|28/01/2006 | Energy 2006: New Energy Security Institutions
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World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006
Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times, United Kingdom, introduced the session by asking panellists and participants to consider whether, given that the global energy sector is the most important economic system, new international institutions are needed to consider security, environmental and supply-chain issues. The consensus among the session's panellists was no. New institutions are not needed, but policy and further cooperation among existing institutions and global energy players are required.
Edmund Daukoru, President of the OPEC Conference and Secretary General, Vienna; Minister of State for Petroleum Resources of Nigeria, suggested that oil supply shocks fall into five general categories, each of which can be mitigated by enhanced cooperation and discussions between producers and consumers: (1) demand increases faster than production, as in the case of China and India; (2) actions of traders that are not working within the system artificially heat up pricing; (3) downstream bottlenecks – refining capacity is constrained as a result of having no new refining capacity in the last 30 years, predominantly because the permit system is so difficult; (4) natural disasters; and (5) geopolitical problems. Daukoru stressed that OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have developed unprecedented levels of cooperation in recent years, which he credits with stabilizing global oil markets during recent difficult times, including Hurricane Katrina.
Claude Mandil, Executive Director, International Energy Agency, Paris, agreed with Daukoru that no new institutions are needed. Instead, he believes that a closer look at the threats is required so that existing institutions can manage crises better. Specifically, he highlighted poor regulations in certain electricity markets, which have been unable to cope with unexpected events. He stated that participants should consider why there has been a shortage in investment in the energy sector. Mandil reiterated Daukoru's statement that OPEC and the IEA have been engaged in fruitful cooperation recently, as well as with the International Energy Forum (between producers and consumers). This cooperation is working but the real concern, according to Mandil, is whether governments have the resources and expertise to devise appropriate domestic and international cooperation. He noted that, traditionally, energy has not been on the agenda of meetings between heads of state, but that is changing and he sees this as a positive sign.
Edward J. Markey, Congressman from Massachusetts (Democrat), USA, commented there are two great rising threats to global energy development: (1) climate change; and (2) the risk of terrorism. Markey concurred that the IEA was instrumental in calming oil markets during Hurricane Katrina, but he noted that the incident called into question the level of the world's immediately available strategic crude reserves. By analogy, he described the development of the United States' strategic home oil heating reserve in the US north-east, and how Hurricane Katrina exposed potential shortfalls in that system, which he proposed to expand through new legislation in the US Congress. A similar analysis on global strategic reserves is also required so that longer-term disruptions can be accommodated.
Daniel Yergin, Chairman, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, USA, explained that"energy security" is an evolving concept, which today means different things to different countries. Yergin provided participants with a list of principles to consider when discussing energy security:
· Diversity of sources – enhances stability
· Globalization of energy system
· Resilience of system – is additional capacity available?
· Flexibility of markets – need to facilitate
· Reality of integration – there is only one oil market
· Renewables – near and long term need more focus
· Supply-chain security – scale is enormous
· Intergovernmental relations
· Importance of information – timely and accurate
· Investment bill – by 2030 US$ 17 trillion investment needed (approximately 2% of global GDP)
|Energy 2006: A New Nuclear Calculus
|World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006
|Nuclear energy is gaining ground around the world as a viable and affordable source of energy. But as the Iranian crisis underscores, its appeal is diminished by the potential for nuclear weapons production parallel to civilian applications. |
"This topic demonstrates how quickly conventional wisdom can change," said David Ignatius, Associate Editor and Columnist, The Washington Post, USA. "If we had this session ten years ago, we would have agreed that nuclear power was dead." Its relative appeal has increased due to factors such as rising oil prices, better safety conditions and concerns about carbon emissions. "There is talk of a civilian nuclear renaissance."
The dawn of a new era came when the Clinton Administration approved the extension of operating agreements for nuclear reactors in the United States, noted Anne Lauvergeon, Chairman of the Executive Board, Areva, France. Since then new plants have been springing up around the world. "There is already a nuclear renaissance," said Lauvergeon, whose company works with the front-end and back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, reactors and services. "We're already at maximum capacity and expanding. At all steps in the process, business is booming." There are three main reasons for the boom, in her opinion: (1) "Nuclear energy is a very cheap way to produce electricity at a predictable cost" – in part because the cost of the key variable, uranium, accounts for only 5% of each kilowatt/hour; (2) since it is produced domestically, nuclear power contributes to the energy security of individual nations; and (3) increasingly, utilities are worried about being taxed for CO2 emissions."
