PARIS Nov 20 The International Energy Agency
and six emerging economies including China and India agreed to
pursue stronger cooperation, the IEA said on Wednesday in a bid
to strengthen ties with non-members whose share in global oil
demand has grown rapidly.
The initiative to form an "association" between the West's
energy watchdog, combining 28 developed economies, and
non-members is aimed at boosting ties on energy security, data
sharing and energy market analysis, the Paris-based group said.
China, the world's top energy consumer, India, Russia, South
Africa, Brazil and Indonesia have signed the joint declaration,
a non-legally binding agreement.
As oil demand growth has shifted from developed to emerging
countries over the past decade, the IEA has looked to
non-members to preserve its importance as an international
"Energy governance is an increasingly important element of
the global energy economy," Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA's
executive director said at a news conference following the
agency's biannual ministerial meeting in Paris.
"The changing energy economy requires extending our
strengths beyond our membership," she said.
Sources told Reuters earlier this year the initiative
included a proposal that non-member countries be allowed to sit
in meetings of the IEA governing board to jointly discuss issues
such as strategic stock releases in response to supply problems.
Asked if the new associated countries will be able to be
present at the stock releases meeting, the IEA director told
Reuters: "We are not that far, they will certainly be present at
a number of our standing committee meetings, next year in 2014
we are going to work out the details."
"But when there is a very serious disruption of supply,
there will certainly be consulting of other countries,
definitely," she said on the sidelines of the conference.
The IEA includes only members of the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development, but not all OECD members
are in the IEA. Estonia cleared the last hurdle on Wednesday to
become the agency's 29th member.
IEA members account for under half of the world's energy
consumption. China alone has jumped from accounting for under 5
percent of total global oil demand in 1994 to nearly 12 percent
In recent years, the accuracy of IEA data and forecasts,
published in closely watched monthly reports, has come under
internal and external scrutiny as the focus on oil demand
shifted away from IEA members.
While members of the developed economies regularly provide
data on energy imports and exports, non-members report on a
voluntary basis which often lacks transparency and accuracy.
"The availability of data is not always timely, not always
as accurate that we would like it to be. But it's not only for
China, it's for many other countries," Van der Hoeven said.
The shale gas revolution in the United States, which will
help the world's largest economy surpass Saudi as the top oil
producer in 2015, was also discussed at the IEA meeting.
Asked if ample shale gas reserves in the United States would
reduce the need for strategic oil stock reserves, the main
intervention tool of the IEA since its creation following the
1973 oil shock, Van der Hoeven said:
"They are completely two different things. What we expect is
that the United States will not only need the light, tight oil
but also the heavier oil, and that something they will still
need to import," she told Reuters.
(Reporting by Michel Rose; editing by David Evans)