Sharpening the response

29 November 2012

Some of the more than 80 Emergency Response Exercise participants. © OECD/IEA, 2012

The International Energy Agency just completed a three-day Emergency Response Exercise (ERE) to familiarise delegates from member and 15 non-member countries with key aspects of oil supply disruptions and emergency response measures. Among other issues, this sixth ERE was designed to improve participants’ understanding of how to assess supply disruptions and knowledge of IEA emergency response tools and their impact, as well as the potential for cooperation between IEA countries and key Partner countries.

The biennial event took place in Paris from 26 to 28 November and brought together more than 80 participants from around the globe. It was the third ERE in which delegates from non-member countries such as China, India, Indonesia and South Africa have worked alongside member country participants to discuss solutions to hypothetical global oil supply disruptions.

Keisuke Sadamori, IEA Director of Energy Markets and Security, emphasised in his concluding remarks that the oil market is global and that a supply disruption can no longer be considered someone else’s problem. He stressed that energy security is a shared responsibility, especially given the growing share of oil demand from non-OECD countries.

Emergency oil stocks held by IEA countries are a significant buffer against potential supply shortages, with stocks amounting to around 150 days of net imports, or some 4 billion barrels. But Mr. Sadamori noted that without continuous testing and training, having emergency measures is not sufficient to deal effectively with a disruption. EREs are a fundamental part of that improvement process. EREs also reinforce awareness that oil markets are global, and therefore supply disruptions affect all countries.