Mohamed M. ElBaradei, Director-General, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, was called upon primarily to address the current Iranian crisis. The Iranians argue that they need to develop enrichment capability because they cannot be assured of a guaranteed supply of fuel, he observed. "I would separate the issues of using nuclear technology for energy and to produce weapons," he said. "I would call upon the United States to provide Iran with reactors, and I would call upon Iran to declare a moratorium on enrichment for at least eight or nine years" until the country can earn the confidence of the rest of the global community." Neither the nuclear crisis nor other pressing issues regarding Iran can be resolved "through escalation", he said. His advice to Western officials: "You need to keep all options on the table, but you are paid to make policy decisions. I would hold my horses to allow for the continuation of negotiations."
"I think Mohamed is drawing the line at the right place," added Graham Allison, Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA. "I have no doubts that Iran has nuclear ambitions, but the challenge is to get them to forego them through a combination of carrots and sticks." Allison backed the proposal to guarantee fuel and allow Iran to build additional power plants. In his opinion, "a good interim proposal" is Russia's offer to form a joint venture with Iran to enrich uranium on Russian soil, supply it to Iran and take back the spent fuel.
If Iran joins the nuclear club, the most troubling aspect will be the effect on non-proliferation, added Allison. Citing a United Nations report, he warned of a "cascade effect" that may bring about nuclear bombs in countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria. "You would see the 'nuclearization' of the region," he said. "The root of this evil is that nuclear fuel cycles were created for weapons production," said Alyson J. K. Bailes, Director, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Sweden. "Civilian use came later. The step to weapons development is built-in." She proposed "a completely different base for the fuel cycle" through technological innovation such as the use of thorium fusion. She also proposed extending the European model of multinational consortiums like EURENCO and EURODIF to the rest of the world. "Such a model is more transparent," she said. "And everybody gets clean energy."
ElBaradei blessed the quest for new technologies but in the meantime advocated international control over nuclear activities in all countries and the creation of a global fuel bank to insure the supply of uranium to everyone. He also called for an increase in his agency's budget: "It is embarrassing to say that we verify the entire world with a budget of US$ 120 million – less than that of the New York Knicks."
|Energy 2006: The Future of Alternative Energy
|World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006
|Adam Smallman, News Editor, Dow Jones, United Kingdom, introduced the session and noted that the focus would be on the rise of biofuels. As a result of the shortages in oil market capacity, coupled with concerns about the environment, Smallman noted, interest in biofuels is witnessing a resurgence. Brazil has become the world leader in biofuels, with over 30 years of experience. Smallman challenged the panellists to consider why biofuel has been such a phenomenon in Brazil and elsewhere, and why it is not a global commodity like oil, the commodity it is competing with.|
José Sergio de Azevedo Gabrielli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Petroleo Brasileiro SA Petrobras, Brazil, explained that a combination of distribution challenges, coupled with international trade barriers, have prevented biofuels from becoming a global commodity. Gabrielli described Brazil's gradual transformation from a state-subsidized ethanol programme to a modern free market that engages over 50,000 companies. The Government of Brazil's requirement that at least 25% of all gasoline be blended with ethanol was a major driver for the development of Brazil's ethanol industry, he observed.
Saxby Chambliss, Senator from Georgia (Republican), USA, reflected on the United States' experience with biofuels. US production of ethanol is derived 100% from corn, while Brazil's comes from sugar cane. He noted that the US is trying to learn from Brazil's experience, including Brazil's transition to a completely market-based system for biofuels. Chambliss also anticipates that next year's Farm Bill will have further provisions to incentivize US farmers to expand the production of biofuel products. These incentives, coupled with increased production efficiencies in corn fields, will lead to a big push in US advancement into biofuels, according to Chambliss.
Thierry Desmarest, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Total, France, accepted that world energy demand is growing at a rate that requires alternatives to be considered. In addition to ethanol, Desmarest believes that other energies should still be considered, such as energy produced from biomass (by-products from agriculture), as well as nuclear energy (assuming the non-proliferation issues are addressed). If world energy demand continues at its existing rate of a 2% increase per year, Desmarest predicts, the production peak of oil may be reached in 15-20 years. If the growth in global demand for oil can be reduced to 1% per year, through conservation and utilization of alternative energies, then Desmarest believes the peak can be extended to occur in 30-40 years.
