Decarbonise the energy sector for the transition to work

Nov 23, 2021 by Energy Connects

OMV Deputy CEO Johann Pleininger talks to Energy Connects about the energy transition, digitalisation of the oil and gas industry and market volatility

image is OMV Deputy CEO

OMV Deputy CEO Johann Pleininger.

The discussion about the energy transition leaves deep traces in the industry. Can the expectations be met?

Our industry must and can make an active contribution to decarbonisation. It is clear that without it, the energy transition will not work. However, I would like to see more awareness of reality in the discussion about the energy transition. It is of little use if individual countries make great progress. We must act globally, for example with methane, we at OMV have long since committed to refraining from flaring gas by 2030. 

The discussion about the energy future is often very ideological. What is the right approach?

We need maximum openness to all technologies. The energy mix will undoubtedly move away from fossil fuels. But one thing is also clear: in the next two to three decades, we will not be able to completely function without oil and gas in our energy supply. 

I would like to see more awareness of reality in the discussion about the energy transition.

In the discussions about future technologies, the word ‘geothermal energy’ is used relatively rarely. From your point of view, can geothermal energy contribute to the energy transition?

The potential of geothermal energy is currently underestimated. I am convinced that geothermal energy can make a much greater contribution to the energy transition. For example, geothermal energy can be useful in heating houses. 

Where does OMV stand among the global competition?

OMV is excellently positioned in the value chain – from boreholes to special plastics. We work in a very cost-effective way. Our average production cost is under seven US dollars for a barrel of crude. In the petrochemical sector, we are one of the most innovative companies in the world. 

OMV is excellently positioned in the value chain.

We have seen extreme volatility in oil and gas prices since the start of the COVID crisis. Do you expect the strong fluctuations to continue?

The volatility in oil and gas will never go away completely. However, the recent large price hikes will calm down. The market will settle again for oil and gas. The up and down peaks were partly home-made. Given this experience, it is very dangerous to demonize oil and gas as an industrial supplier. The scarcity of oil is also an expression that there is not enough investment in the industry. In view of the good economy, I assume that we will continue to see solid oil and gas prices in the coming years. 

What role will digitisation play for the industry?

Digitalisation is like a journey and this journey will not end anytime soon. Digitalisation is fundamentally changing processes. Making them simpler and more effective.

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