The EU has voiced concerns about further price increases caused by oil-supply disruptions because of instability in oil-exporting nations such as Nigeria. OPEC told EU representatives that it is ensuring sufficient oil supplies, warning however that "shortages in skilled labour, equipment and services facing the oil industry, both upstream and downstream" are leading to "rapidly rising costs" that might continue "well into the future".
EU and OPEC appeared to find consensus on this issue. During a press conference after the meeting, Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs conceded: "More oil will not mitigate the gasoline prices."
Responding to OPEC concerns about decreasing demand in EU countries, in part because of EU commitments to cut emissions by 20% by 2020, Piebalgs promised OPEC greater transparency and information sharing through "forecast models and consumption patterns" on EU oil demand.
Both sides discussed and welcomed the role of renewables, but placed particular emphasis on biofuels and on non-renewable options such as clean coal and carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
On the issue of biofuels, Piebalgs assured OPEC that any EU biofuel subsidies would not create "disruptions" in the oil market.
A number of joint actions and events were agreed for the near future, including:
- A workshop on biofuels, including on the issue of bio-refineries, to be held in Brussels before the end of 2007 or early in 2008;
- "enhanced discussion" on CCS cooperation, with a roundtable in first quarter of 2008, and;
- discussions on an EU-OPEC Energy Technology Centre, with a report to be presented at the next ministerial meeting.
In June 2008, the fifth meeting of the EU-OPEC Energy Dialogue will be held in Brussels.