28 February, 2007
The need for immediate action on energy policy issues and measures taken by the Greek government toward this direction were pointed out by Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas in his keynote address in the 2nd International Energy Summit organised by the Economist at the Athens resort of Vouliagmeni.
Sioufas stressed in a speech kicking off the two-day summit that the changes to the global climate were a clear warning that should not be ignored by any economic sector.
Apart from ensuring adequate energy supply, alternative forms of energy and energy conservation should be seriously considered, he warned.
The minister pointed out that, in the past three years, the government’s main energy policy axes were the creation of a modern and integrated domestic energy market and the country’s active participation in international energy networks while supporting wide-scale EU initiatives.
Sioufas referred specifically to the construction of the Greek-Turkish natural gas pipeline launched in July 2005 and expected to be completed in June 2007 and to the agreement for the construction of the Greek-Italian natural gas pipeline.
He said that the entire project is of major importance for Europe, being the first natural gas corridor from the region of the Caspian Sea and the Middle East to the major energy consumption centers of Western Europe.
Sioufas also referred to the planned Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, cooperation on energy issues with Egypt, Albania and the Arab world and multilateral cooperation within the framework of the SE Europe Energy Community.
Christos Papoutsis, responsible for development and shipping issues in the main opposition PASOK party, pointed out in his address to the conference that energy undoubtedly constitutes the basis for the global economy and growth leading to social prosperity. Papoutsis stressed the importance of renewable sources of energy and the rational use of energy resources.
He also highlighted the role Greece can play in energy issues based on the fact that it has the strongest economy in south-eastern Europe, extensive experience in the energy sector and, more importantly, the largest merchant fleet in the world.
Global cooperation guaranteeing energy supplies is imperative, International Energy Agency Executive Director Claude Mandil stressed during his address at the 2nd International Energy Summit, organised by the Economist group in the Athens seaside resort of Vouliagmeni on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mandil also referred to the need for cooperation between energy suppliers and consumers, pointing out that energy should be used in a better and more effective manner. He also referred to the environmental protection aspect, stating that global warming is a reality and, therefore, it should be taken under consideration in all energy policies.
According to Mandil, the main "players" in the energy field in the next 20 years will be countries outside the OECD, like China.
Fabrizio Barbaso, deputy director general of DG Energy & Transport in the European Commission, said the EU is trying to increase energy awareness among its partners and at the same time is interested in securing energy supplies given that energy dependence will increase in the following years according to the International Energy Agency forecasts.
Barbaso pointed out the need for coordinated policy based on five axes namely, solidarity between energy producing and energy consuming countries, well-balanced domestic markets, renewable energy sources, energy research and technology and improved foreign relations functioning as tools of cooperation, stability and peace.
On his part, Mikhail Savva, the head international cooperation on energy and transport at the Russian ministry of foreign affairs' department of economic cooperation, detailed Russia's energy prospects, pointing out that in the future Russia and Iran will be the largest natural gas producers in the world.
He stressed that the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline project is a priority for the Russian government and will guarantee energy supplies to the EU while, at the same time, it will reduce the risk of a maritime accident involving tankers carrying Russian crude to the Mediterranean via the Bosporus Straits.
Source: Athens News Agency