World Petroleum Congress urges partnerships for development

Sep 26, 2005 02:00 AM

The World Petroleum Congress (WPC) got under way with a call for cooperation between oil producing and consuming nations even as the host African countries decried the negative impact on development due to high global oil prices.
Pointing to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina followed by Hurricane Rita in the US, South African President Thabo Mbeki called on the developed countries to pay heed to the feeling of despair engulfing the poor developing countries.
"The (energy) sector that you represent is central to global economic and social development and, therefore, has enormous possibilities to contribute to an atmosphere of optimism affecting all countries, especially the developing countries," said Mbeki.

Highlighting the theme “Africa Rising To Its Energy Potential”, the colourful inaugural programme projected the spirit of hope with host countries South Africa, Algeria, Angola and Nigeria seeking investments to develop their hydrocarbon resources. At the same time, it also underlined that large parts of the African continent were unable to rise out of poverty due to high fuel prices.
Over 60 countries, including India, China and Brazil, are participating in the five-day mega energy meet being held after three years with a record 560 speakers and over 3,000 delegates participating to study ways on how to optimise the finite resources for sustainable development.

India is participating in the conference-cum-exhibition to seek inward investments and also strive for participation in overseas markets particularly exploration activities in Africa, Middle East and Central Asia.
While warning of environmental disasters like hurricanes and tsunami that struck South Asian countries last year, Mbeki said: "Billions would rebel in response to what they consider legitimate right of the poor that has been unjustly deferred by the rich (nations)."

Eivald Roren, president of the WPC, stressed that energy was the lifeblood of economic and social development.
"The recent price hike has reminded us that spare capacity of production and refining does not help," said Roren, calling for "political courage, especially by developed countries" to consider reduction in energy fuel use and ensure reduction in pollution generated as a result of hydrocarbon fuels. He said at the current rate of oil consumption, demand would double by 2020 and the supply would be unable to cope.

"Prevailing market reality is moving beyond control of traditional players. We are looking to cooperation between producer and consumer countries," said Edmund Daukoru, Nigerian minister of petroleum and energy. Stating that African countries were "vulnerable to high oil prices", Daukoru called for "forging energy cooperation for development".
The largest producer and exporter of oil in the African continent, Nigeria, also called for transparency in the energy sector.
"Industry is coming increasingly under international scrutiny and the focus should be on transparency," said Daukoru.

Seeking the cooperation of the WPC, Angolan Petroleum Minister Desiderio Costa said: "The petroleum industry should seek more affordable technologies for sustainable development of energy sector."
To help attract more investment to African oil industry, Costa underlined need for investor friendly legislation and regulations, particularly in the production sharing contracts."

Source: IANS
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