News / Economy

Oil Conference Discusses Price, Higher Demand

BP CEO Robert Dudley speaks to reporters at the IHS-CERA oil conference in Houston, Texas, March 9, 2011.
BP CEO Robert Dudley speaks to reporters at the IHS-CERA oil conference in Houston, Texas, March 9, 2011.
Greg Flakus

More than 2,000 representatives of world oil and gas companies, academics and industry experts are in Houston this week for the 30th annual conference sponsored by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, or IHS-CERA. With prices rising, partly in response to unrest in North Africa and the Middle East, discussions have centered on maintaining supply and expanding production, while also avoiding accidents like last year's spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Talk at this year's CERA WEEK conference has centered on two topics - the rapid rise of the price of crude oil and the need to venture into ever more challenging environments in order to keep up with world demand.

The risks involved became glaringly apparent to the world last year when a platform operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and then leaked nearly five million barrels of crude oil into the water.

BP CEO Robert Dudley, making his first appearance at an international industry event since last year's accident,  stressed his London-based company's commitment to compensating those harmed by the spill in US Gulf Coast states. He told reporters BP has learned to manage risk much more carefully.

“We have begun to look at what is the very, very low probability but high consequence risks that in the past we may not have thought through and that has changed our view of everything we do," he said.

Dudley says BP now has measures in place to deal with a well blowout, whether on land or deep water, anywhere in the world. “We will not drill a well unless we have the ability to cap the well - we have the equipment and we have the people to do it and we have an emergency response organization in place," he said.

Dudley says the energy industry as a whole needs to develop such safety measures as companies venture into ever-more risky environments. BP is currently working with a Russian company to develop a project in the Arctic and owns the majority stake in the first deep-water operation in the Gulf of Mexico to receive a permit since last year's accident.

The BP CEO stressed the need to produce more petroleum in the next two decades, as world demand is expected to grow by 40 percent.

The current price for crude oil is well above $100 a barrel, partly because of unrest in the North Africa-Middle East region that produces 40 percent of the world's supply.

Robert Dudley says he is maintaining a cautious attitude about the current situation. “We are going to watch it very carefully. Having been through three up-and-down cycles in my career, you do not want to draw any conclusions too quickly," he said.

Representatives from North Africa and the Middle East attending the conference say unrest is likely to continue and could spread, but the impact on oil production is harder to gauge.

The chairman of IHS-CERA, Daniel Yergin, says the International Energy Agency's Emergency Response Program can handle any significant short-term disruptions. “We have a well-worked out emergency system that grew out of the 1970s, the whole purpose of which is to deal with disruption and it provides a kind of coordination and collaboration among consumers and to have the emergency machinery in place," he said.

So far there has been no shortage in world production and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is considering a special meeting to study an output increase, if it becomes necessary.

But even if stability returns to Libya and other nations in that area, growing demand in developing nations like India and China will put pressure on energy companies to find and produce more oil in the years ahead.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.