Strategizing for Efficient, Competitive and Sustainable ASEAN Energy Future

1. The 24th ASEAN Ministers on Energy (AMEM) was held in Vientiane, Lao PDR on 27 July 2006. H.E. Dr. Bosaykham Vongdara, Minister of Energy and Mines of Lao PDR chaired the 24th AMEM, with H.E. Mr. S Iswaran, Minister of State (Trade and Industry) of Singapore as Vice-Chairman.

2. The Ministers exchanged views on the strategic directions and measures for efficient, competitive and sustainable energy future in ASEAN since energy will be a key agenda in the forthcoming ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in December 2006 in the Philippines. The Ministers discussed the adverse impacts of the volatility of world oil prices. The Ministers were updated on the implementation progress of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) energy cooperation agenda as well as the on the major cooperative programs and activities under the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2004-2009.

Opening Ceremony

3. H.E. Mr. Bouasone Bouphavanh, Prime Minister of Lao PDR, officially opened the 24th AMEM. In his Keynote Speech, the Prime Minister highlighted that the rapid pace of the economic growth of the ASEAN region requires an adequate energy supply. He stressed that the energy development agenda deserves more attention, considering that the constant surge in oil prices affects the socio-economic development and the living conditions of the people. He expressed hope that the trade, investment and cooperation between ASEAN Member Countries and dialogue partners in the field of energy will increase in the future.

Briefing on OPEC Activities

4. The Ministers viewed that the global energy security is the shared responsibility between producers and consumers. The Ministers noted that the security of demand should go hand-in-hand with security of supply and that transparency and exchange of energy data are important for market predictability and stability. In this regard, the Ministers welcomed any constructive dialogue and cooperation on energy-related issues with Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Strategic Responses for a Secure and Sustainable Energy Future

5. The Ministers highlighted on the fundamental need of ASEAN Member Countries for reliable, adequate and affordable energy supplies which are essential for strong and sustainable economic growth and competitiveness. The Ministers also highlighted that ASEAN Member Countries will require increasing energy supplies as industries and services consume more energy to maintain increasing rhythm of growth.

6. The Ministers affirmed the importance of maintaining energy security and stability as a priority agenda, as high oil prices are clear risks to sustained economic growth of the ASEAN region. The Ministers collectively viewed that ASEAN’s reliance on external sources for oil will have implications on the security of its energy supply. Improvements in energy efficiency and increases in the contribution from renewable energy to supplies are both important for achieving a sustainable energy future.

7. The Ministers called for continued investments in energy production and infrastructural development in order to secure adequate and stable supply of energy. The Ministers also called for further expanding renewable energy by strengthening efficient support system for their utilization, increasing research and development activities towards technological innovation and creating policies to support their development by the private sector.

8. The Ministers agreed to strengthen renewable energy development, such as hydropower, biomass, biofuels, and to promote power trade cooperation in ASEAN.

9. The Ministers also agreed that ASEAN Member Countries should strive to stay resilient and address the challenges of soaring oil prices by making continuous efforts to reduce dependency on imported energy, particularly oil, finding more efficient ways to generate and use of energy, embracing renewable energy, and putting in place measures for improving emergency preparedness and response capacity to high oil prices and supply disruptions.

Headways in Implementation of the VAP Energy Agenda and the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2004-2009

10. The Ministers agreed to collectively work towards the finalization of new ASEAN Petroleum Security Agreement (APSA) and the Memorandum of Understanding on the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) for possible signing at the 25th AMEM in 2007. The Ministers were pleased with the progress in the development/implementation of the gas pipeline and electricity interconnection projects in the ASEAN Member Countries.

11. The Ministers lauded the significant increase in Energy Efficiency & Conservation (EE &C) activities in the ASEAN Member Countries. EE &C activities covered numerous institutional capacity building programs, increasing private sector involvement in ASEAN EE & C programs, and in expanding markets for energy efficient products. The Ministers agreed to further intensify cooperative measures in this area to mitigate volatile high oil prices, among others.

12. The Ministers recognized the emergence of biofuels as one of the alternatives to reduce ASEAN’s fossil fuel consumption. The Ministers emphasized the requirement for closer cooperation and exchange of experience in promoting the biofuel production and use, including relevant fiscal incentives, funding facilities and regulatory infrastructure.

13. The Ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in the coal sector taking environmental concerns into account.

14. The Ministers recognized the good efforts by the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), which has been very active in providing technical assistance to various ASEAN energy sub-sector networks, project preparation, coordination, facilitation and also in forging technical and financial collaborative partnership with the ASEAN dialogue partners and other international and regional organizations in the implementation of the APAEC 2004-2009.

ASEAN Energy Awards 2006

15. The Ministers congratulated the winners and runners-up from the 25 national nominees for the ASEAN Energy Awards 2006 under the ASEAN Best Practices Competition for Energy Efficient Buildings and Renewable Energy Project Competition.

25th ASEAN Ministers Energy Meeting

16. The 25th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) will be held in Singapore in 2007.

List of Ministers

  1.  H.E. Pehin Dato Haji Yahya, Minister of Energy, Prime Minister’s Office for Brunei Darussalam;
  2.  H.E. Mr. Suy Sem, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy for Cambodia;
  3.  H.E. Dr. Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources for Indonesia;
  4.  H.E. Dr. Bosaykham Vongdara, Minister of Energy and Mines for Lao PDR;
  5.  H.E. Dato’ Shaziman Abu Mansor, Deputy Minister of Energy, Water and Communications of Malaysia;
  6.  H.E. Brig. Gen. Than Htay, Vice Minister of Energy for Myanmar;
  7.  H.E. Mr. Raphael P.M Lotilla, Secretary of Energy for the Philippines;
  8.  H.E. Mr. S Iswaran, Minister of State of Trade and Industry for Singapore;
  9.  H.E. Dr. Viset Choopiban, Minister of Energy for Thailand;
  10.  H.E. Mr. Hoang Trung Hai, Minister of Industry for Viet Nam; and
  11.  H.E Mr. Nicholas T Dammen, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN.