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'Working with China, India is key'

Japan's Nobuo Tanaka, the next IEA chief, says his challenges would include working with non-member countries.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2006 18:01 IST

Japan's Nobuo Tanaka, set to become the next head of the International Energy Agency, said on Monday his challenges would include working closely with non-IEA-member countries such as China and India about the use of emergency crude oil stocks.

"Due to recent economic developments, non-member countries such as India and China are emerging as big consumers," Tanaka told a news conference in Tokyo. "Releasing reserves would cool the market, but without the cooperation of those countries, it would be hard to make emergency measures meaningful."

Member countries of IEA are obligated to hold 90 days' supply of oil in stock as emergency reserves.

He said China understands that the release of its oil stocks alone would not have an impact on the market, so the IEA and China need to coordinate a framework for emergency situations.

Tanaka's comments came after the IEA said in November that China's new strategic oil reserves should only be used in the case of real supply disruptions and not for market purposes.

Western officials at the time expressed worries that China might use its emergency stocks more readily than the industrialised members of the IEA, gatekeeper of 1.5 billion barrels of government stocks in Europe, Japan and the Americas. The IEA has only co-ordinated a global release twice in its 32-year history. Tanaka said he would also like to foster discussions on energy security and energy conservation, while developing alternative energy.

He added that IEA's challenge would be to help foster much-needed investment in oil production.

Tanaka, who is currently director for science, technology and industry at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, will take up the post of IEA executive director, currently held by Claude Mandil of France, on Sept 1, 2007.