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Horizons of Dialogue between Energy Producers and Consumers

6 March 2006

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

I am greatly honoured to have the opportunity this evening to speak on an issue of increasing international importance. An issue where the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is playing a leading role. Energy security is at the top of the international political agenda. Dialogue between energy producers and consumers has emerged as the order of the day. And Riyadh is a focal point of that global dialogue endeavour.

A few months ago, on 19 November 2005, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud inaugurated the new headquarter premises of the Secretariat of the International Energy Forum generously provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia here in Riyadh. 

Last Saturday, I was guided through the King Faisal Centre's unique collection of rare manuscripts and your state of the art library. Secretary General Ben Junaid, it is truly impressive what you are doing to preserve and promote your proud Islamic heritage. Thank you very much for organizing this evening's event. Let it be the start of close contact and co-operation between the Secretariat and the King Faisal Centre. 

Royal vision

The inauguration of our new headquarters took place exactly five years to the week that then Crown Prince Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud at the 7th IEF Ministerial Meeting in Riyadh proposed the establishment of, and offered to host, a permanent Secretariat. Its mission would be to strengthen and provide continuity to the dialogue among Ministers in the International Energy Forum. 

Ministers endorsed the proposal at the following IEF in Osaka, Japan in 2002. And the Secretariat started its work from temporary headquarters in Riyadh in December 2003. Royal vision had been translated to reality.

The location of this new international secretariat to Riyadh also testifies to the importance that the international community attaches to Saudi Arabia as the world's largest exporter of oil. It testifies to international appreciation of the record of reliability of Saudi supplies to consumers as well as confidence in Saudi policy. As Host Country, Saudi Arabia has a permanent seat on the Secretariat's Executive Board, whose members include twelve other producing and consuming countries along with the IEA and OPEC Secretariats. 

The inaugural event in November last year gathered more than 600 well-wishers. In addition to Saudi dignitaries and foreign Ambassadors, Ministers of 17 key energy producing and consuming countries, heads of international energy organizations and presidents of leading oil companies came from abroad. At a meeting convened by H.E. Ali I. Al-Naimi, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia, this prominent gathering of Ministers underlined the importance of the dialogue in the IEF for their efforts to promote energy security and a sustainable energy future. And they re-confirmed their support of the Secretariat. 

Also, on that occasion, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud released to the public the Joint Oil Data Initiative World database. More than 90 countries are submitting data on oil production, demand and stocks to this unique database, managed by the IEF Secretariat. Ministers underscored the importance of this Secretariat flagship activity for their ambition of reduced market volatility, a more stable investment climate and energy security. 

Next month, on 22-24 April, Ministers will meet in Doha, Qatar for the 10th International Energy Forum. Ministers of some sixty countries are expected. They will meet at a time of heightened global energy consciousness, at a time when the producer-consumer dialogue can play a greater role in global energy affairs. 

Unique forum

The IEF is increasingly recognized for its importance as a unique vehicle for global dialogue on energy across traditional political, economic and energy policy dividing lines in an ever-more interdependent world. It brings energy producing and consuming countries together under one global umbrella. Not only Ministers of the industrialized energy-importing countries in the IEA and Ministers of the petroleum-exporting countries of OPEC, but also Ministers of the important energy producing and consuming countries outside these two organizations. Countries such as Russia, China, India, Brazil and South Africa, to name a few, that will have increasing impact on the global energy scenario. 

Co-operative commitment

While the process of global energy dialogue at the level of Ministers in the IEF is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year, the IEF Secretariat is a 'New Kid on the Block' of international organizations. It is a concrete manifestation of international co-operative commitment to energy dialogue at political level. 

IEF Ministerial meetings have come to serve as the biennial political apex of a Global Energy Policy Interrelationship of co-operative contacts among governments at political and officials' level, and on bilateral, regional, inter-regional and global basis. Not only governments, but also oil companies and the broader energy industry, financial institutions, international organizations and other stakeholders play their role in this co-operative network. 

Energy goes to the very core of political, economic and environmental interests of individual countries as well as of the global community. The political level dialogue in the IEF has ushered international energy affairs out of an era of mistrust and confrontation to one of greater understanding, better awareness of long-term common interests and dedicated co-operative effort. 

The case for dialogue

For many years, it was politically simply not 'on' for energy ministers of consuming and producing countries to meet in a multilateral context. It is an achievement of the fifteen years of political level dialogue that earlier taboos have been broken and that global energy dialogue now is being actively pursued. 

