'G-20 summit to discuss energy security'

 
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Canberra, Nov 12: The Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers will discuss ways to ensure energy and resource security in light of strong demand from China and India, Australian Treasurer Peter Costello said today.

Costello will host the G-20 summit in Melbourne on November 18 and 19, with finance ministers and central bankers from the world's biggest economies, including China and India, the United States, Japan and Britain.

Costello said the meeting would bring major oil producing nations Saudi Arabia and Russia together with major customers, including China and India, which are experiencing growing demand for energy and resources.

''How does the world satisfy those economies that there will be continuity of supply at realistic prices, with no need to lock up supplies, without cartel activity which would rig those international markets?'' Costello told Australian television.

''If we can get an agreement on adequate supply, adequate security, proper international pricing, then I think we can actually ensure that what could otherwise become jostling and instability over resources over the next couple of decades will be taken out of the system.'' The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics predicts continued strong demand for oil in China, with crude oil consumption forecast to increase 6.5 per cent in 2006 and to rise a further 5.5 per cent in 2007.

Resources demand from India has also increased due to strong economic growth, forecast at 8 per cent in the financial year to the end of March 2007 after hitting 8.4 per cent in 2005/06.

Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, will be under tight security for the two-day G-20 meeting, and organisers hope to head off any disruption caused by protesters.

But Costello said he could not understand why anyone would protest against the G-20 meeting, which was a summit which included representatives from developed and developing nations.

''If you are concerned about aid, and poverty, and the developing world, this is a summit you should be protesting for,'' Costello said.

Reuters

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