Leading industry executives convene for two days of IEA Energy Business Council talks

28 February 2011

More than 30 CEOs and other senior executives from the energy industry – representing global energy companies, fossil fuel, nuclear and renewables sectors, and large energy-consuming organisations – gathered in Paris to meet with the International Energy Agency’s Governing Board and senior IEA officials on 23-24 February.

The purpose of this meeting, which took place at the IEA headquarters, was to share expertise on key energy topics, as well as to provide business views and inputs into IEA work, particularly the forthcoming World Energy Outlook 2011, which is the Agency’s flagship publication.

“Energy policies and markets move at such a rapid pace it is important for governments and businesses to keep in-check with each other,” said Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the IEA. “This gathering offers a truly unique opportunity for many of the world’s top experts to come together and share opinions and ideas on the latest key developments.”

Oil market implications of ongoing events in North Africa were also discussed at the meeting, as well as a forthcoming special report from the World Energy Outlook 2011, "A Golden Age for Natural Gas?" which examines the impact of recent developments in natural gas markets and technologies on the energy landscape and climate policies.

The senior executives at the meeting make up the IEA Energy Business Council (EBC), a group which was launched in March 2009 to ensure that the voice of the energy sector is heard in the energy policy debate.

Sharing expertise and experience

“The frank exchanges that go on at these meetings are invaluable,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, who oversees the EBC. “As well as providing a forum for the private sector and governments to share ideas and concerns, the insights resulting from the expertise and experience at these meetings are also incredibly useful for the IEA.”

This Council will convene twice a year with the following objectives:

  • Providing the IEA with a "reality check" of its analysis, ensuring the Agency’s main findings make sense from a business perspective
  • Establishing a forum for interactive discussions between ministers and industry leaders
  • Advising the IEA on how it can improve its communication with the business sector.

“The shared challenge governments and industry face is how to move towards a low-carbon economy while maintaining competitiveness in an increasingly complex world,” said Wim Thomas, Chief Energy Advisor at Shell International.

"Leading reference"

Mr. Thomas, who attended the two-day meeting, added: “The Energy Business Council is an excellent forum to share thinking with IEA’s policy advisors and government policy makers, as well as for contributing in shaping the emphasis in the next World Energy Outlook, which is a leading reference for industry and governments alike.”

Another attendee at the meeting was Carmen Becerril, Chair of Acciona Energia, who praised the EBC for offering a platform where private companies can share their perspectives on energy matters.

The EBC will next convene at the IEA Ministerial meeting on 18th October 2011. Ministers from IEA member countries, as well as from China, India and Russia, will be invited to take part in this meeting, along with chief executives from EBC members.

Companies and organisations which were represented at the EBC meeting, which took place this week in Paris, include: Acciona, Alstom Power, BMW, CEEP, Chevron, Edison, Enel, Eni, Eurelectric, Fortum, Iberdrola Engineering, Lafarge, Lotos Group Michelin, Novozymes, PEMEX, Petrobras, Repsol, RWE, RWE Innogy, Schlumberger, Sharp, Shell, Siemens, Statoil, Toshiba, Tokyo Electric Power Co., Toyota, Volkswagen and Westinghouse Electric.