Oil majors and energy leaders to gather in Abu Dhabi for World Energy Congress

Total, Eni and BP among energy firms at the 24th edition of the congress in Septembeer

Dubai, 14, Nov, 2017: Toyota's first Hydrogen Fuel car Mirai  displayed at the Dubai International Motor Show in Dubai. Satish Kumar for the National / Story by Adam Workman
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At least a dozen international oil companies will descend on Abu Dhabi for the World Energy Congress in September as the UAE capital prepares to host top executives from Total, BP and Eni as well as energy policy makers.

The triennial summit, the flagship event of the London-based World Energy Council, will take place in the Arabian Gulf for the first time from September 9 to 12, attracting investors and thought leaders who will look into a future beyond hydrocarbons.

“We’re not only focused on the source of energy, not oil and gas only, renewable energy only, [or] nuclear,” said Matar Hamad Al Neyadi, chairman of the 24th session of the congress.

"We’re focused on the end user of energy …..[on] transportation. DP World will come in with the Hyperloop. We’re focusing on insurance, looking at why insurance companies are hesitating to insure EVs [electronic vehicles],” said Mr Al Neyadi, who is also an undersecretary with the energy ministry.

With the energy industry coming under greater scrutiny as climate change and the future of transportation attract more attention and investment, this year’s congress will focus on the transition to green energy.

The World Energy Congress, which took place for the first time in 1924 in London, has played host to several distinguished contributors to the modern world’s energy industry, including Albert Einstein, who spoke at the summit in Berlin in 1930.

This year, the congress will add a second high-profile energy event, in addition to the annual Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference, to the UAE capital’s calendar. Opec and its allies are also convening for their joint technical committee meeting towards the end of the four-day event on September 12. Around 15,000 people are expected to attend this year's congress, including 70 ministers and 500 chief executives from 150 countries.

The event will kick off with a session exploring a future beyond petroleum with a conversation with former BP chief John Browne, who now heads L1 Energy. Day one will also open with ministerial speakers including the UAE energy minister Suhail Al Mazrouei, Saudi Arabia’s state minister of energy affairs Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud as well as UAE state minister and head of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, Dr Sultan Al Jaber.

Heads of Total and Eni, Patrick Pouyanne and Claudio Descalzi, both major upstream players with an interest in adopting more sustainable energy, will talk about their pivot on day one, which will also see discussion on how hydrogen could be a fuel of the future.

Artificial intelligence will also be part of the dialogue, as will automation, which will be a focus for executives from EDF and telecoms manufacturer Huawei. The evolution of nuclear in the energy mix will also be explored.

Day two will kick-off with keynote addresses from Saudi energy minister Khalid Al Falih and Saudi Aramco chief Amin Nasser, with discussions for the latter half of the day focussed on gas as a transitional fuel for green economies.

The four-day event will wrap up with concluding remarks from Russian energy minister Alexander Novak, whose country will host the next edition of the congress in Moscow in 2022.