The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) Secretary General Haitham Al Ghais described calls to abandon oil as "wrong and unrealistic," because oil, which represents 31 percent of the global energy mix, has undoubtedly been the "lifeblood of modern life." Al Ghais, in an interview with KUNA, said oil would continue to play an "important and vital" role in international markets for decades to come. "Abandoning it is not easy," he added.

He said oil occupies an important part in human life. "Oil and its products are used in many of the vital daily activities of people regardless of their locations, nationalities, jobs or interests, such as transportation, travel, energy production and manufacturing," added Al Ghais.

Al Ghais highlighted the abundance of oil and added that "oil is also easy to extract, refine and transport. All these factors have made oil extremely important since it was discovered decades ago. It plays nowadays a vital role in the global economy and it has become an integral part of our daily life. We also depend on it due to its supplies being secured.

"There have been many voices in recent years calling for abandoning oil under the excuse of protecting the environment," he said, and warned of the severe consequences that the world could face if oil production would be stopped.

Therefore, he said, OPEC has launched awareness campaigns to highlight the importance of oil and its vital role in our daily life in various languages, including English, Arabic, German, Spanish and Persian, and many other languages.

Al Ghais, commenting on sectors that would be affected if the world stopped using oil, said the impact would extend to road, sea and air transport, ambulances, food production, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment.

"If oil disappeared, this would also affect the production of renewable energy, such as manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels, as their production is linked to oil products," he said, adding that "Lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars would also be affected." Al Ghais highlighted further that "we would also be unable to produce soaps and toothpastes.

"It would also have catastrophic impacts on millions of people losing their jobs. It would also put manufacturing worldwide to a halt, slow global economic growth and worsen energy poverty in many countries as millions won't be able to secure the energy they need including electricity," he added.

Currently, around 2.3 billion people still lack access to clean cooking fuels and oil can play a role in providing energy to meet these critical needs, he noted.

Al Ghais called for encouraging development of the oil industry and the investments it requires, while improving the industry's environmental credentials. "This is OPEC's message to the world," he stated.

OPEC continues to receive support and praise for its reasonable calls and efforts to find realistic solutions amidst false information and biased narratives that lack any scientific merit calling for abandoning oil, he said.

There have been, he added, reports that oil demand would peak by 2030, "which are regrettably based on ideologies" pushing for abandoning oil and gas in general.

Reports by OPEC and international energy consultancies affirm the important and critical role of oil in the decades to come because of the anticipated growth in world's population, which is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2045, of which the majority will happen in developing countries, said Al Ghais.

He said that OPEC projects global oil demand to reach 116 million barrels per day (bpd) in its base scenario and 120 million bpd in one of its alternative scenarios by 2045, and noted there should be adequate investments to provide for "these huge needs for energy and oil.

"In order to secure the necessary oil supplies, we need to invest around USD 14 trillion in the different sectors of the oil industry by 2045," he said, which would support enhancing energy security and the development of technologies that help in reducing emissions.

Al Ghais noted that calls to stop using oil has caused panic and confusion. "We heard projections during the COVID-19 pandemic that global oil demand had reached its peak and it would soon start dropping.

"We are now in 2024 and all these projections proved to be wrong, as oil demand has been increasing on an annual basis, reaching record-breaking levels," said Al Ghais.

OPEC, fulfilling its role by providing the world with secure, stable and environmentally friendly energy, has injected investments in the oil industry and other energy sectors, like renewables, as well as in technologies that can help in reducing emissions.

"The organization's member countries believe in the importance of guaranteeing global energy security and reducing emissions," he said. Member countries of OPEC have actively adopted initiatives and developed projects to support climate change mitigation efforts, he noted, adding that OPEC has been an observer to the Conference of the Parties (COP) since the beginning.

For example, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced at COP28 in Dubai a joint initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions from gas and oil.

OPEC member countries, said Al Ghais, have abundant natural resources and vast expertise in oil and energy, which should be harnessed towards the development of innovative solutions to reduce emissions and ensure regular and reliable supplies of energy.

Among the solutions, he said, were carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), enhanced oil recovery (EOR) using CO2, direct air capture (DAC) and emission reduction strategies to alleviate carbon intensity in oil's upstream, midstream and downstream sectors.

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