OTC: OPEC not worried about biofuels

The focus of the 2008 Offshore Technology Conference this week is, as you might guess, the future of offshore oil and gas industry. But that discussion cannot take place without some mention of the role of renewables in coming years.
On Tuesday, an official with OPEC touched briefly on biofuels like ethanol, which have been touted by President Bush and others as a homegrown alternative to petroleum.
Mohamed Hamel, head of the energy department at OPEC, said even as biofuel production increases, their share of the world’s energy mix will remain “quite modest” in coming years.
He also weighed in on the use of food crops like corn to make biofuels, which have recently been blamed for driving up food prices and doing more harm than good to the environment.
“I think there is definitely an issue with the impact on food prices,” Hamel said.
And though he sees some potential in so-called “second-generation” biofuels made from non-food crops or agricultural waste, he said there are a long way off from large-scale commercial production.
“I would say we’ll know it when we see it,” he said.