Online, 16 August 2021
COVID-19 pandemic has brought considerable impact to all sectors, including in the oil and gas industry, such as the declining global demand and production and the depleting reserves. Despite the effects of the pandemic, oil and natural gas will continue to play a critical role in the ASEAN’s energy landscape, particularly in ensuring energy security, and it is expected to reach about 37% and 22% share of total primary energy supply in 2040, respectively.
On 16 August 2021, the officials from the ASEAN Plus Three (China, Japan, Korea) convened virtually in the 10th ASEAN+3 Oil Market and Natural Gas Forum and Business Dialogue (OMNGFBD), hosted by the Ministry of Energy Brunei Darussalam, to discuss the oil and gas market development and recovery plans from the impact of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the strategies to facilitate the energy transition towards low carbon and sustainable energy future.
“In this fast-changing and unpredictable world, seeking greater stability, more predictability and enhancing transparency in the oil and natural gas business is crucial. This forum and business dialogue is a key milestone of continuing drive to achieve the long-term energy security objectives and energy transition in the region” – Mr Pengiran Haji Jamra Weira Pengiran Haji Petra, the Deputy Permanent Secretary and Senior Officials on Energy (SOE) Leader of Brunei Darussalam.
As one of the recovery strategies and ensuring a stable and secure energy supply, the government of the ASEAN Member States (AMS) are keen to continue to expand their oil and gas sector, where various bidding rounds for exploration and production were opened and also various oil and gas infrastructure projects were identified such as LNG terminal, Small-Scale LNG (SSLNG), and LNG-to-Power. For instance, last year, Myanmar began operating its first LNG import terminal using SSLNG vessels to deliver the LNG cargo to Thilawa port.
“With valuable information sharing on policy, best practices, experiences, new and emerging technologies in oil and gas exploration, production, and development, ASCOPE expects this collaboration among ASEAN+3 would be a way forward to overcome challenges encountered by the regional oil and gas industry”, – Dr Tran Hong Nam, Secretary in Charge, ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE)
With multiple infrastructure projects are in the pipeline, the importance of a transparent and stable legal and regulatory framework was highlighted during the Forum as the key elements to attract investment in the oil and gas sector. Various measures were implemented by the AMS, such as legal and regulatory framework reform, streaming regulatory procedures, technical standards and safety regulation improvements, price control mechanism and other related measures.
In supporting the transition towards a low-carbon economy, various oil and gas companies, globally and regionally, are intensifying the decarbonisation efforts through diversifying the business into carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), hydrogen and ammonia, or renewable energy. In ASEAN, Petronas of Malaysia has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, while the PTT of Thailand is targeting to reduce carbon emissions by 27% by 2030 through various sustainability initiatives.
Enhanced partnership and international cooperation would be crucial in accelerating energy transition and strengthening energy resilience. During the Forum also, Japan offers their support in accelerating the energy transition in the region through the Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI). The AETI focuses on financial assistance and capacity building programme for LNG supply chain development, technical support for hydrogen and ammonia production, and Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) projects.
“I hope this discussion will contribute to the ASEAN natural gas market and business. Japan would like to make the strategic partnerships stronger, more, and more” – the Co-chair of the 10th OMNGFBD, Mr SHIMOKYODA Takashi, Deputy Director, International Affairs Division, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE), Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), Japan.
Moving forward, capability-building programmes through knowledge sharing between ASEAN+3 countries should be conducted continuously along with more concrete and tangible collaboration initiatives in the oil and gas sector.
“The sharing of information in the oil and gas sector, as well as the guidance and support presented throughout the meeting, would be the first step in more concrete, tangible, and practical cooperation in the sector within the ASEAN+3 region” – the 10th OMNGFBD Chair, Mr Izma Rahem Zukhairri Abdul Zani, Head, International Affairs Division, Ministry of Energy, Brunei Darussalam.
By Tyari Octhalya Tadzmara