Newly elected IPIECA Chair, Equinor’s Morten Mikkelsen says the role of IPIECA is becoming more meaningful as a result of the challenges related to climate change and the role of oil and gas in the energy transition and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“There is an urgent need for the world to come together to achieve these goals and ensure a just transition, and the oil and gas industry should be part of the solution together with other industries, governments and society,” he says.
“To be able to be part of the solution to some of the biggest challenges facing the world is an exciting proposition, and one that I take very seriously.”
He hopes IPIECA will continue to be the centre of these challenges and opportunities.
“I believe it couldn’t be more exciting and meaningful.”
In spite of the need to move towards lower emission energy sources, Mr Mikkelsen says oil and gas will continue to be a large part of the energy mix for many years. However, targeting near zero emissions in the longer term is essential.
“The capabilities of our industry are highly relevant for developing lower emissions energy solutions, for example through application of carbon capture use and storage and developing hydrogen value chains.”
He also notes that environmental and social issues overall are of higher significance than ever before.
“There seems to be a continuous evolution in the need for proper management of the industry’s impact and performance in these areas.”
Some examples he notes are the health of the oceans, biodiversity, use of scarce resources, circular economy, human rights, value creation and its distribution and just transition.
These subjects come together in the SDGs, and the work IPIECA is currently undertaking with the World Business Council on Sustainable Development on an SDGs roadmap for the oil and gas sector.
“I hope it will be a valuable document for our members and stakeholders.”
Due to COVID-19, the industry is facing unprecedented times, with the oil and gas industry seeing a double dip caused by the drop in oil prices.
Mr Mikkelsen believes that in times of crisis, the need for collaboration is stronger than ever. Together with IOGP in the Health Working Group, and in the Social Responsibility Group, IPIECA has provided advice and opportunities for sharing and learning on how to handle the COVID-19 challenges the world is facing.
“The work our member companies are doing, on a global and regional level, to combat the crisis has been remarkable. From setting up hospitals, funding research to providing free fuel for the emergency service, the collective response has been extraordinary and highlights the value of our industry during a time of crisis.”
Despite the current challenges, Mr Mikkelsen believes the oil and gas industry will continue to be strong, and he hopes it will work in alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement – to be a strong contributor in society’s work towards achievement of the SDGs and the energy transition.