Key players convene at World Energy Leaders' Summit to discuss issues high on the G20 Agenda

Posted on 28 June 2018

In a series of high-level dialogues, more than 100 Ministers and CEOs from across the world convened to address topics and trends to deepen understanding of the grand energy transition at a critical time for the energy sector.

The Council’s World Energy Leaders’ Summit, held within the margins of the 2018 G20 Energy Transitions Ministerial meeting on 15 June, Bariloche, explored top issues on the G20 energy agenda such as access to affordable sustainable energy and preparing for disruptive technologies and innovative business models.

The event, Grand Energy Transition – The Latin American Context, was opened by H.E Juan Jose Aranguren, former Minister of Energy, Argentina, who addressed participants with a keynote speech, in which he highlighted the diverse nature of the energy mix among G20 member states.

“Each G20 country has its own mix of energy, culture and challenges, but can collectively work together on mutual decisions to advance our quest for a sustainable energy future for all”, Minister Aranguren commented.

Speaking at the session ‘Tracking Energy Trends – What’s keeping energy leaders up at night?’ Canadian Minister for Energy, Jim Carr, said: “As the lead of the G7 we are working together on oceans and clean energy growth and support for the energy transition. We are moving away from talking about national or even regional policies, in some cases, to talking about global ones. Pollution has no interest in national boundaries.”

Minister Carr also pointed out that Canada wants to no longer solely export to the US, but more widely to Asian and European markets. Currently over 90% of fuel markets go to the US. “Our aspiration is to move to a global agenda.”

As the energy mix continues to change and policies begin to favour and enable renewables and low emission energy sources, the role of gas, nuclear and unconventional sources become a matter of great debate.

In the session ‘The Grand Transition: Regional Pathways to a New and Better Energy Future’ led by Andrew Heering, Managing Director, Marsh Inc, UK, Ana Carolina Cosse Garrido, Minister of Energy and Mines, Uruguay, among other prominent energy leaders, debated where the LAC Region, abundant in energy resources and constrained infrastructures, currently stands in The Grand Energy Transition.

World Energy Council Secretary General, Christoph Frei, commented: “The Latin American continent is making irreversible progress on the energy transition path with varying priorities and economic contexts across the region. A long-term strategic vision that is in line with global targets and commitments, as well as short term roadmaps to achieve the targets are equally important for driving the energy transition in the region and globally.

“Most countries view regional integration critical to sharing resources, enhance system resilience and create opportunities to increase energy access. Agendas of sector reform and sunsetting subsidies to attract capital and enable technology are in advanced stages in many countries throughout the region. In a smaller number of countries, the focus has turned to accelerating digitalisation and promoting innovation.”

The principal regional energy event in South America, the Latin American Energy Forum, also took place also took place in Bariloche, ahead of the Leader’s Summit. Organised in partnership with the Council’s Argentine member committee and national government, the Forum programme included discussion panels on renewable energy, energy efficiency, unconventional hydrocarbons, and an interactive workshop on transparency initiatives in the extractive industry.

The Latin American countries represented at the forum all promoted the idea of integrating to optimise renewable resources, reduce costs and have a greater, efficient market. Argentina is aiming to reach 30% renewables by 2030.

Other points of interest during the forum included the importance of long-term political stability. Currently, the political environment within LAC remains highly relevant to ensuring the energy transition in the region is smooth.

There was some difference in opinion on what should take precedence: regulation or innovation. Should innovation come first and be regulated, or regulation, allowing for innovation? The other points of discussion were the role of the diverse actors in the energy sector and whether Latin America can innovate and be a leader in the energy transition or follow in the footsteps of global trends?

Finally, there was strong debate among participants on the role of the state within the energy sector. Is the private sector more efficient through the privatisation of large corporations in the sector, or should the state have a relevant role in the control of those companies?

The World Energy Leaders’ Summits (WELS) are exclusive high-level events organised by the World Energy Council to support the global energy leaders’ community in on-going dialogue on important energy matters, including energy transition and transformation.

Additional key speakers

Leonardo Beltran, Deputy Secretary of Energy Planning and Transition, Mexico; Susana Jiménez, Minister of Energy, Chile; and Mauricio Bejarano, Vice Minister, Paraguay. Ivan Dybov, President, Rosatom Latin America, Russian Federation Jorge Bacher, Chair, CACME, Argentina; Claudia Cronenbold, Chair of the Board, Bolivian Chamber of Hydrocarbons & Energy (CHBE), Bolivia, Pierre Devillers, Chief Marketing and Customer Solutions Officer, ENGIE Latin America, Chile; Marzia Zafar, Director for Innovation and World Issues Monitor, World Energy Council, U.K;  Manlio Coviello, Chief Natural Resources and Energy, CEPAL, Chile; Marcos F. Meireles, CEO, Rio Energy LLC, Brazil; Marcelo Tokman, General Manager, Empresa Nacional del Petróleo ENAP, Chile; Ricardo Torres, President, Edenor, Argentina.