Energy Latest: London Oil Event Rolls On After a Day of Protests

A major oil-industry conference in London saw a day of disruption as hundreds of climate protesters blocked entrances, before police eventually reopened access to the event.

(Bloomberg) — A major oil-industry conference in London saw a day of disruption as hundreds of climate protesters blocked entrances, before police eventually reopened access to the event. 

Greta Thunberg was among at least 20 demonstrators to be arrested outside the annual Energy Intelligence Forum. Executives from companies including Gunvor Group, Trafigura Group and Shell Plc had been unable to enter to give speeches.

The energy transition has been a topic of discussion at the conference, which takes place through Thursday. It’s a subject that carries extra urgency after several months that shattered temperature records and just a few weeks before crucial climate talks in Dubai.

The conference also comes at a turbulent time for global energy markets, with the conflict between Israel and Hamas renewing fears about Europe’s winter gas supply, while also boosting prices and raising oil majors’ share prices. 

All times London:

TotalEnergies Sees No Impact to Projects From Israel—Hamas War — for Now (5:33 p.m.)

While the unfolding conflict between Israel and Hamas is dramatic, the situation isn’t having an impact on TotalEnergies SE’s projects in the region, according to Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne. “There will be consequences that we’ll have to monitor,” he said during a panel discussion. “But I’m confident that we can find a way.”

Japan Still Assessing US Sanctions on Russian LNG Hubs (5:08 p.m.)

The Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security is still assessing the impact of US sanctions imposed in September on Russian LNG transshipment terminals, according to JOGMEC Chief Executive Office Ichiro Takahara. 

Russia plans to use the new terminals in Kamchatka and Murmansk to reduce costs of shipping LNG from its Arctic projects, including the Arctic LNG-2 facility. But Japan is concerned this could create difficulties for its own deliveries

Modular Units Cut LNG Project Construction Time (4:30 p.m.)

LNG projects are moving toward smaller modular units that can be built in different locations — decreasing the amount of manpower needed on sites — and which can be scaled up, said Baker Hughes Co. Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Simonelli. Some of the projects that previously took 48 months now take 28 months, he said.

Supply Chain Gridlock Could Take Years to Clear: JGC (4:20 p.m.)

Expect significant lead times for delivering energy-related materials for at least a few more years. The supply chain is “really stretched,” and shows no sign of easing, said Farhan Mujib, president of engineering contractor JGC Corp., during a panel discussion.

Capacity is a problem as “everything has to happen at the same moment, between now and 2030,” including new oil and gas resources to be developed and new renewable capacity to be built, said Alessandro Puliti, chief executive of drilling company Saipem SpA. 

In the UK, more stability around subsidies is needed for the energy transition to move ahead, he added, noting that otherwise there’s no possibility for investment. 

Shell Has Changed Its Pathway to Net Zero, CEO Says (2:45 p.m.)

Shell hasn’t changed its target of net zero emissions by 2050, but has altered its pathway there, said Chief Executive Officer Wael Sawan. Investors have responded positively to the company’s new strategy, which involves putting a greater proportion of its investment into oil and gas, he said via video link. Some employees have questioned Sawan’s approach and asked if the company should be moving faster in the transition to clean energy, he said. 

Hotel Entrance Reopened (1:30 p.m.)

The police have been able to clear a safe pathway for delegates to enter the conference venue via the main entrance, forum organizers said.

Thunberg Is Arrested (1:20 p.m.)

Greta Thunberg was arrested along with at least 10 others. 

Vitol CEO Sees Oil Around $85 Next Year (12:53 p.m.)

Oil demand is showing robust growth, but there has also been extra supply despite the cuts from some members of OPEC+, said Vitol Chief Executive Officer Russell Hardy. “There is supply around. The US is doing well, Guyana is doing well. and generally the OPEC grouping is doing well when you consider Libya, Venezuela and Iran,” he said. Hardy sees oil trading around $85 a barrel next year, not far off current levels.

Protests to Continue All Week (12:38 p.m.)

Further protests are planned throughout the three day conference, Greenpeace said by email. 

“Oil bosses are toasting each other in a luxury hotel and plotting how to make even larger profits, while millions struggle to rebuild after a summer of extreme weather,” Maja Darlington, campaigner at Greenpeace UK said in a statement.

Shell CEO to Deliver Speech Remotely (12:36 p.m.)

Shell CEO Wael Sawan will deliver his speech to the conference remotely because he can’t access the hotel.

Vitol Expects Some Gas Demand to Be Lost Forever (12:30 p.m.)

European industrial demand has not recovered from last year’s energy crisis, according to Vitol CEO Russell Hardy. “We can expect some of that lost demand to stay lost forever,” he said.

Further cuts to gas production in Israel could lead to lower LNG exports to Europe from Egypt. “The European market will get nervous on the back of that,” he said.

CEOs Stuck Outside as Police Await Reinforcements (12:17 p.m.)

The CEOs of trading houses Gunvor and Trafigura missed their appearances at the conference because they were stuck outside the venue. The organizers told anyone attempting to enter the Intercontinental Hotel to wait until more police officers arrived to disperse the protesters. Inside the building, Russell Hardy, the CEO of Vitol, the largest independent oil trader, told attendees that about half his company’s annual capital expenditure of $1 billion is going into renewables and power. 

Disruption Worsens as Protests Continue (10:36 a.m)

The conference continues, but some scheduled speakers have been unable to make it inside. Police on the scene estimate that 200 to 250 protesters are blocking access to the venue. 

Aramco is Looking at Further LNG Investments (10:14 a.m.)

As protests continued outside, the world’s largest company was inside the venue talking about its plans for natural gas. Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin Nasser said his company is looking at making more investments in liquefied natural gas as it seeks to diversify its energy mix. The company last month entered the LNG market by purchasing a stake in MidOcean Energy for $500 million. “LNG is important,” Nasser said. “We want to be a player in LNG so we’re looking at investment.”

Entrances to the Conference Blocked by Protests (9:50 a.m.)

Hundreds of delegates are waiting outside to be let in to the Intercontinental hotel in London as protesters block the entrances. The head of the hotel’s security said there are about a thousand guests staying at the hotel. It’s not clear when people will be let in but the program has started inside with Saudi Aramco speaking.

–With assistance from Priscila Azevedo Rocha and Elena Mazneva.

(A previous version of this story corrected the host city for the UAE climate talks.)

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