This dialogue has struck firm roots because energy is crucial for economic and social development in each and every country. Energy is also important for commercial and political relations between countries. It fuels the world economy. Production and consumption of energy impacts the global environment. Energy influences, and is influenced by, international politics. It is, indeed, difficult to imagine an area, where nations are more interdependent than in the confluence of energy, environment and economic development.

The past has shown how energy, especially the strategic commodity oil and market volatility, can create conflict or exacerbate political tensions between countries or groups of countries. An image of confrontation had developed between producers and consumers of petroleum. The oil crisis of 1973-74 in the wake of Middle East war, and the use of oil as a political weapon, had pitted petroleum producing and consuming countries antagonistically against each other. OPEC, established in 1960, and the IEA, established in 1974, had emerged as the bi-polar and multilateral expression of conflicting producer-consumer interests. 

Co-operative relations could develop on a bilateral basis between most oil producing and consuming countries. But multilateral approaches to build bridges and establish a structured producer-consumer dialogue and co-operation foundered in the Conference on International Economic Co-operation in Paris and again in UNCTAD in second half of the 1970s. 

It became, however, increasingly clear, that sharply fluctuating oil prices were detrimental to both producers and consumers and that there could be no long-term winners in troubled energy markets. Less volatility in energy markets and stable prices at a reasonable level for consumers and producers emerged as a shared ambition and new co-operative mantra. 

The World Commission on Environment and Development acknowledged in its report 'Our Common Future' in 1987 the importance of energy for sustainable economic and social development. It highlighted the importance of oil prices on international energy policy. It recommended that new mechanisms for encouraging dialogue between consumers and producers be explored.

On that note the Chairperson of the Commission and Prime Minister of Norway, Dr. Brundtland called for an informal 'Workshop of Ministers' of energy producing and consuming countries to discuss the resource and market situation and outlook as well as the links between energy and environment. Many were ready to try, but important countries regarded the very idea of a dialogue on these matters at political level as a non-starter, even as outright dangerous. Some seemed to regard the differences and conflicts between producers and consumers as permanent facts of life, a divide that no political level dialogue could bridge, or should even attempt to bridge. One just had to live with sharply fluctuating oil prices, instability and mutual insecurity, and the adverse wider economic and political impact. 

The deepening dialogue

The Gulf War in 1990-91 highlighted again the geo-political and economic importance of oil. It proved a turning point for the idea of dialogue at political level. A more co-operative atmosphere between producers and consumers ensued in its wake. At the initiative of Presidents Mitterand of France and Perez of Venezuela, a 'Ministerial Seminar' of Producers and Consumers was held in Paris in 1991. 

While the OPEC countries attended at the level of Ministers, of the IEA countries only France, the Netherlands and Norway participated at that level. Other IEA members were represented at officials' level. Their discussions included the oil market, economic and industrial co-operation and the environment. The Paris Ministerial Seminar broke the political ice. It demonstrated that there were issues to be talked about and that it would in the mutual interest of producers and consumers, considering their interdependence, to remove earlier mistrust and seek co-operative approaches through continued dialogue. 

It was followed by an informal 'Ministerial Workshop' in Norway in 1992, co-hosted by Egypt and Italy, this time with equal ministerial level participation of IEA and OPEC countries. This second meeting also broadened the dialogue from the traditional bi-polar IEA-OPEC configuration to focus also the energy powerhouse Russia. Countries were represented by both Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Energy Ministers, highlighting also the wider economic and geo-political importance of energy co-operation.

The fledgling Ministerial level producer-consumer dialogue moved to Spain for a third meeting in 1994 co-hosted by Algeria and Mexico. Natural gas was a key topic. And, Ministers recognized more explicitly the importance of price stability for energy security.

The venue of the political level dialogue crossed the Atlantic to Venezuela for a fourth meeting in 1995 co-hosted by Russia and the European Commission. Major topics were investment and reintegration of oil and gas industries. Ministers recognized that security of demand was as important for producers as security of supply was for consumers.

Gathering momentum, the producer-consumer dialogue then moved eastwards, outside IEA and OPEC territorial domain, to India for the 5th Ministerial in 1996, co-hosted by Brazil and Norway. It acknowledged the importance of Asia and growing energy needs of the emerging economies as an integral dimension of the global energy dialogue. 

South Africa hosted the 6th Meeting of Ministers in 1998, with Qatar and the United Kingdom as co-hosts, bringing the African dimension of the global producer-consumer dialogue centre-stage and widening the scope of dialogue even further.

