G8 commits to ‘open and transparent’ energy markets

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Leaders of the world’s top industrialised nations have expressed their support for open and transparent energy markets at a week-end summit overshadowed by Middle East violence and rising oil prices.

Leaders of the United States, Russia, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada have adopted a joint statement on global energy security on 16 July at the end of a two-day meeting in St Petersburg.

The leaders said they recognised the “shared interest of energy producing and consuming countries” and committed to “open, transparent […] and competitive energy markets” as key to global energy security. The agreement is seen as a further step by Russia towards ratifying the Energy Charter, which enshrines these principles into law.

But the continued violence in the Middle East overshadowed the talks on global energy security as oil prices rose towards $78 a barrel on Asian markets. The final statement recognised that more efforts needed to be made to reduce consumption in the transportation sector which is responsible for 2/3 of the world’s oil use. It included energy efficiency measures as well as the development of alternative fuels, including hydrogen.

The summit agreed on a seven-point Plan of Action in the following areas: 

  • increasing transparency, predictability and stability of global energy markets;
  • improving the investment climate in the energy sector; 
  • enhancing energy efficiency and energy saving; 
  • diversifying energy mix;
  • ensuring physical security of critical energy infrastructure;
  • reducing energy poverty;
  • addressing climate change and sustainable development.

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