Luiz Fernando Furlan, Minister of Development, Industry and Trade of Brazil, noted two potential disadvantage of ethanol. First, he explained that the price of ethanol can vary, just like any other crop-based product – changes in weather and harvest yield can make the price vary from year to year. Second, he noted that distribution networks need to be created to allow ethanol to be marketable on a competitive basis. With respect to Brazil's choice to develop sugar cane-based ethanol, Furlan believes this choice is preferential to corn-based ethanol for various reasons: (1) it utilizes less energy than corn to convert into ethanol; (2) the same sugar cane crop produces up to six years of harvests, as compared to corn, which needs to be replanted each year; and (3) sugar cane is more cost effective than corn. Furlan noted Brazil's interest to expand its cooperation with the United States in the area of biofuels to enable the development of a world market and to attract investment in the field.
Amory B. Lovins, Chief Executive Officer, Rocky Mountain Institute, USA, challenged the conventional wisdom that oil will always be a part of the US economy. According to Lovins, a concerted effort to promote crop production on unused farmland (that farmers are being paid not to farm on), together with the efficiencies in automobile technology can lead to a fossil fuel-free automobile industry in the United States. Lovins described another area of biofuels that should be considered – cellulosic ethanol (ethanol derived from grasses and agricultural waste). He believes that such ethanol can be produced in large quantities without the need for new land, and as a profitable business.
|New Energy for Indian Reforms
|World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006
|Moderator Manjeet Kripalani, Bureau Chief, BusinessWeek, India, introduced the session by saying that everyone agreed on the need for reforms in India, but this raised the question of how to implement them. Palaniappan Chidambaram, Minister of Finance of India, said that current reforms are driven by a unique model that sees the bulk of resources coming from within the country. The government acknowledges that reforms will not be accepted unless basic minimum needs are addressed.|
The government's main targets and priorities are centred on irrigation – increasing agricultural output by extending the surface of irrigated land and bringing in new technologies. Another focus is the country's manufacturing sector, India being a current world leader in 12 different sectors. Infrastructure is high on the agenda. Present deficiencies are caused by an explosive growth in demand. Airports, seaports and roads are already congested. New development schemes have been announced. These include the multiplication of power plants and the creation of special economic zones. Chidambaram said India has also to begin dreaming about huge building projects like those in China. Similarly, laggards must be punished while good performers must be rewarded. If investment levels are raised, growth can be lifted to 9-10% a year.
Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, India, gave three reasons to implement reforms: the whole world is looking at India; cities need quick upgrading; and rural India is becoming urban India. Cities such as Mumbai have been on the verge of collapse because so many rural dwellers have moved to urban areas in search of jobs. There is great need for housing, which also offers investment opportunities to the private sector. Developing housing can stop the growth of slums. Similarly, power and water policies have to be enacted at city and national levels. Access to health and education has to be extended to the marginalized. Dikshit said that there is great buoyancy in India and confidence to achieve greater growth, but the system has to be changed and made less bureaucratic. The first reform needed is for fast-track decision-making. The feeling of mistrust between people and government has to end.
Montek S. Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, India, asked how the reforms could be implemented on the ground. The participation of people is an end in itself, even if it takes time, he replied. As to deciding whether implementation of reforms is taking place, he pointed out that there is a difference between what is understood by technocrats and what is perceived by people. People recognize that if planners are aiming for stronger growth, things have to be done differently. In coming years, more than half the investments in infrastructure are expected to come from the private sector. Competition among states will provide the energy for reforms.
Following table discussions, business leaders were asked to give their opinions. Yogesh C. Deveshwar, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); Chairman, ITC, India, mentioned two charts that were presented to him at the table. The first one showed India very well positioned in terms of economic growth. The second illustrated a country that needs to create between 9 and 10 million jobs per year. Job creation must accompany economic growth, otherwise there will be social tensions, said Deveshwar. Small farmers can be empowered through the use of digital technology to link them to the outside world. They can also be trained to make their agricultural activities sustainable. Education has to meet the demands of the job market. India and the Western world can complement each other, India offering its expanding skilled labour pool to developed countries with dwindling labour forces.
Hans-Joachim Körber, Chief Executive Officer, Metro, Germany, said that developing an international business always starts with respect for the local culture and people. Metro is present in numerous emerging markets where modern distribution is seen as a key element. But India is still debating the necessity to have modern distribution channels. Middlemen do not add value to products. Körber said India has a huge potential for exports if it can get a grip on the supply chain. Reliability is a key issue. Moreover, modern distribution can raise the living standards of farmers.
