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Energy conference success – University of Reading

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Energy conference success

Release Date 17 June 2005

Professor Gordon Marsall, The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, Mr Finian O'Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Burrne Energy plc, Professor Alex Kemp, The University of Aberdeen, Mr Brian Lavers CBE, Chaiman of the Burrne Energy plc, Dr YeThe Centre for Euro-Asian Studies and Burren Energy plc recently held a conference – 'Hydrocarbon Wealth and Development in Resource Rich Economies' – at the University of Reading. More than 70 delegates attended the event, and among the participants were representatives of international organisations, such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the World Bank. Other participants included members of the diplomatic corps (H.E. Rafael Ibrahimov, Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the UK, Mr Ayan Yernov, the first secretary of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the UK, Mr Arun Kumar Sahu, first Secretary, High Commission of India), representatives of the oil majors (BP and Shell), as well as other petroleum-related businesses, including Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd and Nelson Resources. The conference highlighted that while the oil and gas industries provide significant opportunities for resource rich economies, at the same time, they bring substantial risks that need to be managed and mitigated by governments, investors, and communities. The depleting nature of oil and gas resources make it particularly important that government economic policies ensure that the benefits of resource exploitation contribute to the development of the human, social, and physical capital needed for sustainable development. However, several speakers pointed out that in the absence of good governance – transparency, compliance with the rule of law and so forth – such policies will not be implemented. Indeed, in certain cases, neither investment nor oil revenues have been able to guarantee economic growth or poverty reduction. Thus, the presence of major oil and gas industries has been associated with a variety of negative social and environmental outcomes. As Rt Hon The Lord Fraser of Carmyllie QC stressed: "The management of oil revenues, which are volatile, unpredictable, and ultimately exhaustible, offers important opportunities but can also greatly complicate economic policy-making." Brian A. Lavers CBE, the Chairman of Burren Energy, said that the western oil industry has an important role to play in optimising hydrocarbon developments through capital investment and technology transfer. The sensitivity of host countries to foreign development of finite natural resources is an issue, especially in Russia where there is great pride in the indigenous industry. The main conclusion of the conference with regards to resource rich economies was as follows: we are all judged by our actions, not statements of good intent. The oil industry and other relevant actors need to be clear in their roles and not make promises that cannot be delivered. At the same time, we have to continually improve what is 'best practice'. With this conference – sponsored by Burren and supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – the nature of 'best practice' in the hydrocarbon industry was subjected to fruitful scrutiny. Finian O'Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer at Burren Energy, said: "At Burren we regard the Centre for Euro-Asian Studies as a quality centre of academic excellence and expertise. We find a lot of synergy in working together and we are confident this will continue in future." Yelena Kalyuzhnova, Director of the Centre for Euro-Asian Studies, added: "Burren brings a hard practical core to our partnership and gives us the possibility to take academic thought to the real world." End

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