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Producer-Consumer Dialogue after the St. Petersburg Summit

25 October 2006

Brussels, Belgium

Let me first of all commend the Energy Charter Secretariat, the International Energy Agency and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe on convening a timely discussion on 'The Role of Governments and International Organisations in Promoting Energy Security'. I am honoured to share some perspectives on the further development of the producer-consumer dialogue from the vantage point of the International Energy Forum in this opening session on 'The International Energy Scene after the St. Petersburg Summit'. I will do so not only in light of the support to the IEF and dialogue expressed by the G8 Heads of Government in St. Petersburg. But also against the backdrop of the 10th IEF Ministerial that took place in Doha in April this year. 

Energy security continues to top the political agenda for energy importing as well as exporting countries, for industrialized as well as developing economies. This is, indeed, a time of heightened energy consciousness around the world, a time of uncertainties and increasing interdependencies among nations. This prompts re-think of fundamental policies. And the policy tuning of one country to meet new challenges and to reduce its particular energy uncertainties can in itself exacerbate or create new uncertainties for others. Not least considering the interrelationship between energy, environment and economic development. As well as the links between energy and geopolitics. Global producer-consumer dialogue acquires increasing importance as nations revisit and modify established policies, and shape new ones, in their quest for energy security.

G8 Summit support

At the very top, in the very first operative paragraph, of their St. Petersburg Plan of Action for Global Energy Security, the Heads of Government invited the International Energy Forum to study ways of broadening the dialogue between energy producing and energy consuming countries on increasing transparency, predictability and stability of global energy markets including information exchange on medium- and long-term policy plans and programmes. 

In the second operative paragraph of the G8 Plan of Action, Heads of Government welcomed the implementation of the Joint Oil Data Initiative - an IEF Secretariat flagship activity. They pledged to take further action to improve and enhance the collection and reporting of market data on oil and other energy sources by all countries including through development of a global standard for reporting reserves. They invited the IEF to work on the expansion of JODI membership and to continue to improve the quality and timeliness of data. 

We are greatly encouraged by, and eager to respond to, the G8 invitations within the framework of our overall activity to strengthen and deepen an on-going global dialogue on energy. 

Heightened Energy Consciousness

There is political consensus that 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. The political challenge lies in operationalizing this energy imperative in a fair and sustainable way. Through national policies as well as in bilateral, regional and wider global co-operation. 

In the coming years, producer-consumer dialogue and relations will evolve against a complex backdrop, some catchwords of which are that: 

- Fossil fuels remain paramount for quite some time with increasing attention to development of alternatives.

- Increasing energy demand, efficiency and trade.

- Increasing competition for energy resources and among energy resources. 

- Resource nationalism. Nations wanting to make the most of their endowment.

- Energy interdependence or energy independence for energy security? 

- Environmental concern. Catastrophe or environmentally benign technological breakthroughs to save us?

- Vulnerability of energy production and supply to politically motivated attack, technical mishap and forces of nature.

- Call for good governance and transparency. 

- Energy a 'Public Good'. People expect their Governments to provide sufficient, reliable and affordable energy.

- Demands for equitable access to energy for the quarter of the world's population who do not have it, but who want it and need it for a better life tomorrow.

- The shift to Asia of global economic gravity with geopolitical and energy implications.

- Increasing awareness of long-term communality of interests among producers and consumers in a globalizing world.

Shared responsibility

At the 10th IEF Ministerial, Ministers of more than fifty energy exporting and importing countries discussed issues of global energy security as a 'shared responsibility', some focusing on security of supply, others on security of demand. Recognizing the importance of interacting with industry itself, Ministers also met with CEOs of major international and national oil companies in the 2nd International Energy Business Forum preceding their internal discussions. 

IEF Ministers noted that world economic growth had remained strong despite increasing oil prices and market volatility. They expressed, however, concern over the effects of sustained high price levels on the world economy, especially on developing countries. They attributed the higher oil prices to a number of factors, including increasing demand, tight up- and down- stream capacities, intervention of non-industrial actors and geo-political developments, which have increased anxiety in the market. 

