§ Mr. Hannam
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will make a statement about the meeting of the governing board of the International Energy Agency at ministerial level which he attended in Paris on 8 May.
§ Mr. Lawson
The governing board of the International Energy Agency—IEA—met at ministerial level in Paris on Sunday 8 May under the chairmanship of Mr. William Birch of New Zealand. I represented the United Kingdom. Copies of the communiqué are available in the Libraries of both Houses.
Ministers considered the current position in the world oil market. They agreed that the easing of the oil market was a welcome development for the world economy. However, they expressed concern over the longer term possibility of renewed instability in energy and oil markets, with adverse effects on the world economy. They therefore reaffirmed their intention to pursue policies of oil substitution, energy conservation and energy research and development. The IEA will monitor developments in the oil market closely.
Ministers also considered energy requirements and security for the next two decades. They recognised the continued likelihood of heavy reliance on imported energy, particularly oil but also gas, and agreed on the need for balanced policies including the use of gas on an acceptably secure basis. OECD Ministers heard a report on these discussions by the chairman of the IEA meeting the following day.