IEA Executive Director meets Australian Prime Minister

SYDNEY -- Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney on Friday as part of an official visit to Australia.

Prime Minister Turnbull and Dr Birol discussed Australia's domestic energy situation and its options to ensure affordable, reliable and secure energy as it works towards its commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions under the Paris climate change treaty.

Their talks also covered prospects for different energy technologies, including carbon capture and storage, the role Australia is playing as a major energy exporter, particularly in Asia, and recent progress on the IEA’s modernization.

During his visit to Australia, Dr Birol also met earlier with Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, in Canberra. Their meeting focused on available options to manage the new electricity security challenges Australia is facing, including by implementing best-practices from countries in other parts of the world. This topic built on the contribution that the IEA is making to Australia’s National Electricity Market Security Review that was set up following the blackout in South Australia in 2016. 

Dr Birol and Minister Frydenberg speaking to media (Photograph: IEA)

‌Dr Birol and Minister Frydenberg also shared views on the implications for Australia of recent developments in oil, gas and coal markets. Minister Frydenberg stressed Australia's full commitment for the IEA's “open doors” policy to deepen engagement with the major emerging economies. 

While in Australia, Dr Birol also opened the 5th IEA Unconventional Gas Forum, held in Brisbane. The event included the participation of the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator Matt Canavan. The Unconventional Gas Forum was set up by the IEA to share insights on operational best practices and regulatory action towards securing the economic, security and other benefits of increasing unconventional gas output while addressing the legitimate public concerns about the associated environmental and social impacts.