Eni’s Recchi Says China’s Priority Is Securing Energy for Growth

Eni SpA Chairman Giuseppe Recchi comments on meeting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the nation’s push for energy security and the outlook for electric cars.

Recchi spoke in an interview today in the western Chinese city of Chengdu, where he’s attending the Fortune Global Forum. Eni is Italy’s largest oil company.

On meeting Premier Li:

“I found him a person who is very pro-business, a person that understands very well the path of growth.”

“The prime minister said that securing the energy sources for sustaining this huge demand of growth is the number one priority. So he welcomes all the ventures about unconventional or any type of resources that could be found.”

On Chinese energy security:

“China has a clear view of what its energy demand will be and so it’s planning for it. And that’s why the energy strategy is driven by securing the resources, that’s how I read the strategy to go to Africa and elsewhere in the world, to secure the supply for the future needs, which I think is very wise.”

On transportation

“We don’t see electric cars changing much the transportation industry in the future, especially about heavy load transportation like trucks, which cannot be moved now by electric.”

“Oil price is stable because of the global crisis. But we expect that looking at what’s happening in China, which is a hugely-developed country, on top of the trend rates of the developing countries, demand for energy in general will never decrease just because of demographic issues, for example.”

“Expecting that electric cars would make a massive solution is probably too optimistic. We expect something like in solar panels will happen. It’s very important but they’re not enough to sustain worldwide energy demand.”

“Unless in the next ten years we see a breakthrough in technology we cannot imagine now. Today we’ll bet on gas.”

— With assistance by Alexandra Ho

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