At the latest Al-Attiyah Foundation CEO Roundtable, top decision makers, internationally renowned experts and dignitaries came together to reflect on the key events in the energy industry of the passing year and discuss what might be significant in the months to come.
The high-profile event, titled ‘Reflecting on 2023 and Shaping Climate Action in 2024’, was held on the 6th of December in Doha and moderated by the acclaimed broadcaster, Mr. Axel Threlfall. The discussion featured guest speakers: Professor Paul Stevens, Professor Emeritus at the University of Dundee and distinguished fellow at the Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ); Professor Graham Weale, Professor of Energy Economics at Ruhr University Bochum; Mr. Alan Gelder, VP Refining, Chemicals and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie; Mr. Robin Mills, CEO at Qamar Energy; and Mr. Chris Gentle, Senior Advisor, Partnerships and New Ventures at the World Energy Council.
The “Trilemma for Energy” formed the basis of the session’s analysis of trends witnessed over the past 12 months and predictions for 2024. The Trilemma is a framework of three objectives that energy policymakers need to balance, and which is often used as a guide in designing energy policy. The trilemma comprises of sustainability which involves decarbonising energy; security that seeks to ensure the security and reliability of energy supplies; and affordability which involves minimising the cost of energy to consumers.
With reference to the sustainability segment of the Trilemma, guests spoke of how stakeholders are increasingly demanding greater accountability from companies across sectors, challenging them to keep pace with rapidly evolving environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting guidelines.
It was also noted, the major effect of ongoing global political tensions has been supply chain disruptions. With European nations facing the challenge of lessening dependencies on Russian gas, minimising supply shortages and disruptions while prioritising energy efficiency and conservation has been thrust front and centre.
As less efficient supply chains contributed to general inflation in project engineering supplies, central banks responded by raising interest rates, further influencing project economics. However, there are indications that these rates and inflation may have plateaued, with an expected decline to 6.6 percent in 2023 and 4.3 percent in 2024, though still above pre-pandemic levels.
Guests also speculated on the lingering and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale. China's adherence to its zero-COVID strategy, marked by lockdowns and stringent controls, continued to hamper manufacturing output and delay ocean freight during 2023.
Sourcing from Chinese manufacturers was chief among supply chain risks in 2023, according to analytics firm Everstream’s annual risk report. The analysis gave a 90% risk score to the possibility of delays and cancellations from China-based suppliers, noting the continued likelihood of localised COVID-19 disruptions in the country.
Speaking at the CEO Roundtable, His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Al-Attiyah Foundation and former Minister of Energy and Industry of the State of Qatar, said: “It was wonderful to hear expert insights from guest speakers and attendees as reflect on the past year and look forward to 2024. We find ourselves standing at the crossroads of energy and sustainability. The events of 2023, as discussed in this CEO Roundtable, underscore the intricate dance of the 'Trilemma for Energy'—a delicate balance between sustainability, security, and affordability. In this dynamic landscape, where uncertainties persist, we must navigate towards a future that embraces sustainability without compromising security and affordability.”
To learn more on hydrogen and its potential impact on the energy transition visit the Al-Attiyah Foundation website at http://www.abhafoundation.org
By: The Al-Attiyah Foundation