Dalip Pathak, Managing Director and Head, Europe and India, Warburg Pincus International, United Kingdom, said that his firm has invested four times more in India than in China. He believes India offers better conditions to international investors, while multinationals find it easier to start manufacturing operations in China. His long-term concerns have to do with increasing costs due to infrastructural deficits and employment.
B. Ramalinga Raju, Chairman, Satyam Computer Services, India, looked at the increasing share of the world's GDP – 71% – devoted to services, with its virtual trade platforms that are now available and the opportunities they represent. In his view, the debate on outsourcing to India as compared to the US and China is misplaced. The debate should be on how India can add value to business.
|Energy 2006: The Great Game – The Changing Dynamics of World Oil Demand
|World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2006
|The days of easy oil are over. The days of easy oil are over. It's worth repeating, because for those who remember the oil shocks of 30 years ago, the significance may not have yet sunk in. The fact is, however, that energy supplies today are more precarious than when prices spiked in the 1970s. Political tensions in the past produced temporary shortages and price increases, but ultimately there was oil to be had from somewhere else. "We had years of free capacity," said Jeroen van der Veer, Chief Executive, Royal Dutch Shell, Netherlands. Now, rapidly growing demand is stretching supply lines to the breaking point. That leaves the world's energy consumers vulnerable to sudden supply shocks. It also means new long-term supplies need to be found and developed, which means spending more to dig up each new barrel of oil. |
Of course, it's no secret where all this demand is coming from – emerging economies such as China and India. The rise of these energy-hungry consumer economies in Asia will not only increase the overall demand for oil and gas, but increase the proportion of energy that is used for transportation as more cars fill Asia's roads. That will drive the need to secure supplies of natural gas and other fuel sources to fuel power plants as more crude oil ends up in fuel tanks.
The bigger question, then, is "Where will all this oil and gas come from?" The good news is that experts estimate there are still enough hydrocarbons underground to fulfil demand for the foreseeable future. But not all those hydrocarbons are likely to come from crude oil or natural gas, van der Veer said. Instead, more will have to come from what the industry calls "unconventional" sources, such as shale, deep-water undersea wells, or coal burned using cleaner technologies. Unlike many renewable sources of energy, such as wind power or biofuels, which remain unprofitable even at today's price of oil, these alternative sources of hydrocarbons are economical now, according to van der Veer.
Perhaps more significant in terms of the global dynamics of energy supply, however, is that an increasing amount of this energy will come not from the Middle East, North America or Europe, but rather from Central Asia, Latin America and West Africa. Even Russia, which despite its recent dispute over gas prices with Ukraine remains intent on being a long-term gas supplier to Europe, is facing slower growth in production, according to Robert Warren Dudley, President and Chief Executive Officer, TNK-BP Management, Russian Federation. He said while previously Russia's production was keeping pace with China's demand, "now the barrels are going to get harder and harder."
That will thrust into the headlines the problems of nations once thought remote, such as the recent abduction of workers from a Shell-operated oilfield in the country's oil-rich Niger Delta. Van der Veer said the hostages had been freed thanks to negotiations, and Funsho Kupolokun, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Nigeria, assured participants that Nigeria remains a safe destination for additional investment in oil exploration. "The Niger Delta is safe," he said. The latest unrest was only the latest in periodic flare-ups in the region, he said, something oil companies such as Shell are accustomed to. "What you are seeing now is just another round. It will be dealt with very rapidly," he said. If anything, the disturbances were only obscuring the fact that Nigeria and the rest of West Africa are developing new production faster than OPEC. "With advancing technology, reserves are not the issue," he said of the shift. "The challenge really is developing the reserves fast enough."
