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NBAD-CNBC panel on Future of Energy concludes in Kuala Lumpur
 Low oil prices, a short-term concern; demand to grow in the
medium to long term
 Good opportunity to de-subsidise energy and economic reforms
 Panel comprised Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa of the Institute of
Strategic & International Studies, Sarawak Energy’s Datuk
Torstein Dale Sjotveit, Anthony J Jude from The Asian
Development Bank and Marc Mollema of NBAD
Abu Dhabi, UAE, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; (December 16th, 2014): The National
Bank of Abu Dhabi (“NBAD”), the Middle East’s leading bank, and CNBC, the
leading business and financial news network, hosted a panel of leading energy
experts to discuss the future of energy for Asia, in Kuala Lumpur on 15 December.
The panellists agree that low oil price is a short-term concern and the demand will
grow in the medium-to-long term. They highlighted that oil production is no longer
cheap and the high funding costs of some producers. They also agree that low oil
prices represent a good opportunity to many governments to de-subsidise energy
and make the necessary economic reforms.
The expert panel discussed how the fastest growing economies in the West-East
corridor, which stretches from West Africa to East Asia, will finance future energy
projects, both fossil fuel and renewable. They reached a conclusion that investment
opportunities in this super region are ample, and commercially-sound projects will
attract investors and financing. Marc Mollema, Global Head of Energy & Resources
at NBAD referred to Shams 1 in Abu Dhabi, which is one of the world’s largest
concentrated solar power projects, as an example of innovative projects that have
secured financing.
The panellists discussed the growing dependence on sustainable energy resources in
many parts of the world, and particularly in the West East Corridor economies,
noting the increase in demand for both fossil and renewable resources to fuel the
growth of these economies. They added that high growth economies in emerging
markets such as India would take on different kinds of energy resources to meet the
growth demands over the medium to long term.
The panel, “The Future of Energy; West East Corridor”, was convened at a time when
Asia is at the centre of the changing global energy landscape, with Asia expected to
account for 88% of the growth in global oil demand to 2035 (source: OPEC).
The expert panel comprised Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa, CEO of the Institute of
Strategic & International Studies; Datuk Torstein Dale Sjotveit, CEO of Sarawak
Energy; Anthony J. Jude, Chairman of The Asian Development Bank’s Energy
Committee; and Marc Mollema, Global Head of Energy & Resources at NBAD. Lisa
Oake, CNBC seasoned news anchor, moderated the session.
Alex Thursby, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NBAD said, “Lower oil prices
will boost trade and consumer spending which, in the medium term, will stimulate
economic growth, particularly among emerging markets that are net importers of
oil. It will also allow some governments to address the distortion caused by fuel
"The UAE has worked hard to successfully diversify its economy by developing its
non-oil sectors which now accounts for nearly 65% of GDP. Lower oil prices may
raise short-term speculation over the ability of some governments to maintain their
spending programmes, but the UAE economy is very resilient and the medium term
outlook remains strong”.
Susan Yuen, NBAD’s Asia CEO and Country Head of Malaysia said,
“Our speakers presented a wide-angled perspective on challenges for fossil fuel,
renewable energy, financing opportunities, energy sustainability and the impact of
urbanisation on both demand and supply of energy for the future”.
“I believe the panel discussion was thought provoking and laid the foundations for
the Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF), taking place in Abu Dhabi in March
“The Future of Energy; West East Corridor” was the first in a series of events taking
place around the world as part of NBAD’s Global Financial Markets Forum
(“GFMF”); the next Global Financial Markets Series events will be held in London in
February 2015 and will explore the potential for Islamic finance. This will be
followed by an event in Mumbai in June 2015.
In just six years, the GFMF has evolved to become the premier annual financial
markets conference in the MENA region, attracting over 1,300 delegates from
around the world to Abu Dhabi. In recent years, GFMF has hosted highlydistinguished speakers from all over the world, including Dr Ben Bernanke, Dr
Larry Summers, James Baker, Nicholas Sarkozy, David Millibad, Jean-Claude
Trichet, Niall Ferguson, Paul Volcker, Axel Weber, Dr. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, His
Excellency Sheikh Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and His Excellency
Nasser Ahmed Al Sowaidi.
The 2015 GFMF, to be held in Abu Dhabi on 1-2 March, will continue to showcase a
high-calibre mix of regional and international speakers, facilitating thoughtprovoking discussions both on and off stage. The forum will be covered extensively
by CNBC, who will be broadcasting live from their on-site studio at the Emirates