Inflation has risen over the world as a result of rising energy prices, triggering cost-of-living difficulties in both established and emerging economies.
Al Mazrouei expressed worry at the World Government Summit in Dubai, UAE, that the global focus on geopolitics and energy security was causing governments to miss the long-term consequences of falling affordability.
He claimed that leaders of the OPEC+ oil-exporting countries were attempting to keep order and bring resources to market at a controllable rate, but that this was becoming increasingly difficult.
“For that to happen, we need resources – financial resources – we need to invest and we need to decouple politics from energy availability and energy affordability,” Al Mazrouei said.
“I’m worried that because we are mixing the two, we could end up in a situation where energy affordability becomes an issue and that would definitely lead ultimately to poverty, and ultimately could lead to a stagnation of the world economy. We are trying, but we cannot be blamed for everything – we are doing our best.”
Oil and gas prices have risen sharply since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but Al Mazrouei pointed out that the focus had previously been on sustainability and the energy transition, which, combined with a drop in demand caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, caused prices to fall to historic lows in 2020.
OPEC+ responded with record production cuts at the time, but Al Mazrouei noted that after guaranteeing supply, the next problem to address would be securing affordability.
“I am sure the next is going to be energy affordability and resources, in that sense, because food security is becoming an issue and industrial commodities or minerals are becoming an issue as well,” he said.
“So the risk I see, or the danger, is poverty which could lead to people having to go and join those terrorist groups.”
(Adapted from FlipBoard.com)