The real challenge is how to encourage investment in new sources of oil and gas while making sure taxpayers get a fair deal. "Every government has this balance to make," said Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry of the United Kingdom. Johnson indicated that his government has no plans to increase taxes on oil companies, a move that van der Veer warned could be counterproductive. "Every dollar paid into tax is basically one that over the long term you cannot invest in additional capacity," he said. Oil companies such as Shell reject accusations that they are holding out on new investment to reap windfalls and extract new regulatory concessions. Van der Veer said Shell is investing in new production as fast as it possibly can.
|Russia and the World: Scenarios for the Future
|World Economic Forum in Russia 2005
|The opening session of the World Economic Forum in Russia started on an optimistic note. Three rapporteurs from the "Russia and the World 2025" scenario project reported their respective scenarios to the plenary session. |
Ariel Cohen, Senior Research Fellow, Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Security, Heritage Foundation, USA, tasked with the "Oil’s Curse" scenario, faced the challenge of presenting the worst case possibility. This scenario sees Russia highly dependent on oil prices with a state that uses oil revenues to buy popular support. This model has been seen in other oil producing countries such as Venezuela and Iran. The outcomes of the scenario would be:
· a high level of state control
· a high level of corruption
· an unstable government
· a high level of capital flight
· minimal investment (domestic or international)
· China becoming a major customer of Russian natural resources
· low economic growth at a rate of 2-3%
Moderator Vladimir Pozner, Journalist, Author and President, Academy of Russian Television, Russian Federation, asked Cohen whether that scenario is realistic. Cohen explained that according to opinion polls, a majority of Russians believe it to be a realistic scenario.
The middle-of-the-road scenario entitled "Clean Fuel" was presented by Simon Commander, Director, Centre for New and Emerging Markets, London Business School, United Kingdom. This scenario forecasts a strong Russian state that is able to fulfil the aspirations of the current Russian government. The analysis is divided into political and economic factors. On the political side the scenario predicts a stable but paternalistic regime resulting in a "limited form of democracy". With growing stability, there would be a gradual decentralization of power with oblasts (administrative regions) gaining more influence according to their economic weight. The economic dimension suggests that this scenario would result in greater economic growth than the "Oil's Curse" scenario. Due to the gradual decrease of state influence in all economic sectors, better management practices would take over, resulting in the development of non-natural resource-based sectors and an increase in foreign direct investment (FDI).
The results of this scenario in 2025 would be:
· a period of stability
· stable economic growth
· an increase in the middle class
· more democracy
According to Olga K. Dergunova, Chairman, Microsoft, Russian Federation, the "national dream of Russia" is represented in the best case "Renaissance" scenario. This scenario sees the political developments strongly shaping the economy. The important milestone would be the appointment of a new prime minister in 2006 by President Putin. This scenario suggests an interchange between the liberal and siloviki groups (politicians with an intelligence service/military background) during the following years, with the liberals leading the country in 2025. During 2006-2016 Russia would rely heavily on its oil resources for economic growth; however the growing political influence of the liberals would result in higher levels of FDI. Productivity and the rule of law would be a major theme on the liberals' agenda. Spending on education would increase. The results of the best case scenario can be summed up as:
· strong GDP growth (5-10%)
· a highly educated workforce
· a better social environment
· the diversification of the economy
The presentations of the scenarios resulted in a lively debate. Participants presented arguments supporting aspects of each scenario. Berel Lazar, Chief Rabbi of the Russian Federation, stated that these scenarios are too pessimistic. He commented that it is necessary to consider where Russia has come from to be able to say where Russia is likely to go. The Russian people will be the driving force of change, especially the growing middle class, which will start demanding changes. "They will not be interested in who governs the country, but how the country is governed."
Analysing the three scenarios, Alexei Pushkov, Author and Programme Director, Center TV, Russian Federation, said the most likely scenario is the "Clean Fuel" scenario. He believed that "dramatic scenarios have exhausted themselves; we are discussing the levels of success". Liberal governments have existed and they have not worked for Russia. The current government is following the right line between the economy and social priorities. Pushkov warned that an Orange Revolution for Russia would be a disaster. "It would put Russia back to the debates of 1917 and 1991." Stability is key to Russia’s success.
Dimitri Trenin, Deputy Director, Carnegie Moscow Center, Russian Federation, stated that Russia is not a country in decline but one that is changing. He emphasized that although Russia cannot be called a democracy, it is largely a free country, moving in the right direction and undergoing a "retail revolution" and not an Orange Revolution. In terms of foreign policy, Trenin said that Russia's business is Russia. He concluded by saying that "capitalism is the name of the game" and will be a good and important force for Russia.
Pozner concluded the session by asking participants to vote for the scenario they think is most realistic. The "Oil's Curse" scenario received 5% of the votes, the "Clean Fuel" scenario received approximately 50%, and the "Renaissance" scenario followed closely with roughly 40% of the votes.