Aiming high: IOGP participates in G20 Summit leadup

IOGP Global Engagement Manager Olaf Martins goes where the action is to help shape the perceptions of those who can influence the future of our upstream industry. Recently, he went to Bariloche in the mountains of Argentina to participate in the B20 process – which will help to form the actions set out by the G20 Summit Conference in November.

Highlights has caught up with Olaf to get the broader picture:

What is B20 and why did it take you to Argentina?

The ‘B’ in B20 stands for business – in every sense. It’s linked to the annual meetings of the better-known G20, the gathering of national leaders and state bankers from 20 key economies. The B20 process enables business stakeholders to channel their ideas to the G20 players. Similar stakeholder groups – youth via the Y20, women through the W20 and scientists with the S20 – have their own access routes. For the Argentinian Presidency in 2018, the B20 is organized by six of the country’s business associations.

What is IOGP’s role in this?

The B20 consists of nine task forces; each addresses a specific topic such as trade or investment or education. I’m representing IOGP on the Energy, Resource Efficiency & Sustainability (ERES) Task Force, which makes sense. Oil and gas provide more than half of the world’s energy and IOGP members produce about 40% of that oil and gas.

Leading the ERES Task Force is YPF Chairman Miguel Gutiérrez. Other members include ARPEL’s Miguel Moyano and representatives from several IOGP member companies. My role is to help ensure that our industry is well-represented in these talks for this year and beyond. Next year, Japan will take on the G20 Presidency and Saudi Arabia will follow in 2020.

What are you talking about in the ERES Task Force?

So far, we’ve had meetings – very well organized by the Argentine team, I should add – in Buenos Aires, Paris (at the OECD Conference) and, most recently our gathering in Bariloche. We’ve also had several telephone conferences. Our focus has been on cleaner technologies, energy efficiency, affordable energy, resource efficiency and climate adaption.

All of our policy recommendations need to be ready by the B20 Summit in Buenos Aires on 4/5 October. The G20 Summit will follow in November.

How does your B20 role fit with your main responsibility to promote IOGP’s ‘case for oil & gas’ (COG)?

The COG is about prolonging and expanding our industry’s licence to operate. To do that, we have to get across the message that oil and gas are needed for decades to come; that we are part of the wider, multi-facetted solution to the climate change challenge.

To do our bit, we also need continuous investment in oil and gas, since fields are depleting the world over.

COG communications are essential to this effort. They include our website features: numbers of the week, global energy briefs, the Global Production Report and on-line opinion pieces.

Just as important is our work with global institutions and other bodies that have an impact on our members’ businesses. These include the International Energy Agency (IEA), the UN, with its COP climate conferences, the International Regulators’ Forum and of course the G20.

Speaking of the G20, there was a Bariloche meeting of energy ministers in parallel with your B20 session. What were the results from IOGP’s point of view?

The G20 communique following the energy ministers’ meeting was very promising. Its reference to energy transitions (in plural) recognized that there are different possible national paths to achieving cleaner energy systems. This was a first.

The communique also recognized the key role that natural gas currently plays for many G20 countries and its potential to expand significantly in the decades to come. Those are points that IOGP has been making for some time.

It looks as though our message is getting through.

For more on Olaf’s Bariloche experience, visit IOGP’s website for his most recent blog.

The G20 communique is available in full from its website.

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