The inaugural PDO Majlis session, which was sponsored by His Excellency Talal Al Rahbi, Deputy Secretary General of the Supreme Council for Planning, focused on the topic of energy management.
The interactive panel debate and question and answer session covered areas such as the current situation in Oman and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) region, project planning in PDO and the Sultanate, and how the country can reposition itself to meet future challenges.
More than 150 people including key public and private sector decision makers, oil and gas industry professionals, entrepreneurs, academics, researchers and students attended the event held at the PDO Learning and Development Centre at Mina Al Fahal.
Guest speakers included PDO Oil South Director Sami Baqi, Yaqoob Al Kiyumi, Chief Executive Officer of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, Abdullah Al Saidi, Chief Executive of renewable energy company Nafath LLC and Dr Mehdi Jaffer, an independent consultant on sustainable development. The forum was moderated by PDO’s Harweel Production Co-ordinator Dr Wali Al Harrasi.
The panellists discussed the need to invest in renewables so that in excess of 10% of Oman’s total energy generated by 2025 could be sourced from solar and wind – one of the proposed policies of the Tanfeedh programme on enhancing economic diversification - as well as to focus more on applied practical research.
The general consensus was that the current “business-as-usual” scenario needed to evolve towards more sustainable resource management, particularly in terms of improving energy efficiency and reducing the overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels for virtually all energy needs.
There was agreement that the energy transition raised considerable challenges but also opportunities. Challenges related to infrastructure, technology, finance and investment, institutional barriers and political priorities but there was a huge opportunity for Oman with a projected US$200 billion spend on renewables and the potential creation of 200,000 jobs in the GCC.
Recommendations for Oman included:
· Lifting the barriers to energy-efficiency improvements and the introduction of new technologies
· Conducting a new energy management study, considering the emerging technologies, cost reduction possibilities and the outcomes of Tanfeedh deliberations
· Deciding where Oman should focus its efforts such as supply chain development, R&D, services, training or trading
· Establishing the correct governance framework to drive renewables forward
· Developing the right skill set to maximise the value of the renewable energy projects and create jobs.
PDO External Affairs and Value Creation Director Abdul-Amir Abdul-Hussein Al Ajmi said: “The PDO Majlis will provide thought leadership on some of the major issues facing the oil and gas industry as well as the entire country.
“We believe it will provide a platform for our key partners and stakeholders to come together with us, share our best practices and knowledge and discuss challenges and opportunities.
“This open dialogue will hopefully result in some game-changing solutions which will help Oman address its priority areas and continue its progress towards sustainable development under the wise leadership of His Majesty.”
Other topics to be covered in forthcoming PDO Majlis sessions across the Sultanate include In-Country Value, social investment and research and development.