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Novatek CFO likens IP Week event to AA meeting for apologetic tone

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Novatek CFO likens IP Week event to AA meeting for apologetic tone

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London — The International Petroleum Week conference was likened to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting Wednesday by the chief financial officer of Russian gas producer Novatek, Mark Gyetvay, who said the industry should "fight back" against its vilification by the green movement.

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The comments came as BP announced it was pulling out of three US industry associations due to their non-alignment with its positions on climate: the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the Western States Petroleum Association and the Western Energy Alliance.

In a panel discussion on "Strategies for Delivering a Low-Carbon Future," Gyetvay said the tone of the annual industry get-together had been too apologetic, and argued the industry had made a "significant amount of effort to clean up our business."

The industry "has done a tremendous job over the last 100 years of taking people out of poverty and delivering economic prosperity...yet we constantly sit at meetings like this and we apologize," Gyetvay said. "The energy industry has done a tremendous job -- it's not like we operated 100 years ago."

"We have a challenge ahead of us where we need to bring more energy, not less," Gyetvay said in a speech punctuated by applause.

"We're not getting recognized because we have too many CEOs that sit on stages and they sit there and apologize for being in the oil and gas industry," Gyetvay, whose company has pioneered LNG exports from Russia, said.

"We need to fight back and show the world that we're taking these steps. There is no dialog today. There's only shouting and yelling on one side," Gyetvay said, referring to the green movement and Extinction Rebellion protesters.

He went on to brand as "insane" the policies of US Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders on taxation of the industry.

"The US energy industry for the last decade has been negative-free cash flow. They're dying at these types of prices. We have to stop and actually look at this from a realistic perspective and take a more aggressive stand in how we deliver our message," Gyetvay said.

'Ordered' transition

Various oil and gas executives at the three-day event have addressed the growing pressure on the industry over climate change. BP's new CEO, Bernard Looney, is expected later in the week to elaborate on his company's new emissions target, which involves getting to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Shell's UK country chair, Sinead Lynch, said Tuesday the energy transition process had to be "ordered" and highlighted the Anglo-Dutch major's efforts to diversify into power generation and renewables, as well as Shell's support for carbon pricing around the world.

"We at Shell are building an integrated power business in markets all around the world. Power will be the fourth pillar with oil and gas and chemicals," Lynch said.

"We need governments to provide a carbon pricing mechanism in whatever form works for them. We advocate that in every country we operate in," Lynch said.