Ministers confirmed their shared interest in reduced market volatility and prices at reasonable levels for both consumers and producers. They noted increasing producer and consumer interdependencies in energy. They called for a stepping up of investments across the energy chain to meet the substantial increase in demand required for global economic growth and social development in the years ahead.

As the world will continue to rely strongly on ample supplies of fossil fuels, Ministers underlined the need to accelerate the development of cleaner fossil fuel technologies. They underlined the need to develop alternative sources of energy as well. And to increase energy efficiency. 

Ministers emphasized how crucial it is for the long-term energy security of both consumers and producers to improve access to markets, resources, technology and financial services. Bolstered by fair and transparent economic, fiscal and legal regulatory frameworks, and by good governance. 

Transparency and data

They underlined the importance of transparency and exchange of data for market predictability and the investments required to enhance energy security. They reaffirmed their support to the Joint Oil Data Initiative, which the IEF Secretariat is coordinating, with the support of the IEA and OPEC, APEC, Eurostat, OLADE and UN. The JODI World Database, released to the public last year, carries data on oil production, demand and stocks from more than 90 countries covering more than 90% of global production and demand. Some Ministers called for JODI to be expanded to include also data for natural gas and other sources of energy that are important in the world energy mix. 

May I welcome the Energy Charter and OSCE Secretariats to attend the 6th Annual JODI Conference that the IEF Secretariat will host in Riyadh on 25-26 November this year in co-operation with the IEA and our other JODI partners. Where progress so far will be reviewed and the way forward discussed. Co-ordination of JODI is our unique contribution to the political call for the better data and increasing transparency that will strengthen producer-consumer relations in the years ahead. 

The shared perspectives and concerns expressed by Ministers in their informal Doha discussions provide a 'Road Map' for Secretariat activity towards our next full Ministerial that Italy will host in 2008 supported by India and Mexico as co-hosting countries. We would like to extend our contacts and co-operation with the Energy Charter, IEA and OSCE Secretariats in pursuing common objectives for global energy security. Our activities are mutually reinforcing. 

Global Energy Policy Interrelationship

The international political spotlight is now on energy security perhaps more comprehensively than ever before. Everyone has something to say. Producer-consumer dialogue among energy ministers, as confirmed by the Doha Ministerial, has reached new levels of mutual understanding and awareness of the need to co-operate. Also Prime Ministers, Finance Ministers, Foreign Ministers, Environment, Development and Trade Ministers are adding their perspectives to the global energy dialogue. Nor are other stakeholders silent - financial institutions, other international organizations than energy organizations, NGOs, not least those dealing with environment and development, and the energy consuming public at large. Core to all this is a competent energy industry with its technology, capital and human resources doing the actual work, supplying society with much-needed energy. 

The quest for sustainable global energy security is being highlighted by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development this year and next in its wider global and long-term perspective. Because of the importance of energy for meeting the Millennium Development Goals. 

As national and global focus now is being put on issues of energy security, bilateral, regional and inter-regional energy co-operation is also being strengthened 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. The IEF Secretariat is interacting with several important regional and inter-regional endeavours, not least the process of Roundtables of Asian Energy Ministers initiated by India last year.

An increasingly co-operative new energy era calls for a wider framework for producer-consumer dialogue. A Global Energy Policy Interrelationship embracing a confidence-building network of international dialogue and co-operation between governments on bilateral, regional and global level. In which international organisations and financial institutions as well as industry itself and other stakeholders have their integrated roles to play in promoting global energy security. And here there should be interesting scope also for energy organisations to get together and make their unique contributions in a concerted overall endeavour as nations and groups of nations draw up and implement strategies for energy security.

Uniquely poised

The International Energy Forum is uniquely poised to be a focal point for such a co-operative network. Because it gathers under one global umbrella, Ministers not only of the industrialized energy consuming nations of the IEA and Ministers of the petroleum exporting countries of OPEC. It gathers very importantly also Ministers of key countries that are not members of those organizations. Such as Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and others that increasingly will influence not only the global energy scenario, but the global economic and political scenario as well.

The producer-consumer dialogue among Ministers in the IEF is informal and frank. It transcends traditional political, economic and energy policy dividing lines. In a multi-polar energy world of increasing interdependencies. Ministers voice their national interests and perspectives in the wider context of seeking consensus-oriented approaches to global energy challenges ahead.