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IEA prepares for oil supply disruption scenarios

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The International Energy Agency (IEA) completed its latest biennial Emergency Response Exercise (RER) on 18 November, as delegates from member and 10 non-member countries in Paris practiced and improved skills for responding to energy supply disruptions.

This seventh ERE focused on how member and non-member countries can cooperate during significant disruptions to oil supplies, building on lessons learned at the previous ERE in 2012. Participants from the key partner countries China, India, Indonesia and South Africa as well as other non-member countries from three continents works alongside government and industry in the 29 IEA countries to examine how best to resolve potential supply interruptions. The process included simulations of responses to three hypothetical emergencies.

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven noted that today many non-OECD countries are as vulnerable to oil shocks as IEA members. “It is in this context that this is the fourth ERE in which we have participants from both member and partner countries working together to find solutions”, she said.

Keisuke Sadamori, IEA Director of Energy Markets and Security, said the exercise constituted “two very interesting and productive days of discussions” that, besides deepening potential cooperation between member and non-member countries, had helped participants better assess disruptions and further familiarize themselves with the IEA emergency response tools.

EREs are capstones in the continuous testing and training necessary for effective use of IEA emergency response during an oil supply disruption. All IEA member countries that are net oil importers must stockpile at least 90 days worth of the previous year’s imports. But many hold far more, with reserves this year equaling approximately 220 days of their own net imports (equivalent to 44 days of total global consumption).

The IEA last coordinated a release from member countries’ emergency stocks in 2011, when civil war disrupted Libyan production. While the ERE addressed short term action in the even of oil supply disruption, the IEA’s wider work considers both short and long term energy security for all forms of energy.

Adapted from a press release by Emma McAleavey.

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