Promoting fact-driven energy literacy

OPEC Bulletin Commentary – November-December 2022

Many educational establishments around the world are committed to promoting ‘energy literacy’. It is important work. Recognizing the role of energy and how it serves as one of the most fundamental components of daily life has a multitude of benefits. Someone who is energy literate understands how much energy they use, where it comes from, can think cogently about energy systems, and can assess the credibility of information they receive about energy.

Knowledge of the oil industry transcends ‘energy literacy’. The products derived from petroleum extend far beyond transportation and energy systems. An essential ingredient for fertilizer is synthetic ammonia, necessary for farming at industrial scale to help feed the world. In the health industry, petroleum products are used in lifesaving equipment including pacemakers, MRI machines, bags and tubes used in intravenous therapy, syringes, surgical instruments, monitors and stethoscopes. Hearing aids, computer monitors, prosthetics, clothing, glasses, contact lenses, aspirins, shampoos, soaps, and antiseptics all are produced from crude oil via the petrochemical industry.

There is a critical need to improve awareness and knowledge about the realities of the oil industry. This is especially the case regarding public discussions and policy formation related to tackling the climate challenge. OPEC is resolved that its contribution to these discussions is fact-based, data driven and grounded in realism.

Our Organization shares the goal of seeing a reduction in greenhouse gases. However, it believes that the policies in pursuit of this goal should be fact-based and not exacerbate energy poverty or produce other harmful unintended consequences.

OPEC seeks to promote awareness and understanding of the oil industry, as well as the activities of the Organization itself, in a multitude of ways. An illuminating example is the Organization’s publications:

  1. The ‘OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin’ first appeared in 1965 and provides a comprehensive collation of oil, gas and energy data, with a big emphasis on Member Countries.
  2. In 1967, the Organization first published the ‘OPEC Annual Review and Record’, changing to its present name in 1977, of the ‘OPEC Annual Report’.
  3. Beginning life as the ‘OPEC Review’ — ‘A digest of energy reports’ — in October 1976, the ‘OPEC Energy Review’ is a quarterly academic journal containing a selection of original research papers on the global energy industry and related topics.
  4. The ‘OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report’ provides data and analysis on current market developments; this was first made available to the public in 1996, having been an internal report previously.
  5. The year 2007 saw a notable addition to these publications, with the launch of ‘OPEC’s World Oil Outlook’, a yearly analytical publication presenting the Secretariat’s research and views on medium-to-long-term issues affecting the oil sector.

November 1966 saw the first issue of the ‘OPEC Bulletin’, the Organization’s monthly news magazine; starting with just four A5-sized sheets, this has evolved out of all recognition and now, constitutes a high-quality journal, comprising of articles, features, analysis and opinion on a wide variety of energy-related issues and cultural topics.

OPEC’s publications reflect the fact an interdisciplinary approach is necessary for understanding the energy industry. The publications touch on topics related to technology, science, engineering, geology, and mathematics, as well as history, economics, the arts and the societal impact of the industry.

For its part, the OPEC Bulletin is committed to increasing awareness and understanding of the oil industry. This month’s edition includes articles on the events that OPEC has organized or participated in recently, but also has articles on OMV’s Innovation and Technology Center and the early history of the oil industry in Romania.

Education is a life-long process. It is often said one is never too old to learn. As the OPEC Secretary General, Haitham Al-Ghais, said when talking to the youth at ADIPEC recently (see p8), “learning never stops.”

Acquiring more knowledge about the realities of the oil market is a vital step in an informed policy making process. OPEC is committed to raising awareness of this industry; an industry that affects the daily lives of billions of people.

OPEC Bulletin November-December 2022

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