ANTONIO DEL ROSARIO
OPENING OF WORLD ENERGY CONGRESS
The Right Honourable Prime Minister John Howard, Excellencies from the diplomatic corps, Ministers, Dignitaries and colleagues from the global energy community, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am very glad, as Chair of the World Energy Council, to extend a very warm welcome to all of you, especially those who have come to Sydney from far away to participate in this, the 19 th World Energy Congress.
Energy sustainability in all three of its dimensions – accessibility, availability and acceptability – is one of the critical issues facing humanity today.
Although not the only one, along with water, health, agriculture, and bio-diversity, energy was clearly recognized as indispensable to the attainment of economic and social development at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Delivering energy sustainability will call for the solution of formidable challenges but also offers the promise of many opportunities.
Australia is a developed country with many neighbors, which are still at a developing state in their economies. It is also among the first and more successful of those, which have liberalized and privatized their electric power industry. You will thus have a first hand opportunity to learn of the challenges, opportunities and lessons learned here and to compare these with the global framework of WEC’s studies which are an important part of the Congress Programme. The sessions, with speakers from across the globe, will cover these and a comprehensive range of topics. These will be supported by a world class exhibition displaying state of the art technology.
It is therefore particularly relevant and I am especially proud, that this Congress is being held in the Austral-Asian region. All developing countries have a stake in energy sustainability, but in the Asian region especially, large populations aspiring to greater prosperity will strongly test our ability to deliver energy sustainability. Collectively, we will need to distill all available wisdom on the policies, market structures, pricing arrangements and technologies that can lead us to our goals. These issues are also the ones, which pre-occupy industrialized countries. We have a common interest, in this context, to work together to ensure linking energy resources to energy markets.
In the span of less than four years, the price of oil has dropped to $10.00 per barrel and risen to the previously unseen heights of almost $50.00 per barrel. No matter how imperfect, the markets are reminding us of the need to anticipate the future sooner and to make our markets work better. It is on occasions like these that we appreciate the relevance of WEC’s work on what drives energy demand and its parallel study on energy market reform, which will be discussed during this Congress.
Energy security issues have predictably come to the fore in the wake of higher energy prices. How do we address them to ensure our availability goals including the adequacy, reliability, and quality of supply? The standard response in the past of many countries to energy security challenges has been to diversify energy by source and type and to embark on energy conservation programmes.
Australia has a partnership model with Japan on coal supply that has been in effect for many years and stood the test of time. In like manner, natural gas as LNG will soon become available for the rapidly growing energy needs of China. These examples of regional energy integration are finding echoes in ASEAN’s plans for a natural gas grid and an electricity network. In addressing the barriers to their realization, ASEAN is laying down the foundation for mutual dependence and mutual trust that is the essence of long run energy security. Elsewhere in the world, perhaps other approaches may be necessary. There is wide diversity of energy resource endowments among countries and regions of the world. The World Energy Council recognizes this. For this reason, it subscribes to the necessity to "keep all energy options open" and, in the choice of these options, for all WEC Member countries to have the right to select what is appropriate for them in the light of their specific country, circumstances and priorities.
Over the next few days you will have a unique opportunity to listen to the world’s leading energy authorities. Our host, the Australian Organizing Committee for this Congress, has prepared a warm welcome for all of us and we thank them for their hard work. As you can see from the presence here of his Excellency the Prime Minister John Howard, they are strongly supported by the Australian Federal and State governments and Australia’s national energy industry.
I am certain you will find the next few days highly informative and trust you will not miss the opportunity before you return home, to explore Sydney, without doubt, one of the loveliest cities in the world.
Thank you very much.
Welcome Address - Antonio del Rosario ( PDF File, 60KB)
Welcome Address - Antonio del Rosario (ES) ( PDF File, 15KB)