Enhanced ties come as ASEAN members’ energy demand is set to expand much faster than global average over the next two decades.
20 September 2011
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – a bloc of 10 countries that are set to play an increasingly important role in global energy markets in the decades to come – will formally recognise their ongoing co-operation in energy-related activities through the signing of an ASEAN-IEA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the IEA, and Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, signed the document on 20 September at the 29th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting in Brunei Darussalam.
Energy consumption in ASEAN countries is approaching that of the Middle East, and is set to continue growing rapidly, fuelled by rapid economic and population growth, and by continuing urbanisation and industrialisation.
In the IEA’s 2010 World Energy Outlook’s New Policies Scenario, which takes account of broad policy commitments and plans that have been announced by countries, ASEAN’s primary energy demand jumps by 84% between 2008 and 2035.
“Despite this impressive projection, many hurdles will need to be overcome if Southeast Asia is to secure access to the energy required to meet its growing needs at affordable prices and in a sustainable manner,” said Ms. Van der Hoeven.
“The IEA – which is at the heart of the global dialogue on energy and provides authoritative research, statistics, analysis and recommendations – looks forward to continuing its work with ASEAN countries to address these pressing challenges to ensure secure and sustainable energy,” she added.
In the MoU, the IEA and ASEAN agreed to co-operate and collaborate in a broad range of areas, including cost-effective policies that improve energy efficiency, environmental and climate change policy, and the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.
This co-operation will involve activities such as training courses and secondments; joint studies in areas of mutual interest; and the implementation of pilot projects and exercises.
ASEAN’s ten member countries are: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The IEA has been working regionally with ASEAN and bilaterally with some ASEAN countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand. In Thailand recently, the IEA undertook a “best practice” review for the country’s future emergency response policy and procedures, for consideration by the Thai Ministry of Energy and relevant Thai agencies and industry. The IEA is also currently developing two key projects with ASEAN. The first involves examining how best to assist ASEAN prepare for potential oil supply disruptions, and the second involves modelling and analysis of future best technologies for the power sectors of ASEAN’s member countries.
Photo © Rudolf Portillo. Dr. Surin Pitsuwan (left), Secretary-General of ASEAN, and Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, exchanging the signed MOU, witnessed by Brunei’s Minister of Energy, Pehin Datu Singamenteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Paduka Hj Mohammad Yasmin Hj Umar.
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