Singapore Energy Summit: Spearheading Low Carbon Innovation

Global energy leaders shared their views on the latest low carbon developments at the Singapore Energy Summit. By Harvey Cheong

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The Singapore Energy Summit (SES) on 26 October featured a special "In Conversation" session with His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, Minister of Energy, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He reiterated that it will be necessary to examine all possible options to mitigate emissions production, as it will not be realistic to cut off oil and gas completely.

His Royal Highness Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud touched on the global need to harness, facilitate, and promote sustainable technology to combat climate change. He further noted that rather than focusing solely on carbon, emissions reduction should be the primary target—and that carbon sinks, such as forests and mangroves, are maintained and potentially expanded.

Looking ahead, His Royal Highness also highlighted the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) platform, which was endorsed by the G20 Energy Ministers Meeting in September 2020, as the CCE model “provides an inclusive approach to focus mindsets on reducing emissions which contribute to climate change.”

Diverse perspectives on what’s driving energy transition

In an earlier panel discussion during SES Session 3, Joseph McMonigle, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum, highlighted that innovation will be the key driver of the transition to low carbon energy. However, he noted that the world currently only accesses half of the technologies that are needed to meet energy transition goals.

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Keisuke Sadamori, Director of Energy Markets and Security at the International Energy Agency (IEA), reiterated the need for innovation, sharing that future energy transition will rely heavily on the maturation of currently pre-commercial technologies. Similarly, Professor Andy Hor, Deputy Chief Executive (Research) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, stated that greater cross-border R&D collaboration will be vital.

Tellurian Vice Chairman, Martin Houston, noted that the transition will also depend on several other factors. He highlighted that the speed of adoption will vary across regions due to differences in cost and supply, which are affected by factors such as capital, societal pressures, and regulations. Ultimately, Mr Houston sees the energy transition as being driven by demand from consumers.

Sharing similar sentiments, Bernard Esselinckx, President and Chief Executive Officer of Senoko Energy remarked that consumer demand will be an important driver but added that long-term planning of the energy mix will also be a decisive contributor to energy transition.

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