BP CEO Bob Dudley had choice words for public policymakers in response to what he viewed as an unrealistic over-focus on pushing renewables as a panacea for the world's energy problems.
"We're in the oil and gas industry, so we're not allowed to have a point of view. The politically correct thing is for us to say this. But the reality is our policymakers or politicians either need to get more educated or be more honest, one or the other," Dudley said at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition Conference (ADIPEC).
The line came during a CNBC-moderated panel called "Global Business Leaders - Driving growth" which also featured the CEOs of other oil and gas multinationals.
Executives discussed the challenges of a changing energy landscape, pressures to curb carbon emissions and meeting the world's energy demands. A common theme was frustration with the demands of developed world governments to meet certain climate change targets, which the oil CEOs viewed as often incompatible with the developing world's energy needs.
"There will be no energy growth in Europe, no growth in energy in North America, but there will be 2 billion more people on the planet and they won't be coming from those places," Dudley stressed. "Something like 1.4 billion people without access to electricity, and 1 billion or more don't even have access to cooking fuels. And our policymakers, too often, who are focused on waiting for the next election in 18 months, are trying to impose things that actually (according to) the law of big numbers will not work." Indeed, the OPEC outlook to 2040 sees the energy sector increasingly dependent on developing nations, particularly China and India, based on expanding population estimates.