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Enhancing Future Energy Security in ASEAN+3 Countries

Jakarta, 28 – 30 September 2020

The world economy has grown significantly in the last decade. This brings hundreds of millions of people to get out of poverty but also creates a new problem. To fuel economic growth, it requires steady energy supply and security to ensure availability. ASEAN+3 region has experienced surging energy demand and consumption. ASEAN Member States (AMS) in collaboration with China, Japan, and South Korea (+3 countries) have worked together to enhance energy security to cope with the future demand, especially with the changing landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cooperation between the countries was shown in the conduct of ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, Korea) Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (SOME+3) Energy Policy Governing Group (EPGG) Fora this year. To ensure energy security, post pandemic sustainable recovery plan from the COVID-19 impacts to energy sector is crucial, therefore it was a main discussion during the fora. The fora include virtual fora and workshop regarding the oil and gas market, oil stockpiling, and energy security. These series of meetings were hosted by the Ministry of Mines and Energy Cambodia and organized by ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE). Mr. Victor Jona, the Senior Energy Official (SEO) Leader of Cambodia, chaired the SOME+3 EPGG Fora.

9th Oil Market and Natural Gas Forum and Business Dialogue

The 9th Oil Market and Natural Gas Forum and Business Dialogue was organized virtually on Monday, 28 September 2020. This first of three events was participated by delegates from ASEAN+3 countries and the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE). This forum aimed to strengthen energy cooperation in the oil and gas sector between the AMS and the +3 countries.

Mr. Victor Jona opened the forum by highlighting the great importance of AMS, especially Cambodia, in strengthening the cooperation with ASEAN+3. Furthermore, Dr. Tran Hong Nam, the Secretary in Charge of ASCOPE, said involvement from public sectors and private oil and gas companies is the key to maintain energy supply and price. ACE as the secretariat also stated that the forum provided a good platform to effectively discuss the recent oil and gas trends, to enhance the communication and discussion among ASEAN national oil and gas companies, and to continue the sharing information on funding opportunities for oil and gas development activities in order to face the energy security challenges.

The key outcomes from this forum focused on the impact of Covid-19 to the oil and gas sector and the plans for sustainable recovery. These include the continuation of ASEAN+3 information sharing, explore cooperation on decarbonization technology, digitalization, and innovation in the oil and gas value chain, and enhance cooperation between government, financing institutions, and private sector.

8th ASEAN+3 Oil Stockpiling Road Map (OSRM) Workshop

The current energy demand is lower than in the previous years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, AMS still have the necessity to develop their oil stockpile for securing future energy needs. This development could become an integral part of economic recovery after the pandemic.

The 8th ASEAN+3 Oil Stockpiling Road Map (OSRM) workshop, which was held online on Tuesday, 29 September 2020, talked about the importance of oil stockpiling development. It also discussed the approaches AMS could undertake. This event was an annual workshop participated by delegates from the AMS and +3 countries, ASCOPE, and the representatives from Japan Oil, Gas, and Metal National Corporation (JOGMEC).

At the current stage, the practice of energy storage in the AMS was varied within the respective countries. This could be a problem, as the current oil stockpiling was still behind the IEA standard and considered costly. However, AMS have improved their stockpiling management by further improving policies and guidelines to enhance their Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) System.

Another step suggested during the workshop was to increase public-private partnerships that could accelerate oil stockpiling activities. In the near future, ASEAN+3 countries will deploy the collaborative programs in country needs research for the development of oils stockpiling according to the AMS individual needs. In addition, they will also provide more capacity building to enhance not only the knowledge but also to further work on comprehensive and integrated energy security policy.

17th ASEAN+3 Energy Security Forum (ESF)

The last event of the series, the 17th Energy Security Forum (ESF), was held again on Wednesday, 30 September 2020. Other than delegates from AMS+3 countries, the forum was also attended by representatives from ACE, ASCOPE, Institute of Energy Economics Japan (IEEJ), Korea Gas Safety (KGS), Japan Coal Energy Centre (JCOAL), and the Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Non-proliferation / Japan Atomic Energy Agency (ISCN/JAEA).

The forum began with the review of last year’s outcome and the directives of the 18th and 19th SOME+3, and the 16th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) +3 for ESF presented by ACE. After that, ACE and IEEJ explained about regional energy trends and impacts of Covid-19 in the energy sector in the ASEAN+3 countries. The next session continued with a presentation about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, not only in the oil refinery and exploration but also on the delaying of renewable energy development. Currently, of coal and oil still dominates the Total Primary Energy Supply. Meanwhile, the Total Final Energy Consumption is dominated by industry, transportation, and building.

Aside from the challenges, various opportunities arose as the recovery plans. These include energy priority adjustment such as import and subsidies and gradually transform the energy mix towards cleaner energy. The energy transition in ASEAN should not only focus on shifting from fossil fuel to renewables, but also to an affordable as well as cleaner energy options and technology. Under the Energy Security Forum Work Programme 2020 – 2021, the ASEAN+3 will continue to foster cooperation and collaboration on oil and gas, coal, nuclear, and energy safety management.

(BA/HF/RN)

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