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Published: 15 November 2002


UNECE Committee on Sustainable Energy Roundtable Takes a New Look
at the Security of Energy Supplies in Light of Recent Events

Room XII, Palais des Nations, Geneva
10:30 a.m., 20 November 2002

In response to the new energy security concerns, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Sustainable Energy will host a Round Table on the Security of Energy Supply during its annual session on Wednesday 20 November beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Salle XII of the Palais des Nations. The aim of the Round Table is to review different approaches to security of energy supply in a market-based framework as well as in situations where government intervention or even international coordination may be needed. Panellists and delegates will be invited to share their views on the economic, environmental, financial and other trade-offs related to security of energy supply.

The panellists for the Round Table are: HE Mr. Alvaro Silva-Calderon, Secretary General, OPEC, Vienna; Mr. Robert C. McFarlane, former National Security Adviser to President Ronald Reagan, Chairman and CEO, Energy and Communication Solutions, New York; Mr. Cristobal Burgos Alonso, Head of Security of Energy Supply, European Commission, Brussels; Mr. Viktor Bryanskih, Deputy Board Member, Gazprom, Moscow; Mr. Togrul Bagirov, Executive Vice President, Moscow International Petroleum Club, Moscow, on behalf of Russian oil companies including Lukoil; Mr. Ged Davis, Vice-President, Global Business Environment, Shell International Limited, London; Mr. Benjamin Zycher, Senior Economist, RAND Corp, Santa Monica, California; and Mr. Helmut Warsch, Director, Framatom ANP, Erlangen.

While the Security Council seeks to resolve rising concerns about Iraq and the Middle East, energy security is emerging as a crucial issue for policy makers, energy industries and the general public. The attack on a French oil tanker near Yemen, terrorist acts in major oil producing countries, such as Indonesia and Russia, and the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington have contributed to a greater sense of vulnerability. These worries are heightened by company and policy failures such as the Enron bankruptcy and the Californian energy crisis.

Underlying these headlines are sober economic and strategic facts that call for greater attention to energy security by ECE member States. Energy import dependence is rising in the ECE region. At the same time, the cost of developing incremental sources of energy supplies is increasing. Supply routes are getting longer and are distinctly vulnerable to terrorist attack. The full implications of market liberalisation for energy security are unclear. Social and ethnic strife in a number of producing and transit countries are unresolved. In addition, the energy dependence of the European Union will increase after enlargement since most accession countries are net energy importers.

Within the United Nations, reconciling energy security, as noted in the Secretary-General's reform proposals, with sustainable energy development, as confirmed by the Johannesburg Summit, is both a striking policy challenge and opportunity. Decisions will have to be taken on a number of thorny energy policy issues, such as on the future role of coal and nuclear power, the subsidization of indigenous energy production, the provision of incentives for new fossil fuel exploration, the role of energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in meeting future energy needs and the pace and degree of introduction of additional environmental protection measures. These are some of the topics which will be discussed by the panel.

The Round Table will be followed by a press conference with selected speakers to be held in Salle III at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday 20 November.

For more information please contact:

Mr. Frederic Romig

Division for Sustainable Energy

United Nations Economic Commission
for Europe (UNECE)

Palais des Nations

CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41(0)22 917 24 10, 917 24 07

Fax: +41(0)22 917 02 27, 917 00 38

Mr. Sead Vilogorac

Division for Sustainable Energy

United Nations Economic Commission
for Europe (UNECE)

Palais des Nations

CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41(0)22 917 24 62

Fax: +41(0)22 917 00 38

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05