IEA holds first-ever Emergency Response Exercise in China

15 January 2015

IEA Director of Energy Markets and Security Keisuke Sadamori (left) and IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven at the Emergency Response Exercise in Ningbo, China.

More than 70 participants gathered this week in the Chinese port city of Ningbo to engage in simulated oil supply disruptions as part of an Emergency Response Exercise (ERE) – the International Energy Agency’s version of a fire drill.

The IEA and its members regularly conduct such preparedness exercises at its headquarters in Paris. But this week’s event marked the first time the IEA has run an ERE in China, the world’s largest oil importer.

Energy security has been at the heart of the mission of the IEA since its inception in 1974. The ability to respond collectively in the case of a serious oil supply disruption with short-term emergency response measures remains one of the core priorities of the agency and its 29 members.

“In an oil supply disruption, the effectiveness of any response hinges on the level of preparedness by all concerned,” said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven, who took part in the drill. “That is why exercises like this are so crucial: they enhance the ability to respond while also imparting valuable knowledge to all participants.”

The two-day exercise drew participants from 13 countries, including representatives of Chinese government and industry. During the event, the IEA stressed the importance of transparency, advance planning, and the need for international cooperation and co-ordination in oil supply emergencies.

The exercise began with a training session in which participants were briefed on IEA emergency response procedures during a supply crisis. Following the training session, participants worked together to develop strategies to respond to a pair of hypothetical supply disruption scenarios.

The exercise was supported by the United Kingdom and BP China.

For more information on how the IEA responds to major disruptions in the supply of oil, click here.