IEA Must Do More To Engage China, India

IEA members have higher oil stock commitments than China and India.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) must do more to engage heavyweight oil consumers China and India if it is to remain relevant, Nobuo Tanaka, its next executive director, said Jan. 5. "The first job for me is how we can really engage these non-members," in the agency's efforts to promote energy security, said Nobuo Tanaka, who becomes the IEA's first non-European head from September, replacing France's Claude Mandil.

The IEA's efforts to promote energy efficiency "will clearly be restricted without the involvement of China and India," added Tanaka, who is currently a director at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The IEA was created during the 1973-74 oil shock to act as energy policy advisor to members of the OECD, to which China and India do not belong. The 26 members of the IEA are committed to holding oil stocks equivalent to 90 days of net imports to cushion against supply shocks whereas China's stockpile program has a less ambitious target of 30 days, Tanaka noted.

Tanaka also called on Japan, a major energy-saving country, to share its knowledge with other consumers. "Japan can certainly contribute in this energy-efficiency because through the experience of two energy crises, Japan has established a very efficient economic system here," he said. Japan is heavily reliant on foreign energy and imports nearly all of its oil, mostly from the Middle East. Tokyo is also the second-largest financial contributor to the IEA following the United States.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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