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ASEAN: A future Trading Hub for Natural Gas and LNG

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The ASEAN Energy Business Forum (AEBF) – a private sector conference held in conjunction with the annual ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM) – was held on September 27-29 at the SMX Convention Center. The conference allows for a meeting of minds between ASEAN Government Policy Makers and Key private sector players in order to achieve economic and social development, while promulgating energy efficiency and de-carbonization.

 

DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi opened the AEBF by saying “While renewables play a key role for the future, there is still a need for a stable source of energy – Natural Gas: The bridging fuel for the short and medium term. Asia has the highest demand for Natural gas and is set to grow further. As its oil and Natural gas reservoirs deplete, ASEAN countries will transition from a net exporter of gas, to a net importer of fossil fuels and LNG. ASEAN needs to plan on how to ride the LNG wave to ensure energy security. Paving the way for LNG infrastructure in preparation for Malampaya’s depletion.

The Growing Natural Gas and LNG Market

During the AEBF Panel discussion on Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), experts agreed that the ASEAN region was already headed towards a greater Natural Gas and LNG power dependence. They also agreed and stressed that Natural Gas and LNG pricing is a market demand issue – and that demand was based upon the development of Natural Gas and LNG technologies within a country; the contracts developed; pricing structure policies and national regulation. Eventually they envision the creation of a single country within the ASEAN region that buys and disperses Natural Gas and LNG to the rest of its ASEAN neighbors.

Mr Paul Bartholomew Senior Managing Editor in Australia for S&P Global Platts said that this was already happening today. Natural Gas and LNG are being traded like bulk commodities. Over-contracted Natural Gas and LNG from China was being sold in the SPOT Market. Technology was also coming into play as Tankers were becoming larger and more sophisticated. They are also capable of changing course depending upon who bids the highest for the surplus Natural Gas.

The role of the Government and Private Sector

Director Rino Abad from the Philippine Department of Energy explained that the Philippines was working to liberalize the Natural Gas and LNG Market. He recognizes that the Malampaya Deep Water Project that currently answers 22% of the Country’s power needs has an expiration date.The country needs to make a large scale discovery of Natural Gas to replace Malampaya or, start importing Natural Gas and LNG. The government was now working to lessen regulation, talking to various 3rd party investors and studying price reports to help establish the country as a Trading Hub for Natural Gas and LNG.

The panel closed encouraged by the willingness of government representatives to work with the private sector to ensure the growth of an ASEAN Region powered by Natural Gas and LNG. 

 

*** Photo courtesy of Royal Dutch SHELL’s Flicker page.*** Photo courtesy of Royal Dutch SHELL’s Flicker page