New IEA chief faces great challenges

Chief economist of the International Energy Agency Fatih Birol is to officially succeed Maria Van Der Hoeven on Tuesday.

The Turkish economist faces challenges in maintaining organisation morale and in challenging key interests to develop appropriate strategies ahead of Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris.
Although speaking for big oil-consuming countries, the IEA finds member the United States once again a leading producer and replacing OPEC as a dominant force on world markets.

And major energy consumers China and India are not even members, presenting a headache for the Paris-based IEA's prized role as the leading forecaster and data repository for opaque energy markets.

Birol also has to convince the oil and gas community, traditionally central to the IEA, to shift towards lower carbon fuels as United Nations' talks, at COP21, on a new climate deal will take place in Paris at the end of this year.

"COP-21 must send a strong signal to investors to not lock in our energy system to a high-carbon future," Birol said in an email.


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