Johannesburg, South Africa—In a plenary speech to the 18th World Petroleum Congress today, Worldwatch Institute President Christopher Flavin declared that, "Global energy markets are at a tipping point, with new energy sources ready to begin replacing oil and other fossil fuels."

Speaking to 5,000 delegates, including ExxonMobil President Rex Tillerson and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi, Flavin said, "Energy markets are about to experience a seismic shift. The question for oil executives is whether you're in the oil business or the energy business. Production of biofuels, wind power, and solar energy are all growing at rates of 20-30 percent per year, compared with growth rates of 2 percent for oil and gas. New energy sources are attracting roughly $30 billion in investment annually," Flavin noted. "Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. state of California are among the market leaders."

Flavin's remarks were based on recent findings by the Worldwatch Institute's award-winning research team, which is closely monitoring new energy technologies and markets around the globe. Working closely with government, business, and non-governmental leaders, the Institute provides strategic advice on how best to tap the world's abundant supplies of renewable energy.

The World Petroleum Congress, being held in Africa for the first time, is attended by hundreds of oil industry leaders as well as energy ministers. This year's conference, which comes at a time of soaring oil prices, focuses on "Shaping the Energy Future: Partners in Sustainable Solutions."