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TOKYO: A delegation from Saudi Arabia’s energy economics and sustainability think tank, the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, participated in the 43rd International Association for Energy Economics conference in Tokyo last week.

Titled “Mapping the Energy Future, Voyage in Uncharted Territory,” the conference ran from July 31 to Aug. 4, with over 600 attendees.

The KAPSARC experts spoke at three key plenary and 11 concurrent sessions to share their insights on current global energy and environmental concerns, and how to find solutions to help shape future energy policies and encourage climate action.

KAPSARC’s talks and presentations also included the future role of fossil fuels, decarbonization risks and opportunities, renewables, energy economics, electricity markets, transportation and oil market stabilization.

During the plenary session “Climate Change and Decarbonization Challenges: Risks and Opportunities,” KAPSARC Research Fellow Dr. Noura Mansouri said: “Today, we have the opportunity of decarbonization represented in the Circular Carbon Economy, which is a new framework that values all options and encourages all efforts to reduce carbon accumulation in the atmosphere.”

KAPSARC oil and gas market expert, Hamid Al-Sadoon, explained that more investment in the hydrocarbon industry is needed to bridge the potential future gap between energy supply and demand.

“In all likelihood, hydrocarbons are here to stay. Simply because the developing world not only represents a large chunk of the demand, but they also need hydrocarbons to raise the standards of living of their citizens and develop their economies­ — that entails using more fossil fuels to reach parity with advanced nations,” he said.

Tatsuya Terazawa, chairman and CEO of Japanese think tank the Institute of Energy Economics Japan, added: “We need to face the energy challenges to better cope with high energy prices and enhance energy security while at the same time realize our long-term goals of carbon neutrality and develop the necessary supply chains for energy sustainability.” 

KAPSARC President Fahad Alajlan also spoke at the closing plenary.

“The contrast between the discussions we had over the past few days and the discussions we had during COP 26 is stark,” he said. “COP 26 discussions had a prescriptive view on what we all need to do to achieve net zero by 2050 without taking into consideration the more complex nature of nations worldwide. 

“Over the past few days, we have together adopted a more nuanced approach towards collective climate solutions that are holistic and inclusive,” he added.

During his closing remarks, Alajlan invited participants to attend the 44th Annual International IAEE event in Riyadh, which is being organized by KAPSARC and the Saudi Association for Energy Economics and being held on Feb. 4-8, 2023. It will be the first time the IAEE has hosted its annual conference in the Middle East.

KAPSARC has waived conference registration fees for all attendees.