The 7th meeting, now referred to as the International Energy Forum, was hosted by Saudi Arabia in 2000. Japan and the Netherlands were co-hosts. Ministers emphasized the links between energy, technology and sustainable development and the role of industry. This was when the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al Saud proposed the establishment of a permanent Secretariat in Riyadh. 

Japan hosted the 8th IEF in 2002, with Italy and the United Arab Emirates as co-hosts. Ministers focused on investments, energy security and environmental issues. They underlined the importance of greater stability in the international oil market for economic growth. They endorsed the establishment of a permanent Secretariat in Riyadh and its supportive mission. 

At the 9th IEF, hosted by the Netherlands and co-hosted by Iran and Norway in 2004, Ministers put special focus on the crucial issue of investments in the energy sector. They welcomed the new Riyadh Secretariat established six months earlier. The Amsterdam IEF also brought a new dimension to the biennial ministerial. The 1st International Energy Business Forum was convened for direct interaction between CEOs of leading energy companies and IEF Ministers.

A unique process

The scope of the on-going dialogue in the IEF has been broadened, and confidence increasingly built, from meeting to meeting, each Ministerial providing a political stimulus for the next. An ever-increasing number of Ministers have come to take part in what developed from a Ministerial Seminar and Workshop to become the largest recurring global gathering of energy ministers - the International Energy Forum. In addition to informal plenary discussions, the IEF provides an important venue for also for informal bilateral and other contacts between ministers. 

The IEF is unique not only in its global perspective and scope, but also in approach. It is not a decision-making organization or a forum for negotiation of legally binding settlements and collective action. Nor is the IEF a body for multilateral fixing of prices and production levels. The informality of this framework has encouraged a degree of frank exchanges, which cannot be replicated in traditional and more formal international settings. 

Ministers meet to discuss common concerns seeking consensus-oriented approaches to energy challenges ahead. The producer-consumer dialogue in the IEF has contributed to a convergence of views and a growing awareness of common interests. The knowledge basis for national decision-making and for purposeful co-ordination of policies within other international fora has improved. The mutual sense of interdependency, vulnerability and win-win opportunity fosters a more conducive atmosphere for long-term co-operation. And difficult short-term issues are being addressed in a more co-operative way than before, when the atmosphere was confrontational. 

The results of dialogue are evident in concrete measures taken by both consumer and producer countries individually and by their organizations. The results of dialogue are also evident in statements of policy intent that in times of geopolitical and other uncertainty have sent calming signals to nervous energy markets. Statements made and measures implemented by producers and consumers alike do have impact, not least for developments in relation to the level of oil prices and market stability.

Shared perspectives 

Host country the Netherlands, and co-hosts Iran and Norway summed up discussions at the 9th IEF in Amsterdam two years ago expressing the prevailing state of shared perspectives. These perspectives included the shared concern of the day - the high level of oil prices. 

Ministers agreed that producers and consumers, as well as economic recovery worldwide, especially in developing countries, would benefit from greater stability in the international oil market and prices at a reasonable level. Both producer and consumer countries should take action to ensure sustainable price levels.

Ministers considered present oil and gas reserves sufficient to meet the world's increasing energy needs, provided that necessary investments are made in time. Unhindered access to capital, energy technology and markets would promote the development of production, transit and transport capacity. The sovereign rights of States over their natural resources were reaffirmed. The commercial objectives of oil and gas companies were also recognized.

Ministers echoed the strong message from CEOs of leading energy companies in the preceding International Energy Business Forum that stable and transparent economic, fiscal and legal frameworks need to be in place to attract sufficient foreign direct investment and other resources. Transparency also with respect to oil production and stocks was seen as important to that end. 

Ministers urged investments in cleaner fossil fuels to reduce the detrimental environmental effects of growing energy use. The importance of developing alternative energy sources was stressed. Their vision was a smooth transition to a new energy era for the longer term, facilitated by the presence of still ample oil and gas reserves.

The importance of energy for sustainable development and follow-up of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg was also emphasized, especially bearing in mind the energy needs of a growing world population. 

Data and transparency

IEF Ministers have on repeated occasions expressed their firm commitment to improving transparency of oil data through the Joint Oil Data Initiative - JODI for short. They underscore that accurate and timely data are important for reducing energy market volatility. The IEF Secretariat took on the co-ordination of the JODI in January 2005 with the full and active support of OPEC and the IEA, APEC, Eurostat, OLADE and the UNSD, the six international organizations that pioneered the initiative. 

