[BEIJING] The International Energy Agency (IEA) has picked a Chinese official as a special advisor to the IEA head, a first for a Chinese official, as the world's top energy consumer steps up cooperation with the energy watchdog for the developed nations.
Yang Lei, the deputy head of the oil and gas division of National Energy Administration (NEA), told Reuters that he will start a two-year assignment in the coming weeks based in Paris to work with IEA executive director Fatih Birol.
The appointment came after China and the IEA agreed to launch an energy cooperation centre in Beijing that was announced by Mr Birol in March and Mr Yang said his first main job would be to facilitate the establishment of this centre.
Mr Birol has said the centre would serve as an umbrella for a wide range of bilateral programmes with a focus on data transparency, energy efficiency and clean energy technology.
The cooperation between China and the IEA has stepped up under Nur Bekri, the head of the NEA, who was the first top Chinese energy official to attend an IEA meeting in November.
The Chinese government made its first announcement on the size of its strategic petroleum reserves in November 2014, and updated the information last December, in an apparent move to add transparency in its previously cautiously guarded oil data.
Mr Yang, who holds a doctorate in petroleum geology, joined in 2002 the oil and gas planning and policy office at National Development & Reform Commission, the country's economic planner that supervises NEA.