Daniel Yergin, co-founder of CERA, said the conference convenes “at a turbulent time in the industry.”
“The demand shock that has dominated the industry for more than a decade has been replaced by a recession shock,” said Yergin.
Much of the conference will be focused on investing “across the cycles” Yergin noted, including a Thursday night panel of economists.
BP CEO Tony Hayward begins:
“Today, across the world, the economic outlook has changed dramatically. In the developed nations, governments have had to take major stakes in the banking system.
The OECD countries are in a recession that continues to deepen. In the non OECD world growth has slowed significantly.
The impact on our industry has been sudden and severe. Six months ago, oil prices were approaching $150 a barrel. They haven’t topped $50 a barrel since late November.
Big change has also come to the United States.
After one of the great political campaigns of modern times, America has elected a new President who has promised to repair the economy and to diversify this nation’s energy supply.
A large fiscal stimulus which includes major investment in infrastructure and “green” jobs is before the US Congress.
The question of energy independence has shot up the political agenda and President Obama comes to office with a strong commitment to tackle climate change.
Suddenly, the challenges many of us have been wrestling with for a long time – the importance of energy security in providing economic security and tackling the issue of climate change in a way that is commercially viable – are centre stage.”