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A Time for Global Energy Dialogue

19 November 2005

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The Secretariat of the International Energy Forum is greatly encouraged to see so many key participants on the global energy scene gathered here in Riyadh on occasion of the official inauguration of our new headquarters by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. 

Your presence testifies to the importance and potential of the producer-consumer dialogue in the IEF at a time when oil prices and energy security are a major global concern. This is a time for global energy dialogue to promote energy security and address the links between energy, environment and economic development in an increasingly interdependent world. 

The IEF is a unique vehicle for international co-operation across traditional political, economic and energy policy dividing lines. Nowhere else do ministers of energy producing and consuming countries, of industrialised as well as developing countries, of the IEA and OPEC along with the increasingly important countries independent of these, meet in informal dialogue. This political level dialogue also recognizes the importance of dialogue and partnerships between governments and industry itself. Ministers and CEOs interact in the International Energy Business Forum in conjunction with the biannual Ministerials. An important add-on is the opportunity that these ministerials provide for a network of bilateral meetings. 

Such is the setting also for our meeting today. Leading experts will make presentations on the global economy and the oil market and industry as well as on technology and information and oil market stability. Your ensuing panel discussions will also provide guidance to preparations for the 10th IEF Ministerial and 2nd International Energy Business Forum that H.E. Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Energy and Industry Al-Attiyah of Qatar will host in Doha on 22-24 April next year. Ministers of more than 60 countries have been invited to further deepen the dialogue for energy security in the IEF. The cardinal task of the Secretariat is to support host country and co-hosting countries in preparing for and implementing the biannual IEF Ministerials and subsequently to follow up the Ministerial deliberations. 

Another pillar of Secretariat activity is to provide and facilitate additional platforms for dialogue at different levels between the biannual ministerials. Regional and inter-regional energy co-operation is assuming increasing importance for global developments and can provide stepping-stones to subsequent global approaches and solutions. The IEF is a forum where global and important regional and inter-regional endeavours can touch base. One important such endeavour was the 'Roundtable of Asian Ministers on Regional Co-operation in the Oil and Gas Economy' that H.E. Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Aiyar of India hosted in New Delhi in association with the Secretariat, and where Kuwait was co-host, in January this year. The next of what will continue as a series of such Asian Roundtables will take place in Saudi Arabia with Japan as co-hosting country. The Secretariat is looking forward to playing a facilitating role. 

Our third pillar of activity is to facilitate and enhance the exchange of energy data and information, especially by co-ordinating the Joint Oil Data Initiative with the support of APEC, Eurostat, IEA, OLADE, OPEC and the UN. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has kindly consented to release the JODI World database to the public this afternoon. More than 90 countries, representing 95% of global supply and demand, are now submitting data on oil production, demand and stocks. 

Since we have seven of the G8 countries here today, let me say how encouraged we were by the Gleneagles Summit statement that emphasized the importance of the producer-consumer dialogue in the IEF and the Secretariat's co-ordination of the Joint Oil Data Initiative as means to reduce market volatility and promote energy security. That G8 emphasis has later been echoed also by other regional and international organizations. 

Let me also thank H.E. Minister Aiyar for the 'Asian Energy Vision' he presented when giving the 1st IEF Energy Lecture in Riyadh in March this year. It attracted Saudi officials, foreign Ambassadors, executives of oil companies and financial institutions as well as the media. May I invite also other ministers likewise to use the IEF as an international rostrum from which to make major energy policy speeches when visiting Saudi Arabia bilaterally. May I also thank those Ministers and CEOs, who have shared their policy perspectives in our quarterly newsletter and invite also others to likewise honour us. 

In promoting the global dialogue on energy in the IEF, it is the objective of the Secretariat to give Ministers added value input and platforms for dialogue that you would find useful in your national decision-making and participation in other patterns of international energy co-operation. For this, we need not only your political guidance, but also your financial support. Let me thank those Ministers, whose countries have made their voluntary financial contributions to Secretariat activity for this year. I hope that those, who have not yet done so, will do so. It goes without saying that contributions from industry are certainly also highly appreciated. 

Let me especially thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and H.E. Minister Al-Naimi most particularly, for being such a gracious host country to the Secretariat and for providing so much political and financial support to our activity.