G8 Heads of Government underscored at their Gleneagles' Summit in July last year the importance of the dialogue in the IEF and the Secretariat's co-ordination of JODI for efforts to increase the transparency needed to reduce oil market volatility. They urged all countries to contribute to the success of the Joint Oil Data Initiative. This G8 support is being echoed also by other regional and international organizations and by individual countries. 

JODI is international ambition translated into action. A concrete outcome and achievement of the producer-consumer dialogue. A permanent mechanism with the objective of improving the quality and transparency of international oil statistics. More than 90 countries, representing 95% of global supply and demand, are submitting data on production, demand and stocks of seven product categories: crude oil, LPG, gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, fuel oil and total oil. 

The Joint Oil Data Initiative is promising work in progress. The Secretariat will play an increasingly active role in co-ordinating and further developing this unique inter-organizational endeavour. The submission of timely and accurate data by participating countries is crucial for its success. 

A defining issue 

'Fuelling the Future - Energy Security, a Shared Responsibility' is the timely theme of the Doha Ministerial next month. Energy Security is also the priority theme of the Russian Federation's current presidency of the G8 group of nations. Energy is the focal issue for the United Nations' Commission on Sustainable Development this year and next. Some now call 'energy' the missing Millennium Development Goal.

Oil prices remain high and volatile amid energy security concerns. Price levels have risen by around 50% since the Amsterdam Ministerial two years ago. This is in part attributed to increasing energy demand resulting from economic growth, in particular the surge in energy demand in developing Asia and the USA. Also bottlenecks in the supply chain, geo-political uncertainties and destructive forces of nature impact price levels and exacerbate perceptions of energy insecurity. Recent international energy developments have induced some importing countries to regard energy dependence on others with increased caution. 

Oil-importing, industrialized countries warn of the detrimental impact that high oil prices have on their individual economies and on the world economy. Oil-importing developing countries suffer even more than before from increasing oil import bills. Oil-exporting countries are producing what they can to help ensure that markets are adequately supplied. 

If the shorter-term perspective is challenging, the longer-term scenario is even more daunting. The increase in global energy demand foreseen in the years ahead is substantial. The resources are there, but timely investments in infrastructure of some USD 17 trillion, half of this in developing countries, have to be made to meet projected demand over the next 25 years. 

An Energy Scenario

Experts expect that by 2030 energy demand will increase by more than half over today's level. Fossil fuels will remain the primary sources of energy and account for four-fifths of total demand. According to IEA projections, oil would account for 34%, natural gas for 24% and coal for 23% of the energy mix. These fossil fuels will dwarf the 5% share of nuclear, the 4% share of hydro and other renewables as well as the 10% share of biomass and waste. 

The IEA expects that fossil fuels, in a business as usual scenario, would meet 85% of the total increase in global energy demand by 2030, most of which will come in the developing countries as they industrialize and their economies grow. Global energy related CO2 emissions would grow correspondingly. Emissions would increase by more than half (52 %) from today's level. Three quarters (73%) of this increase would come from developing countries. 

Today, a quarter of the world's population (1.6 billion of 6.2 billion people) lacks access to electricity and two-fifths rely mainly on traditional biomass for their basic energy needs. Experts estimate that 1.4 billion people, out of an expected world population of 8.1 billion people, will still lack access to electricity in 2030.

In a word, the world will need more and cleaner energy used in a more efficient way, accessible and affordable to a larger share of the world's population. 

In this longer-term perspective, production and consumption patterns, the energy mix as well as investment requirements, will evolve in a changing geopolitical environment. And these energy developments will influence that changing geopolitical climate. Energy is, indeed, a defining global issue. 

Energy security

Looking at the immediate horizons of dialogue, I would see Ministers not only deepening shared perspectives on energy security, but also looking at issues where they do not necessarily agree and where new understandings may be developed and where national policy actions may be taken to promote common global interests. The confidence built over fifteen years of dialogue enables Ministers to do this in a frank and co-operative spirit. 

The Ministerial-level dialogue will take a closer look not only at the longer-term challenges, but also at present day constraints in the market and bottlenecks throughout the energy chain. Ministers may through dialogue identify potential policy frameworks that would enhance efficient market operation and what governments and the business sector can do to meet increasing energy demand and deal with excessive volatility in the market. 

