ARKANSAS, Oct 15 (Future Headlines)- Hundreds of climate activists are preparing to disrupt the Energy Intelligence Forum in London, a gathering of top oil industry leaders from around the world, including executives from companies like Shell, Total, and Equinor, along with financiers and UK ministers. This event, previously known as the Oil & Money conference, has been nicknamed “the Oscars of oil” by climate campaigners due to its significance in the oil industry. The activists’ campaign, called “Oily Money Out,” aims to protest the industry’s “business as usual” approach and raise awareness about the environmental impact of oil and gas production.
Since 1980, the annual conference has provided a platform for leaders in the oil, gas, politics, and finance sectors to discuss and network on critical issues facing the energy industry. It is hosted by Energy Intelligence, a provider of energy news, data, and analysis. In 2019, the conference rebranded itself due to concerns about its subject matter, prompted by the withdrawal of its long-term sponsor, The New York Times. The event has evolved to address the challenges of climate change and the energy transition, focusing on how the world can power the planet reliably, affordably, and cleanly.
This year’s event boasts a lineup of speakers, including CEOs from major fossil fuel companies like Claudio Descalzi of Eni, Amin Nasser of Saudi Aramco, and Anders Opedal of Equinor, which is involved in the controversial Rosebank oil field development in the UK. The event is also attended by the UK’s Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, and the country’s former Minister of Energy and Climate Change, Charles Hendry.
Notably, the President and CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Sultan Al Jaber, who also serves as the President of COP28, was originally part of the speaker lineup. However, there is speculation that he has withdrawn from the conference.
- Climate Activists’ Impact on the Event
Climate activists are celebrating what they perceive as a victory in causing Al Jaber’s apparent withdrawal from the conference. They have criticized the appointment of an oil CEO as the head of the global climate summit (COP28), where countries gather to address climate issues. Activists argue that the fossil fuel industry’s influence has hindered progress in combatting climate change. However, Al Jaber’s withdrawal suggests that he may have avoided potential accountability just before his participation in COP28.
Under the banner of “Oily Money Out,” climate activists have organized three days of disruptive protests around the Energy Intelligence Forum. These protests include:
Tuesday, October 17: A morning demonstration outside the InterContinental hotel, where the event is being held.
Wednesday, October 18: An all-day protest against Rosebank oil extraction, timed to disrupt Equinor CEO Opedal, with music and speeches from high-profile activists.
Thursday, October 19: A public “Festival of Resistance” from Marble Arch to Wellington Arch, demanding an end to new oil and gas developments.
Climate groups from across Europe, such as StopEacop from Paris, Fridays for Future Sweden, and XR Brussels, are expected to join the protests. In addition to these public demonstrations, the organizers have planned a series of training sessions and workshops in the days leading up to the event.
- Fossil Free London and Their Campaigns
Fossil Free London is a climate activist group dedicated to challenging the fossil fuel industry in the city. They have engaged in various direct actions, stunts, and protests to make London inhospitable to the fossil fuel industry. Some of their previous campaigns include disrupting Shell’s annual general meeting and picketing Shell’s headquarters. “Oily Money Out” is part of their mission to hold the oil industry accountable.
As Robin Wells, the director of Fossil Free London, notes, “The Oil & Money conference is the Oscars of oil. We need to get their oily money out, and that starts with taking to the streets and making it very clear to them and to the wider population that they’re not welcome, and business as usual has to change.”
In response to the planned protests, Energy Intelligence has stated their commitment to inclusive dialogue and the need for discussions involving various stakeholders in the energy sector. They consider the safety of everyone involved in the Forum to be their highest priority.
As the global energy landscape continues to evolve, the clash between the fossil fuel industry and climate activists becomes increasingly prominent. The outcome of the “Oily Money Out” campaign will likely spark further discussions on the role of fossil fuels and the urgency of transitioning to clean energy sources.
Reporting by Emad Martin