Dubai — Leaders of the G20 member states have pledged to ensure "a stable and uninterrupted supply of energy" as the world recovers from the pandemic, according to a declaration published at the close of their summit in Riyadh Nov. 22.
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"We recognize the importance of expediting universal access, relying on innovation across fuels and technology options, to affordable and reliable energy for all, in accordance with national circumstances, including ensuring access to clean cooking and electricity," the declaration stated. "We acknowledge the importance of maintaining undisrupted flows of energy and exploring paths to enhanced energy security and markets stability, while promoting open, competitive, and free international energy markets."
The statement follows a turbulent year for oil markets, where the pandemic caused global demand to plummet.
In April, a brief oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia after the OPEC+ production deal collapsed exacerbated the market crisis, pushing Brent crude prices to below $20/b, before the two sides patched up their relationship at an emergency OPEC+ meeting and a G20 energy ministerial that month.
Those meetings resulted in a historic production cut agreement that helped prices recover to around $45/b, rescuing many ailing oil companies and boosting producing nations' finances. But demand remains depressed from pre-pandemic levels as large portions of the global economy are still struggling amid a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
The 23-member OPEC+ group will next convene on Nov. 30 – Dec. 1 to decide the depth of its production cuts for the early months of 2021.
The G20 countries also reaffirmed their joint commitment on "medium-term rationalization and phasing-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, while providing targeted support for the poorest," the document said.
The 20 member states repeated their endorsement for the "Circular Carbon Economy," a scheme put forth by Saudi Arabia, which held the G20 presidency for 2020, that seeks to reduce emissions, reuse and recycle CO2, and remove carbon from the atmosphere, as opposed to curtailing oil and gas extraction and use.
"The CCE is a voluntary, holistic, integrated, inclusive, pragmatic, and complementary approach to promote economic growth while enhancing environmental stewardship through managing emissions in all sectors including, but not limited to, energy, industry, mobility and food," the declaration said.