The IEF convenes a biennial gathering of Ministers from around the world to discuss energy issues of concern to the global community. Open and informal dialogue, at both the political and technical levels, helps overcome historical differences, improves policy and investment decisions, and through increased knowledge and experience sharing, reduces uncertainty on many levels. The upcoming IEF15 will be hosted by Algeria in 2016 with Kazakhstan as co-hosting country.
The IEF is unique, not only in its global perspective and scope, but also in its approach. Beyond its Ministerial sessions, the IEF provides an open venue for bilateral contacts between Energy Ministers, as well as with and among top level executives from industry, who participate in the International Energy Business Forum (IEBF) that precedes each IEF Ministerial Meeting.
The IEF and the IEBF meetings offer valuable insight into the collective key concerns of policy-makers and industry leaders. Paying heed to the call of Ministers and exercising as much flexibility in its working practices as resources allow, the IEF Secretariat works with the Executive Board to prioritise its programme of work in order to ensure that the most relevant and pressing issues are adequately addressed in an efficient and timely manner. On an ongoing basis the Secretariat endeavours to identify and promote practical means of bolstering global energy security by enhancing transparency, encouraging investment and promoting sustainability.
As the dialogue process matures the role played by the regular symposia, workshops and training sessions organised by the IEF Secretariat and its partners play an important part in improving understanding and building trust also at operational and expert levels.
Through its coordination of the ambitious Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), the IEF capitalises on the combined efforts of six diverse international organisations (APEC, EUROSTAT, IEA, OLADE, OPEC, and UNSD) to improve transparency in oil markets. The primary aim of this pioneering activity is to moderate undue volatility in the energy and gas markets. The extension of JODI to annual oil data on upstream and downstream capacities and expansion plans will start with oil and is currently under way, with first results expected a the earliest in 2012. This extension is considered an important element in efforts to improve the visibility of the medium-term demand / supply balance in the oil market.
Other ongoing activity of the IEF includes the IEA-IEF-OPEC tri-lateral co-operation programme established following Ministerial endorsement of the Cancun Declaration associated with IEF12 in Mexico. The 2nd Annual IEA-IEF-OPEC Symposium on Energy Outlooks will take place in Riyadh on 23 January 2012. This initiative aims to provide shared analysis of energy market trends and energy outlooks. It offers a platform for experts to discuss energy outlooks and gain a better understanding of the interests and concerns of each Organisation. It also serves to identify and discuss the similarities and differences between the outlooks in order to improve clarity in terms of the data, assumptions, methodologies employed and analysis performed.
The second pillar of the IEA-IEF-OPEC cooperation programme focuses on the linkages between physical and financial energy markets. Paper oil market trading reached record levels in 2011. With financial regulators (CFTC, FSA, EU and others) around the globe designing important new rules for paper oil markets the importance of further improving data transparency in both the physical and financial oil markets, international co-ordination of regulation and ongoing physical-financial market dialogue are of high priority and in the common interest. The second IEA-IEF-OPEC Joint Workshop and Regulators Forum will take place in Vienna on 27-28 November 2011.
The 2nd IEF NOC-IOC Forum took place in Paris, 7-8 April 2011. Building on the outcome of the 1st IEF NOC-IOC Forum (Kuwait) and related Symposium on Human Resources (Qatar) this latest meeting brought together senior decision-makers from NOCs, IOCs and Service Companies as well as IEF government officials to discuss key issues and common challenges facing the oil and gas industry. Working with the IAC the IEF Secretariat will develop the findings of the Paris event to formulate recommendations on a set of general principles or best practice on how to achieve successful and long-lasting partnerships among industry players for submission to CEOs and Ministers for their consideration at IEF13 and IEBF5 in Kuwait.
IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum
IEF co-operation with the International Gas Union (IGU) also continues with the 2nd IEF-IGU Ministerial Gas Forum in Qatar exploring the evolution of gas markets from regional to global and the increasingly important role of gas in the energy mix. Discussion on recent technological developments, burgeoning LNG markets and the significant potential for non-conventional gas indicate the strong need for ongoing exchange of views and dissemination of information on the evolution of this key energy sector.
Energy Poverty is a subject of perennial concern. It remains high on the agenda of IEF Ministers and the 2nd IEF Energy Poverty Symposium, hosted by OFID in Vienna (15-16 November 2011) will explore ways of breaking the unfortunate cycle of poverty which continues to blight the daily lives and development prospects of more than 1.6 billion people worldwide.
Energy efficiency is firmly fixed on the IEF agenda as it represents the single most cost effective and easily implemented of all energy policy with regard both to environmental impact and long-term sustainability of global resources. The IEF, its member States and the companies of the IAC work together to add value to work on this subject by cooperating not only among themselves, but with other appropriate partner organisations wherever practical.
IEF co-operation with the Global CCS Institute on CCS development and deployment has delivered two successful symposia, the recommendations from which have been submitted to Ministers. The Secretariat continues to monitor progress in this field and will play an active role in promoting the concept of CSS where opportunity arises and such intervention is perceived to add value.
The Ministerial IEF and the IEBF provide valuable insights into the key concerns of policy-makers and industry leaders.
Drawing on the conclusions of the Ministerial IEF and the IEBF, the Secretariat prioritises its programme of work to reflect the key issues and find practical ways to enhance global energy security through improving market transparency, investment and sustainability.
In this vein, a comprehensive range of other symposia are coordinated in order to foster greater dialogue on key issues facing the global energy scene. Among them are dampening rapid price fluctuations through the JODI initiative (coordinated by the IEF), addressing the challenges of energy poverty, substantive dialogue on carbon emission mitigation strategies, and fostering increased cooperation between NOCs and IOCs.