Indeed, Minister Al-Naimi made a very important proposal at the World Petroleum Congress in Johannesburg in September last year, when he urged the international community, under the auspices of the International Energy Forum, to undertake a study of the global oil supply system, identifying bottlenecks and proposing possible solutions. This would give important input to discussions of strategies to address constraints to the deliverability of petroleum at reasonable prices to the world. 

Let me also mention that, when meeting in Secretariat headquarters last November, Ministers of oil consuming countries requested a 'road map' from oil producing countries on future supply. Ministers of oil producing countries requested in turn a 'road map' on future oil demand from the consuming countries. Such road maps would also indicate the need there would be to increase and adjust refining capacity as demand shifts to lighter oil products and the crude oil extracted becomes heavier. 

Energy trade, almost entirely in fossil fuels, will expand rapidly and increase the interdependence between producers and consumers. However, the geographical mismatch between where the bulk of the world' petroleum resources are extracted and where they are finally used does not make things easier. Vulnerability to disruptions of energy supply due to technical mishap or terrorist onslaught can increase. Maintaining the security of sea-lanes and pipelines will assume increasing importance for energy security. 

The challenge of global energy security is truly multi-dimensional. It goes to the core of national interests. There is no quick and lasting fix. The cluster of issues involved in energy security must be addressed in on-going dialogue not only between nations at political level, regionally and globally, but also in dialogue and partnerships between governments and industry. Involvement of industry itself and attention to the hurdles companies face are key to the efforts of Ministers to address energy policy challenges successfully and efficiently. Not least considering the substantial investments that industry will be required to make and the new and more efficient technology that industry will develop, if we are to meet the energy demands of the future in a sustainable way. 

Multi-polar energy world

In Doha next month, IEF Ministers will put global focus on issues of energy security. At the same time regional and inter-regional energy co-operation is also being strengthened, giving impetus to and supplementing the global energy dialogue. Parallel processes of global and regional co-operation are important to energy security in a multi-polar energy world. Regional and inter-regional co-operation can provide stepping-stones to global approaches and co-operation. The biennial IEF provides a global meeting point for the mosaic of regional and inter-regional energy ambition, with the Secretariat serving as a catalyst link. 

With the recognition of increasing interdependence between producers and consumers, and contributing to a more co-operative atmosphere, the IEA and OPEC secretariats now have established direct ties. The EU and OPEC started last year a bilateral dialogue at political level. We also see a new Asian energy identity emerging. Regional economic and political developments in Asia will increasingly impact global developments. 

A 'Roundtable of Asian Ministers on Regional Co-operation in the Oil and Gas Economy' was convened by India in January last year in association with the IEF Secretariat and with Kuwait as co-host. It gathered Ministers of the principal Asian importers, China, India, Japan and Korea, and Ministers of Saudi Arabia and other West Asian (Gulf) producers. Ministers representing half of the World's population, the bulk of the World's remaining proven oil and gas reserves and, very importantly, the greater part of the surging global energy demand expected in the decades ahead. It was the first time that they discussed energy security, stability and sustainability on a regional Asian basis. 

This Roundtable was supplemented by an additional Roundtable of Ministers of the same principal Asian consumers this time with North and Central Asian producers in November last year, again convened by India, this time co-hosted by Russia, and to which the IEF Secretariat again contributed.

Ministers at both Roundtables recognized very importantly that the Asian oil economy is integral to, and inseparable from, the global oil economy. Both will be followed up next year with meetings planned in Saudi Arabia with Japan as co-host and in Turkey with Azerbaijan as co-hosting country respectively. The Secretariat will facilitate the commissioning by participating countries of studies of global dialogue interest on Asian oil markets, criss-cross investments and regional oil and gas interconnections. 

The Secretariat has likewise interacted with also other regional and inter-regional co-operative endeavours. Let me mention the EU-GCC Eurogulf Project, the Conference of African, Latin American and Caribbean Energy Ministers (AFROLAC), the African Petroleum Congress processes as well Eurasian dialogues promoted by Russia and the UNECE. We have conveyed our global IEF perspectives and have taken back to the global dialogue the important regional perspectives that we receive. 

Three Pillars 

The Secretariat's mission focuses on the three pillars of activity endorsed by Ministers. These are:

i) to support host country and co-hosting countries in preparing for and implementing the biennial Ministerials and to follow up the Ministerial deliberations,

ii) to provide platforms for exchange of views on relevant energy issues and to contribute to the continuity and deepening of the Ministerial level dialogue,

iii) and to facilitate and enhance the exchange of energy data and information, especially by co-ordinating the Joint Oil Data Initiative.

