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G-8 energy talks

May 25, 2009

Energy ministers from the Group of Eight industrial countries have urged their governments and the rest of the world to keep investing in new and cleaner energy sources, despite the global economic downturn.

A falling stock curve with wind turbines in the background
The economic crisis should not deter nations from investing in renewable energyImage: AP/DPA

Safeguarding energy resources to facilitate a global economic recovery was a key issue for ministers and officials attending talks in Rome. Concluding their two-day meeting on Monday, the G8 nations said governments and businesses must work to keep energy prices stable or risk hampering a recovery.

In a joint declaration, the G8 nations and 15 visiting delegations from emerging economies attending the conference called on investors to improve access to energy in poor countries and develop new technologies to reduce emissions that cause climate change.

"We urge governments and energy companies to adopt a long-term view in planning their investments in energy infrastructure," the ministers said in a closing statement.

Investment, regulation needed to stabilize energy market

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday that falling oil prices, tight credit markets and slumping demand had prompted oil producers to delay or scrap $170 billion worth of investments.

Saudi Arabia warned that oil prices could spike to beyond the near $150 record high of 2008 within three years, if there was not more investment to boost production over the long term.

Oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico
Aging oil rigs need fresh capitalImage: AP

In a speech distributed to the media, Roberto Poli, the CEO of Italian energy group ENI, said, "The persistence of high uncertainties related to oil prices up to $150 per barrel, or down to $30, could upset the entire energy system, blocking investments both in traditional and alternative sources."

In order to stabilize prices, Poli urged governments to institute more regulation of oil financial markets, which he called "opaque and uncontrollable."

The Group of Eight is looking for ways to ensure steady oil and gas supplies at reasonable prices, while allowing for moderate price increases to make it financially worthwhile for energy companies to explore for oil and gas deposits.

The energy meeting - which included the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Russia - will present a draft energy strategy to a G8 leaders' summit, scheduled for July in L'Aquila, Italy.


Editor: Susan Houlton