was given to Lee R Raymond, former Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil.
Professor Paul Stevens, Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House, received the accolade for The Advancement of Educating Future Energy Leaders, and Mustapha Bakkoury, President of Masen, the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency, was recognised for The Advancement of Renewable Energy. Another notable awardee was Kate Dourian, Programme Officer Middle East and North Africa, Directorate of Global Energy Relations at the IEA, and previously Middle East Editor for Platts for over a decade. Dourian was recognised for her achievements in the Advancement of International Energy Journalism.
Widely recognised for establishing ExxonMobil as the world’s leading oil company, Raymond’s landmark achievements as Chairman and CEO include acquiring rival Mobil in 1999, and propelling the company’s market value fourfold to $375 billion by the end of his tenure in 2005, overtaking BP as the largest global oil company and displacing General Electric as the largest US Corporation. In the same year, The Economist dubbed Raymond as possibly the most successful oilman in a century.
According to him, the technology and progress the world is witnessing is what drives the whole industry. “You have to commit to this technology and you should always strive to develop and enable the new technologies. I have been most interested in ‘proprietary technology’ because it simply gives you priority.”
He adds: “If you accept to buy technology developed by others, you will not make much progress. Of course it will help and facilitate things, but what made the others really progress is their investment in proprietary technology.”
Raymond holds the view that the world cannot move forward without oil and gas. “What is important and what is needed is to be more efficient in providing this energy, and today’s efficiency compared to 30 or 40 years ago is unimaginable,” he says, adding: “I am optimistic that the future will be similar and we will continue to save energy, but the demand will also continue to increase because the world’s population is increasing and the quality of life is also improving, and both are dependent mainly on energy.”
Raymond is of the opinion that energy is an opportunity for everybody because “it will grow and contribute to economies and development”. As far as governments are concerned, he says: “They have challenges in balancing politics and economics. But they have to realise that without energy, societies may collapse and that clearly won’t do anybody any good. The goal is to work together to make the energy sector more efficient and more responsible while, at the same time, meeting demand and consumption rates as world economies grow.”
Tanaka, Chairman of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, member of the 2018 Selection Committee and a winner of the Advancement of Producer-Consumer Dialogue 2014 Award, makes the point that when energy is made available through new technology, there will be no need for wars that usually break out when resources are limited. “Oil is often the source of conflict, but the likelihood of energy being unlimited and available everywhere is increasing day by day,” says Tanaka. “This reduces the possibility of conflicts and wars over energy, which promotes peace around the world. Therefore, I advise countries to invest in new ideas and in innovations.”
He further says that there are many new technologies in the field of energy, so the revolutions that are witnessed in the rates of production and exploration are essentially the result of those technologies. “Of course, gas is important, but in the future, hydrogen is expected to be used as an alternative. This is a very clean alternative offered by modern technology.”
“Renewable energy is certainly closely related to technology, and we believe that solar energy is increasingly becoming cheaper, which will lead to a huge change in renewable energy, and we will see how far these efforts will go. Nobody knows what hybrid technology can offer us, especially with regard to nuclear technology.”
Bakkoury feels that there are enough technologies and plenty of scope for the development of these technologies to meet current and future needs. “We should only open the doors to innovations and invite the youth to keep up with these innovations and to utilise technological development in that sector.”
Bakkoury also says: “It’s an honour to be among the recognised individuals from the global energy sector because it recognises the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco and His Majesty, Mohammed VI, in particular for his efforts in energy and sustainable development and reducing the effects of climate change by making renewable energy a considerable share of the energy mix, in addition to gas.”
” This, of course, will inspire us to continue working and to form partnerships with energy institutions. I’m glad to be present in Doha today, and I hope more projects will be developed in the future, in addition to the joint projects in Morocco or outside of Morocco, at the level of the entire African continent.”