Global energy sector affected by Europe, Middle East challenges

22 May 2013 22:38  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The financial crisis in the eurozone and unrest in the Middle East will create implications on the global energy sector, a former UK prime minister said on Wednesday.

“First of all, countries are going to be very nervous of any dependence on Middle East energies,” Tony Blair said during the KPMG Global Energy Conference.

“Secondly, as a result of both of those crises but in slightly different ways, I think the push that’s here [in the US] for unconventional energy – shale, oil and gas and so on – I think it is going to come in big measures, even to Europe,” he said during a keynote luncheon hosted by the US consultancy firm.

Europeans will understand in the end that the only things that matter are jobs and growth, and they will be willing to do whatever is necessary to move in that direction, Blair said.

In addition, the pressures on energy supplies and the environmental issues around climate change will continue to grow, he added.

Despite the challenges, Blair said he has some optimism about the future.

“I personally believe China will have benign political and economic evolution, although I think the challenges are formidable,” he said.

“I’m absolutely positive about Africa, although again, it’s got a long way to go, particularly in areas of government, but it is showing real signs of change in movement today,” he added.

Blair also said that opportunities are enormous in Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Colombia.

“As a result of all of this – and we haven’t even mentioned India, Russia and so on – the pace of industrialisation is going to be a huge amount of pressure and demand for energy,” he said.

“I think what this will do is both mean that people are looking to get as maximum energy independence as they can and develop new sources of energy, and I think quite apart from the environmental questions around climate change, there’s going to be a search for new forms of energy, simply because the pressure for consumption is so great,” he added.

Blair concluded that the challenges in Europe and the Middle East will make a huge impact on the energy sector and global geopolitics.

However, while short-term difficulties are intense, Blair said he is optimistic about the long-term future.

The KPMG Global Energy Conference concludes on Thursday.

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By: Tracy Dang
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