Preparations for the IEF Ministerial in Doha next month and its follow-up are the focal point for activity this year. 

After the Ministerial, and in light of further political guidance given by Ministers, the Secretariat intends to host or otherwise facilitate workshops or network meetings and co-ordinate studies on issues such as: bottlenecks in the energy supply chain and investments, petroleum reserves and spare capacity, development of regional to global natural gas markets, transit issues and other matters crucial to the Doha main theme of 'Energy Security'. This will include activity at both political and other levels, on global as well as regional basis. And this activity will be an important part of our efforts to assist Host Country Italy in developing agenda and themes for the next full IEF Ministerial that will take place in Rome, Italy in 2008. 

Some further highlights on our menu of activity this year will include bringing IEF energy security perspectives to the meeting of G8 Energy Ministers in Moscow in ten days' time. 

We will take part in the Ministerial segment of the 14th UN Commission on Sustainable Development that will take place in New York in May, where we will add our 10th IEF perspectives to the UN theme of 'Energy for Sustainable Development'. 

May I invite you to mark 24 May on your calendar. The Secretariat will host a joint workshop here in Riyadh with the World Energy Council on their long-term energy scenarios up to 2050. The President of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. Pachauri, from India, will join us and give interesting perspectives on energy security and environment as well.

Recognizing the global impact of energy developments in Asia, the Secretariat will, as already mentioned, follow up its association with the process of Roundtables of Asian Ministers on Regional Co-operation initiated and by facilitating studies relevant to the global dialogue.

The Secretariat will likewise serve as a catalyst link between the global dialogue endeavour in the IEF and also other selected regional and inter-regional endeavours such as the 2nd Conference of Energy Ministers of African Latin-America and Caribbean countries (AFROLAC) to take place in 2006. We will bring IEF perspectives to the 8th Arab Energy Conference in May. 

The Secretariat will continue to dedicate priority effort to the further development of the Joint Oil Data Initiative in co-operation with our partner organizations. Our Action Plan for JODI includes training sessions in Africa and Latin America later this year in co-operation with host countries and regional organizations. 

The Secretariat will further develop its contact network and seek joint activity with energy industry, international organizations and research institutes recognizing the importance of their expert input to enhancing the political level dialogue in the IEF.

Seven Political 'C's

To sum up, let me share the seven political 'C's of Energy that I see on the horizon for dialogue between producers and consumers. Although, we are all in the same boat of global interdependence, I am not referring to the 'Seven Seas' of our planet Earth, but 'C's as represented by the third letter of the Latin alphabet. These seven 'C's are: Concern, Competition, Conflict, Co-operation, Consensus, Conservation and Confluence.

The first 'C' is energy concern. We simply cannot do without energy, in our homes and in the world. We need it for survival. It fuels economic and social development. Political leaders and individuals are, and should be, concerned about their energy security and the energy challenges ahead. 

As energy demand grows, so will competition, the second 'C'. Competition for energy resources and between energy resources. Competition is good when it makes everyone try a little harder. But it should be transparent, fair and on a level playing field. Competition is bad when it leads to the third 'C' - conflict.

We have seen how conflict in energy can have negative economic and political consequences. The objective of dialogue is to reduce the scope for conflict and to foster the fourth 'C' - win-win co-operation. Co-operation between some stakeholders should, however, not be lethal to others.

We are aiming for the fifth 'C' - a global consensus on energy based on the awareness of long-term common interests. An element of this consensus is the sixth 'C' - Conservation. We will need more energy and must improve energy efficiency, for many reasons.

You cannot isolate energy from everything else. That brings us to the important seventh 'C' - confluence. Confluence of the streams of energy, environment and economic development into a sustainable and equitable Common Future.

The producer-consumer dialogue in International Energy Forum is above all a confidence-building process. A truly global dialogue among Ministers of energy producing and consuming countries, industrialized and developing countries, across traditional political, economic and energy policy dividing lines. A dialogue in which Ministers focus on energy security and address the links between energy, environment and economic development. A dialogue through which Ministers can promote their national interests in the wider context of promoting common global objectives as well. 

There is no final destination, there will always be new horizons, for a purposeful producer-consumer dialogue in an evolving energy world. It is ultimately the ambition of participating governments, and the sum of their policy measures, that will determine the achievements and success of the producer-consumer dialogue. The International Energy Forum Secretariat headquartered here in Riyadh will do its utmost to serve this on-going and forward-looking co-operative global endeavour.