Global Energy Security: IEF Perspectives
By Arne Walther
The following speech was given by Ambassador Walther, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), to the meeting of G-8 Energy Ministers in Moscow on 16 March.
You are meeting at a time of heightened global energy consciousness. Oil prices remain high and volatile amid other energy security concerns. The G-8 Presidency of the Russian Federation is putting priority political focus on energy security. At a time, when the Russian Federation, with her enormous energy resources, towers as a super producer, consumer and exporter of oil and gas. Stable and reliable Russian exports of oil and natural gas can serve as an increasingly important corner stone for future global energy security. I was happy to hear Minister of Foreign Affairs Lavrov confirm at the International Conference on Energy Security preceding this meeting of G-8 Energy Ministers that Russia has set itself the task of providing the world with energy resources on a reliable, long-term basis.
G-8 Heads of Government highlighted in their statement on the Global Economy and Oil at the Gleneagles Summit last year the important role played by the dialogue between oil-producing and oil-consuming countries in the IEF. They welcomed and expressed their support of the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI) managed by the IEF Secretariat for efforts to increase the transparency needed to reduce oil market volatility. It is my hope, Excellencies, that your meeting today will reconfirm that G8 Heads of Government support to the IEF and to JODI as a political boost to the 10th IEF Ministerial Meeting that will take place in Doha on 22-24 April.
You know as key participants that the IEF is a unique process of global dialogue on energy across traditional political, economic and energy policy dividing lines in an ever-more interdependent world. It gathers not only ministers of the industrialized energy-importing countries in the IEA and those of the petroleum-exporting countries of OPEC, but also ministers of the important countries outside these organizations. Countries such as Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and others that already have, and will increasingly have, impact on the global energy scenario.
The informal ministerial level dialogue in the IEF offers a venue for exchange and development of policy views and a global political umbrella for your efforts to promote national and global energy security as well as to address the links between energy, environment and economic development.
We know that the increase in global energy demand foreseen in the years ahead is substantial. Most of this increase will come in the developing countries as they industrialize and their economies grow. Production and consumption patterns, the energy mix as well as investment requirements will evolve according to differing national imperatives and in a changing geopolitical environment. And these national energy developments will influence that changing geopolitical climate. 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 its population. Indeed, energy security is a defining global issue of our time.
The challenge of global energy security is complex and truly multi-dimensional. It goes to the core of national interests. There is no quick and lasting fix. The cluster of issues related to energy security lends itself to on-going dialogue and co-operation not only among nations at your political level, bilaterally, regionally and globally, but also to dialogue and partnerships between governments and industry.
As we meet, President Putin is calling for the “establishment of a reliable and comprehensive system of energy security as a strategic goal for the G-8 and the world community as a whole”. The producer-consumer dialogue at political level in the IEF is uniquely placed to be a conducive vehicle for further and wider global discussion of how such a “reliable and comprehensive system of energy security” might be developed and what are to be its co-operative elements and modalities. G-8 focus on energy security and President Putin’s call fit hand-in-glove with the theme of the forthcoming IEF, which is “Energy Security – a Shared Responsibility”.
Doha Stepping Stone
We are looking forward to our host today Minister Khristenko and other G-8 Ministers bringing their group and individual national energy security perspectives to the Doha Ministerial, which will gather 60 countries and the major international energy organizations. I would invite you to consider making use of the Doha Ministerial and wider dialogue in the IEF as a global political stepping-stone, after your meeting today, as you further develop the G-8’s Strategy for Energy Security to be adopted at the Summit in St Petersburg this summer. In addition to plenary discussions, the Doha Ministerial allows ample time for informal and formal bilaterals. I am confident that the Doha stepping-stone will return valuable global and non-G-8 input to your endeavors.
The agenda for the Doha Ministerial is now in the process of being finalized. G-8 country representatives on the Executive Board of the Secretariat and in the Informal Support Group of countries have given Host Country Qatar, co-hosts China and Italy and the Secretariat valuable guidance.
The Doha meeting will offer Ministers an opportunity to reconfirm and deepen the shared perspectives on energy security from the Amsterdam Ministerial two years ago. Against the backdrop of energy security concerns of both producer and consumer countries – your industrialized country concerns and those of the developing countries – you will be invited to 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. This may include issues where ministers do not necessarily agree, but where new understandings may be developed and where national policy action can contribute to our common global energy security. The confidence built over 15 years of informal, political level dialogue in the IEF enables you to do so in a frank and co-operative spirit.
In that regard, those of you who attended the meeting of IEF Ministers on occasion of the inauguration of our headquarter premises in Riyadh in November last year will remember that colleagues 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 oil-consuming countries. Road-maps are not always easy to make, and even when made can sometimes prove difficult to follow. But what road-maps that are possible to chart for energy security could give some guidance for the investment decisions needed to secure adequate energy supplies. They could among things also indicate what need there would be to increase and adjust refining capacity as demand shifts to lighter oil products and the crude oil extracted becomes heavier.
Data And Transparency
G-8 and other IEF ministers have on repeated occasions expressed their firm commitment to improving transparency of oil data through the Joint Oil Data Initiative (JODI). They underscore that accurate and timely data are important for reducing energy market volatility and for promoting a more stable investment climate and energy security. The IEF Secretariat took on the co-ordination of the JODI in January 2005 with the full and active support of the IEA and OPEC, APEC, Eurostat, OLADE and the UNSD, the six international organizations that pioneered the initiative. The Secretariat is managing the JODI World Database that was released to the public by King 'Abd Allah of Saudi Arabia on occasion of the inauguration of our new headquarter premises in Riyadh in November last year. JODI is a flagship activity for the IEF Secretariat. It is promising work in progress.
More than 90 countries, representing 90% of global supply and demand, are now submitting data covering production, demand and stocks of seven product categories: crude oil, LPG, gasoline, kerosene, diesel oil, fuel oil and total oil. The submission of timely and accurate data by participating countries is crucial for the success of JODI.
As underscored by the G8 Heads of Government last July, “Reliable and timely data on supply, demand and stocks facilitate timely adjustment to shifts in supply and demand while contributing to more solidly based investment decisions”. And the importance of solidly based investment decisions for G-8 and global focus on long-term energy security cannot be underestimated.
In conclusion, Excellencies, let me welcome you to Doha to carry further your discussions of the important issue of global energy security. The global energy dialogue at the level of Ministers in the IEF provides also a meeting point for the mosaic of bilateral, regional and inter-regional energy ambition within the Global Energy Policy Interrelationship.