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Message from the President of the Japan Petroleum Institute


Takashi Matsushita
(Director, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd.)

    Having been appointed as president of the Japan Petroleum Institute, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my formal greetings. First, I wish to extend my heartfelt best wishes to all those currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and also my deepest gratitude to all those fighting on the front lines in medical institutions, academic societies, and the industrial world.
    The resultant damage done to the global economy has included the catastrophic sudden collapse in crude petroleum prices due to both the widespread drop in demand caused by COVID-19 and the failure of major petroleum exporters to agree on production cuts, and the route to recovery is as yet unclear.
    Additionally, trends caused by enhanced environmental awareness such as decarbonization and reduced use of plastics have resulted in dramatic changes surrounding the petroleum industry that are likely to have tremendous impacts on the very nature of our business.
    Petroleum offers high energy density, simple transportation, storage stability, and easy distribution, so has superior characteristics compared to other energy sources. In addition to the widespread use as fuel for such transportation methods as automobiles, ships, and aircraft, petroleum provides energy for all aspects of our lives, from homes to factories, and is vital in the energy supply during natural disasters. Furthermore, according to the "Long-term Energy Supply and Demand Outlook" from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), petroleum will continue to be an essential energy source into the future, and so will require both implementation of new technologies as well as continuation of current technologies in the fields of petroleum and petrochemical products.
    The Paris Climate Agreement set a goal of balancing man-made carbon emissions and the natural absorption rate by the latter half of this century, and decarbonization efforts are gaining pace across the globe. Our country, Japan, is a leader in energy saving, renewable energy, and environmental technologies, but we must continue to further advance these technologies. Dramatic reductions in the CO2 emissions from petroleum consumption will require research and development into carbon recycling, which collects and reuses CO2 as a carbon source to make various carbon compounds. In recent years, industries, governments, and academia have had high expectations for collaboration between researchers and technical experts from various fields to produce new innovation. At the Japan Petroleum Institute, many researchers and technical experts have gathered under the banner of "petroleum," and we look forward to further advancing our cooperation.
    New research and technology fields such as carbon recycling, and integrating digital technologies such as AI and IoT are necessary to promote innovation, in cooperation with both domestic and worldwide organizations and academic societies.
    Finally, I believe it is vital for the Japan Petroleum Institute to provide a platform for a wide range of researchers and technical experts as well as become a source of accurate information and theory to the world in order to encourage the young generation to become leaders in research and development into energy technologies in the future.