Asean energy ministers agree to enhance cooperation

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Thursday, September 13, 2012


PHNOM PENH -- The 30th Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting was wrapped up on Wednesday evening, agreeing to strengthen the bloc's efforts in addressing climate change and enhancing Asean energy cooperation towards a greener Asean energy sector and low-carbon economy, according to a joint statement released after the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by Cambodian Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Suy Sem and was participated by all Asean ministers on energy as well as Asean Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan, said the statement.

To build a green energy region, the role of clean energy technologies is vital. In this regard, the ministers welcomed the inclusion of a dedicated chapter on Asean in the International Energy Agency (IEA) publication "Energy Technology Perspectives 2012" as part of the Clean Technology Development project that Asean is pursuing with the IEA, it said.

In reviewing the region's energy situation, the ministers noted that as a result of measures to improve energy efficiency applied at both regional and national levels, Asean's energy intensity has been reduced by 4.97 percent between 2005 and 2009.

"This demonstrates that the region is on the right track towards achieving the target set in the Asean Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2010-2015 to reduce regional energy intensity by at least 8 percent from 2005 levels by 2015," the statement said.

However, the ministers were also fully aware of the tremendous challenges faced by the Asean energy sector, as the total final energy consumption of the region is projected to rise at an annual average growth rate of 4.4 percent from 375 Mtoe (metric ton of oil equivalent) in 2007 to 1,018 Mtoe in 2030.

They therefore reiterated their resolve to step up individual and collective efforts by Asean member states to ensure secure, stable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy supplies, so as to enable Asean to achieve the economic and social development goals of the Asean Community by 2015.

The ministers also acknowledged the significant impact that global gas developments, particularly shale gas developments in North America, would have on the Asean region.

They tasked the Senior Officials and the Asean Council on Petroleum (Ascope) to explore with the United States a specific platform where Asean could obtain information about shale gas developments and the U.S.' liquefied natural gas (LNG) export regulatory framework.

Speaking at the press conference after the meeting, Suy Sem said that the meeting also acknowledged the important role of coal for energy, but stressed that there is a must to use clean coal technologies to reduce the impacts on environment. "The ministers requested the Senior Officials to formulate regional cooperation in coal supply and trading, mutual assistance in emergency situations of coal supply in Asean member states," he said.

The ministers noted that energy cooperation between Asean and its dialogue partners had progressed further in the past year, and expressed their appreciation to the dialogue partners for the valuable assistance in supporting the implementation of the APAEC 2010-2015.

The APAEC 2010-2015 includes Asean Power Grid, Trans-Asean Gas Pipeline, Coal and Clean Coal Technology, Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Renewable Energy, Regional Energy Policy and Planning, and Civilian Nuclear Energy.

The ministers agreed to convene the 31st Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting and its Associated Meetings with Dialogue Partners in Indonesia in 2013.

Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (PNA)

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