Thai Prime Minister Meets with the International Energy Agency to Discuss the Energy Situation and Future Co-Operation

(Paris) — 10 October 2005

IEA Deputy Executive Director, William C. Ramsay, today met with the Thai Prime Minister, Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra, to discuss the energy situation in Thailand and bilateral co-operation with the IEA.

Sustained high oil prices and their negative impacts on oil import dependent Asian economies, such as Thailand, made the oil market and energy security a priority for the discussion. Thailand is interested in the ameliorating role of strategic oil stocks and was eager to learn from the experiences of the recent IEA oil stock release to compensate for Hurricane Katrina losses.

Thailand is at the forefront of best practices for oil emergency preparedness and response systems amongst ASEAN (Southeast Asian) Member Countries. Thailand and the IEA are keen to continue the exchange of information and policy options developed in IEA Member Countries, and will look at a number of issues including ways that they can better exchange crucial information during future oil supply crises.

Prime Minister Thaksin reiterated his strong commitment to Thailand’s fiscal, economic, and social reform. The IEA congratulated Thailand on its rigorous reform of its energy sector and, in particular the recent elimination of its petroleum fuel subsidies. “Individual energy consumers are generally the best decision makers for conserving energy, but they have to know the full cost of their energy and their best options for using less. Subsidies shelter consumers from this information”.

The IEA and Thailand discussed Thailand’s energy efficiency and conservation programs, and Thailand’s strong regional initiative to establish alternative and renewable fuels programs, including a transport biofuels industry. Such an industry has the potential to reduce the economic cost of transport fuels and the vulnerability of their economy to oil prices.

Thailand has been an energetic partner over the past three years in ASEAN-IEA programmes at Ministerial and working levels. The IEA and Thailand look forward to developing stronger relations and collaboration.

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