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Energy forum addresses international oil security

Foreign delegates attend opening session of the 13th International Energy Forum in Kuwait. [Stringer/Reuters]

Foreign delegates attend opening session of the 13th International Energy Forum in Kuwait. [Stringer/Reuters]

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Oil ministers from 88 countries attended the 13th International Energy Forum in Kuwait, where they held discussions about the best means to achieve energy security for all nations.

The two-day event, "Global energy security through dialogue", concluded Wednesday (March 14th).

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait, said in the opening speech that the global oil industry is facing major challenges in the coming decades, especially in the face of price fluctuations and economic downturns.

He also addressed the need to secure international sea lanes and combat piracy and illegal infiltration, the need to increase co-operation to maintain the security of ports and harbours, and the need for massive investments to meet a growing demand for energy resources.

Kuwait "envisions using oil wealth to achieve sustainable development," he said. "The most important objective is to ensure a promising future for people to achieve human and economic development and nurture human resources while working to protect the environment and limit climate change by developing efficient, environment-friendly oil consumption technologies and working towards developing alternative energy."

At the forum, representatives from energy-consuming and -producing nations identified the issues that both sides need to address in the future, especially regarding energy recycling and the use of alternative energy, according to Nawal al-Fuzei, deputy minister for economic affairs at the Kuwaiti Oil Ministry.

She said the representatives did not seek to set a fixed oil price.

"There is no intention of unifying oil prices whose volatility is caused by events in international stock markets and fluctuations in currency rates that no entity has control over," al-Fuzei told Al-Shorfa.

"We will strive to reach appropriate price levels that are conducive to increasing production capacity so consumer prices for petroleum are at reasonable levels, even in the long term."

Mohammed al-Ramadan, chairman of the forum's executive board, made similar statements, saying there was no possibility of setting a fixed oil price during the sessions.

"Political circumstances in the Arab region are driving the price, be they revolutions or [conflicts] taking place in some countries that can drive up oil production and supply by the equivalent of $20 over the base price," he said.

Despite all these factors, prices remain affordable for everyone, he told Al-Shorfa.

"Even when the price of oil reaches $100 a barrel, producing and consuming countries are still able to obtain it without affecting the prices of consumer goods such as natural gas, gasoline and other oil derivatives," he said.

Bahrain's energy minister Abdul Hussein Mirza called for making energy resources obtainable by all countries.

"It is unimaginable in this day and age for states to not have access to energy resources, so it was incumbent upon us to discuss the means to deliver energy resources to all countries that need it in order for them to ensure stability," Mirza told Al-Shorfa.

He called for using modern technologies, possessed by a number of companies in various countries, to ensure access to energy resources.