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Energy in Transition: Brazil and the United States Emerging as Major Energy Powers

World Energy Outlook 2014

Speaker: Fatih Birol, Chief Economist, International Energy Agency
Presider: Theodore Roosevelt IV, Managing Director and Chairman, Barclays Capital Clean Tech Initiative
December 4, 2013

Event Description

As the North American shale gas boom continues to transform the global energy economy, Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency and director of its World Energy Outlook project, discusses his latest findings from the 2013 report. With the United States inching ever-closer to becoming a net energy exporter, and Brazil increasing production from its offshore deepwater oilfields, Birol outlines a shifting competitive landscape. Despite these new resources, low-cost Middle East oil will continue to play a central role in the world energy economy for the foreseeable future.

Event Highlights

Birol on the geopolitical effects of the shale gas boom in the United States:

"I believe the secretary of state of United States sits in his chair in the international negotiations now much more comfortably than he or his predecessor did a couple of years ago before the shale gas revolution."

Birol on the Middle East's transition away from oil-usage for electricity generation:

"About one-third of the electricity generation in the Middle East comes from oil. It's incredible. It is the most expensive way of producing electricity. It is even more expensive than producing electricity from solar power in -- more than wind, more than anything you can. It is something like using Chanel perfume to fill your car. So this is in the same type of -- from economic point of view, it is economically a criminal thing."

Birol on the world's continued dependency on non-renewable energy sources:

"Twenty-five years ago, when this move [toward renewable energy resources] started, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix was 82 percent. And after 25 years, of all these efforts, all the governments, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix today is still 82 percent."

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