ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM)

The ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM), held in Langkawi in July 2003, called for intensified cooperation in the development and exploitation of the energy resource potentials in the ASEAN region, as well as in attracting private sector participation and investment in the ASEAN energy sector. The Ministers agreed to work collectively in moving forward the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) and the ASEAN Power Grid Projects to provide greater stability and security of energy supply in the ASEAN region. The Ministers also agreed to enhance the ASEAN Energy Business Forum (AEBF) as an important platform for facilitating business interaction, technology exchange and project financing opportunities between ASEAN energy authorities and the private sector.

The ASEAN Gas Consultative Council (AGCC) has been established to serve as an advisory body to the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE) in the implementation of the TAGP Project. The ASCOPE Gas Centre (AGC), to be hosted by Malaysia, will be established to serve as the strategic technical and information resource and capacity building center in the facilitation and implementation of the TAGP and gas development programmes in ASEAN. ASEAN is updating the 1986 ASEAN Petroleum Security Agreement (APSA) with a view to adopting strategic options to enhance petroleum security in times or circumstances of both shortages and oversupply in the ASEAN region.

The Final Report of the ASEAN Interconnection Master Plan Study (AIMS), a reference document to guide the implementation of the electricity interconnection projects, indicates that there are 11 potential power interconnection projects for implementation up to 2020, which are expected to generate potential savings of about US$ 662 million (year 2000 prices) in new investment and operating costs resulting from such interconnections. There are currently eight interconnection projects at various stages of implementation in ASEAN.

The ASEAN Ministers on Energy agreed to strengthen partnership with China, Japan and ROK to address mutual issues and concerns in energy security, natural gas development, oil market studies, oil stockpiling and renewable energy. The ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Energy (SOME) Plus Three Energy Policy Governing Group (EPGG) has been established.

Within the ASEAN Plus Three framework, four forums of experts were convened and served as platforms for information and best practices sharing towards greater understanding of global and regional issues in energy security, natural gas, oil markets and oil stockpiles. These forums have agreed to develop an ASEAN Plus Three Energy Security Communications System and to enhance cooperation in natural gas through infrastructure development, investment promotion, trading arrangements and application of new technologies. The ASEAN Plus Three Energy Ministers will meet on the occasion of the 22nd AMEM in June 2004 in Manila.

The ASEAN-Japan Framework for Comprehensive Economic Partnership provides for cooperation in the energy sector, particularly in oil stockpiling, natural gas utilization and promotion of energy efficiency. ASEAN and Japan leaders, at the Commemorative Summit in December 2003, called for enhancing cooperation in energy security under the overall theme of “Consolidating the Foundation for Economic Development and Prosperity” with the following agreed actions: (a) develop energy policy dialogue and support ongoing capacity building programmes under ASEAN-Japan cooperation such as the Energy Supply Security Planning in the ASEAN (ESSPA) and the Promotion of Energy Efficiency and Conservation (PROMEEC) to enhance energy security in East Asia; and (b) cooperate in developing infrastructure, including energy facilities such as power stations, oil and gas pipeline network by using concessional loans, other schemes or private finance.

The ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) continued to serve a key role in the facilitation of regional energy programmes and activities. ACE facilitated cooperation between ASEAN and its partner countries (e.g. EU, Germany, Japan, Australia and Switzerland) and international organisations (e.g. UNESCAP, IEA, etc.). Through the ACE, ASEAN was represented as an observer organisation in the Brussels-based Energy Charter Conference held in
December 2003.

The ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2004-2009, the successor plan to the APAEC 1999-2004, has been finalized for adoption by the 22nd AMEM. The APAEC 2004-2009 will enhance the integration of the regional energy infrastructures, promote energy security, create responsive policies to progressively enhance market reforms and liberalisation, as well as on the sustainability of the environment. The Plan consists of sectoral plans of action and roadmaps related to the ASEAN Power Grid; TAGP; Energy Efficiency and Conservation; New and Renewable Sources of Energy and Regional Energy Policy and Planning.

A Ministerial Declaration on the ASEAN Coordinated Response Manual for Petroleum Security Emergency Preparedness has also been finalized for adoption in June 2004. The proposed manual sets the standard operating procedures for expeditious consultation and coordination amongst the ASEAN Member Countries during periods of petroleum shortages and emergencies.

The 20th Meeting of the Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities (HAPUA) was convened in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 3-5 May 2004. HAPUA reviewed the progress of implementation of its projects in the areas of (a) renewable energy; (b) power interconnection; (c) research, development and engineering; (d) human resources management and development; (e) geothermal energy; (f) rural and urban electrification; (g) Electric Power Information Centre; (h) use of combined cycle power plants; and (i) deregulation and reform of power utilities.