GECF Secretary General Speaks at 8th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable
September 10 - The 8th Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER8) was hosted by GECF Member The United Arab Emirates on the sidelines of the 24th World Energy Congress, held from 9-12 September 2019 in Abu Dhabi. India was co-host of the event, which takes place every two years. The UAE took over the torch from the Kingdom of Thailand, which hosted AMER7 in 2017.
AMER8 gathered ministers of the International Energy Forum (IEF), vice-ministers, heads of major international organizations such as the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) as well as other thought-leaders.
A renowned intergovernmental organization, the IEF aims to foster greater mutual understanding and awareness of common energy interests among its members. It has 72 member countries that account for 90% of global supply and demand for oil and gas.
The focus of this year’s event was on The Role of New Technologies for a More Competitive and Productive World Energy Mix and Advancing Inclusive Access to Secure, Affordable, and Sustainable Energy Services, with two plenary sessions covering these topics.
His Excellency Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Industry of the United Arab Emirates; His Excellency Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel of India; and His Excellency Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF) jointly opened the event, followed by the first plenary session. This included a panel discussion gathering several ministers, including His Excellency Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of GECF Member Russia, as well as heads of the world’s most prominent international organizations.
GECF Secretary General His Excellency Dr. Sentyurin took part in the second session on Advancing Inclusive Access to Secure, Affordable, and Sustainable Energy Services. Dr. Sentyurin joined the Minister for Petroleum, Natural Gas and Steel of India; the Minister of Energy of Thailand; the Minister of Energy and Water of Afghanistan; the Deputy Minister of Vietnam; and representatives from Sustainable Energy For All and the National Energy Administration (China).
The panel zoomed in on 3 key questions: What are the impediments for government and industry to achieve energy access goals, overcome energy poverty, and provide equitable choices?; Which policy and industry tools hold the most promise to deploy technology solutions that alleviate energy poverty and ensure reliable access?; and How can evolving policy and industry insight as well as data be leveraged and improved? Is there a role for the IEF?
Dr. Sentyurin argued in his answer to the first question that the foremost impediment is the lack of strategic coordination by key stakeholders to provide for the availability of the long-term investment in infrastructure that is needed to alleviate the energy poverty.
In reply to the question as to what is most conducive to the deployment of energy poverty fighting technologies, he answered that the options were legion, but that the solution depends on the specificities of countries and areas that target improving access to energy. He conveyed that natural gas can support access to modern, affordable, and reliable energy and that it can be developed through centralized systems such as supplying gas-fired electricity; or expanding gas networks to supply new areas. He added that natural gas could also be procured through decentralized or local grid systems. And the GECF Secretary General underscored the critical role of policy support not only in this matter but also in attracting investments and funds for improving access to energy.
When addressing the last question, Dr. Sentyurin stated that improving visibility and insights on policies affecting natural gas, as well as enhancing the reliability and transparency of data, can be achieved through appropriate cooperation and dialogue between different energy stakeholders, especially between the gas producers and consumers. He further commented that the GECF believes that policies recognizing the key role of natural gas in meeting climate and sustainability challenges have an important part to play in the future. The GECF places great importance on environmental objectives, he said, and believes that natural gas has an important role to place in the global energy transition towards low carbon economies - especially since compared to other fossil fuels, the use of natural gas can significantly reduce emissions of SOx, NOx, CO2, and particulate matter.
The Secretary General reiterated that the GECF’s mission and priority objectives are centered on fostering cooperation and dialogue, among producers, between producers and consumers, between governments and energy-related industries. In this regard, he commended the IEF's role in stimulating the dialogue among all market actors to present different solutions to common issues.