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Focusing Asian Dimensions of Global Energy Security

2 May 2007

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

May I thank Their Excellencies Minister Al Naimi of Saudi Arabia, host country of the IEF Secretariat, and Minister Amari of Japan for convening this Second Asian Ministerial Roundtable at a very important point in time. When energy security continues to top the political agenda worldwide. For energy importing as well as exporting countries, for industrialized as well as developing economies. In Asia and elsewhere. The IEF Secretariat is proud to be associated with your pan Asian endeavour as part of our efforts to deepen the global dialogue in the International Energy Forum.

The Riyadh Roundtable is taking place at a time also of energy uncertainties that are prompting some countries and groups of countries to re-think fundamental policies. However, the policy tuning of one country to meet new challenges, and to reduce its particular energy uncertainties, can in itself exacerbate existing uncertainties or create new ones for others. Not least considering the interrelationship between energy, environment and economic development. As well as the links between energy and geopolitics. This makes dialogue of Ministers even more important, at both regional and global level. To identify win-win co-operative approaches and to avoid misunderstandings as nations revisit and modify established policies in their quest for energy security. In a world of increasing interdependencies. Amid the uncertainties, there is a fundamental certainty. The world will need more and cleaner energy for economic and social development. More energy used in a more efficient way, accessible and affordable to a larger share of the world's population.

Asian Energy Identity

Let me also pay tribute to India for convening the First Roundtable of East, South and West Asian Ministers in New Delhi in January 2005. That First Roundtable, which was co-hosted by Kuwait and facilitated by the IEF Secretariat, gave a decisive political spark to the development of the new Asian Energy Identity that has taken form. It was supplemented by a Roundtable of Ministers of the principal East Asian consumers and North and Central Asian producers in November 2005, again convened by India and co-hosted by Russia. Exploring and identifying areas for enhanced regional co-operation, Ministers recognized very importantly at both Roundtables that the Asian oil economy is integral to, and inseparable from, the global oil economy. Asian Ministers carried their regional roundtable perspectives to the global scene discussions at the 10th IEF Ministerial, hosted by Qatar and co-hosted by China and Italy, in April last year. Where global energy security was confirmed as a 'Shared responsibility' and where both sides of the energy security coin - security of energy demand and supply - were highlighted as integral parts of that shared responsibility. 60 countries gathered under the IEF's global umbrella and across their many traditional dividing lines. 

Ministers not only of the industrialized energy-importing countries of the IEA and Ministers of the petroleum exporting countries of OPEC. But also very importantly Ministers of countries outside these two main producer and consumer organizations, such as the BRIC countries Brazil, Russia, India and China and many others, that will increasingly impact the global scenario. We are looking forward to Your Excellencies again bringing your Asian perspectives and interests to bear at the 11th IEF Ministerial that Italy will host, with India and Mexico as co-hosts, in Rome in April 2008. Along with your active participation in the IEF, we are also greatly encouraged by your support to the Joint Oil Data Initiative, which the IEF Secretariat is co-ordinating with our partners APEC, the EU, the IEA, OLADE, OPEC the UN. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah release the JODI World Database to the public when he inaugurated IEF Secretariat headquarters in November 2005. Better data and more transparency are crucial for global energy security. Promoting market stability and the investments required to meet future demand. We rely on your submission of timely and accurate data to JODI to make it work.

Regional co-operative endeavour

As global focus now is being put on issues of energy security, regional energy co-operation is being strengthened not only in Asia, but also elsewhere around the world. The biennial IEF acquires added importance as a global meeting point for the evolving mosaic of regional and inter-regional energy ambition. To co-ordinate, to avoid misunderstandings and various endeavours going off in conflicting and globally disruptive directions.The number of countries around the table today is not great. But your clout as energy producers and consumers is. You represent more than half of the world's population, the bulk of the world's oil and gas reserves and the greater part of the surging global energy demand expected in the decades ahead. West Asian supply growth will be key to meeting increasing East and South Asian demand. Your economies have indeed taken off. Few would dispute the vision that the 21st Century is Asia's Century. Asian energy co-operation will be crucial for that vision. And its impact will be global.