ASEAN energy ministers laud IEA involvement in region

2 October 2014

Lao Energy and Mines Minister Soulivong Daravong and IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven (right)

The International Energy Agency advanced its outreach to partner countries by concluding a Joint Statement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) when Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven attended the 32nd ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM) in Vientiane, Laos.

The Joint Statement agreed late last month applauded recent IEA collaboration with ASEAN. Noting the recommendations of a study co-written by the IEA on ASEAN power sector development, the ministers tasked the ASEAN Centre for Energy to work with the IEA to identify key policy and investment targets for the sector. The statement also cited the IEA outlook that ASEAN gas demand will increase by 80% before 2035. So the ministers stressed the need to keep sharing best practices on gas supply and delivery, and welcomed the upcoming ASEAN-IEA Gas Dialogue discussions with industry during Singapore International Energy Week at the end of October.

The first-ever Joint Statement builds on the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding between the IEA and ASEAN. That agreement has led to four AMEM-IEA Dialogues, including the one on 23 September attended by Ms. Van der Hoeven. The Joint Statement announces a fifth such dialogue next year in Malaysia.

In a speech to to ASEAN energy ministers, Ms. Van der Hoeven addressed the region’s many opportunities for greater and more efficient use of energy, from new hydropower to cleaner use of coal. She also pointed to the need for policies that encourage regional market integration. “Collaboration across ASEAN is key,” she concluded, “and the IEA will continue working with ASEAN partners.”

During the concurrent East Asia Summit Energy Ministers Meeting, Ms. Van der Hoeven concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Thai Energy Ministry. The document calls on the two sides to work together on such energy security matters as oil stockpiling, statistics, and emergency measures and policies. In 2011, Thailand was the first non-member country to receive an IEA review of its national preparedness against a major disruption to its oil and gas supplies.

Ms. Van der Hoeven also discussed investment with the ministers, and the meeting’s final communiqué called on local policy and planning analysts to increase collaboration with the IEA concerning the region’s energy future. The communiqué also welcomed the publication earlier this year of the IEA’s World Energy Investment Outlook, which among other things looks at investment needs in the Indian and Southeast Asian power sectors, following projections in the IEA Southeast Asia Energy Outlook of 2013.

The East Asia Summit Energy Ministers Meeting drew ministers and senior officials from the ten ASEAN members as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation and the United States.