Summary of the Seminar on Energy Security in Asia 2002

- Examining Possible Areas of ASEAN+3 Energy Cooperation -

March 7, 2002

On 4 March 2002, the Seminar on Energy Security in Asia - Examining Possible Areas of ASEAN+3 Energy Cooperation - was held at the Akasaka Prince Hotel.
Below is a summary of this seminar (Click here for the program).

With Professor Akihiko Tanaka of the University of Tokyo serving as the moderator of the Seminar, energy experts in various fields participated as speakers, and representatives from countries of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) +3 (China, Japan and the Republic of Korea) participated as panelists. The seminar was attended by about 200 people, from energy related enterprises, energy experts, diplomatic missions, and the media.
Proposed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in November 2001 at the ASEAN+3 Summit Meeting, the Seminar, which aimed at advancing cooperation among ASEAN+3 countries to strengthen energy security in Asia, enjoyed the support of the leaders of the ASEAN countries, China and the Republic of Korea.

1. Address by Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ms. Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister for Foreign Affairs, amongst other engagements, addressed the seminar in Session Two, and expressed her hope that, as a result of discussions according to the program, the Seminar would produce a common understanding on the direction of cooperation on energy among the ASEAN+3 countries. Foreign Minister Kawaguchi stressed that, once a common understanding was reached, she would see that it be fed back to the ASEAN+3 process. (click here for the transcript)

2. Summary of Discussions in each Session

(1) Session 1: International Energy Situation

  1. Mr. Robert Priddle, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), and Dr. Ria Kemper, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat both emphasized the importance of interaction of their organizations with Asia.
  2. Saudi Arabia referred to the importance of producer-consumer cooperation, and stressed the importance of the establishment of a permanent secretariat for the International Energy Forum, which it had proposed at the 7th International Energy Forum in 2000.

(2) Session 2: Energy Situation in Asia

An energy outlook for supply and demand in Asia was presented, and the need to respond to the soaring demand for energy in the region was pointed out.

(3) Luncheon Session

Dr. Taro Nakayama, Member of the House of Representatives and former Minister for Foreign Affairs pointed out that energy cooperation should be advanced not only in the ASEAN+3 region, but in Asia as a whole, including South Asia and Northeast Asia, including on the issue of nuclear waste disposal.

(4) Session 3: Development of Emergency Response System in the Framework of ASEAN+3

Many countries pointed out the need for developing oil stockpiles. Japan, for its part, stated that it was prepared to share its knowledge, experience and technology of oil stockpiling with China, the Republic of Korea and ASEAN.

(5) Session 4: Future Direction for ASEAN+3 Energy Cooperation: Mid- to Long-term Energy Cooperation

  1. The current situation of various projects was explained, including the Northeast Asia Natural Gas Pipeline Project, the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline Project, and the ASEAN Power Grid Project.
  2. China announced that multilateral energy cooperation was promising as long as it was based on the principles of equality, mutual benefits and complementarity.
  3. The importance of improving energy efficiency and promoting energy conservation, as well as diffusing renewable energy, were pointed out.

(6) Session 5: Potential and Challenges for ASEAN+3 Energy Cooperation

The moderator stated that, as a result of the discussions in the Seminar, it seemed that a set of common understanding on the general direction of the ASEAN+3 energy cooperation had emerged, and listed the following points. Then he expressed his expectation that the Government of Japan would feed these conclusions of the Seminar back to the ASEAN+3 process:

  1. The ASEAN+3 region encompasses both net energy importing and exporting countries, whose energy situation varies and thus there is room for enhanced interdependency and further cooperation.
  2. When we look at the ASEAN+3 region as a whole, there is vulnerability in energy supply structure, which needs to rely on energy supply from outside the region. Furthermore, it is forecast that the energy demand in the region will continue to soar. Energy cooperation within the ASEAN+3 region alone is, therefore, not sufficient, and it is necessary to bear in mind the importance of constructive relations with areas outside the region, including neighboring countries such as the Russian Federation and countries of Central Asia, as well as countries of the Middle East.
  3. International organizations and multilateral frameworks have considerable accumulation of knowledge and experience, and it is meaningful for the ASEAN+3 countries to interact with such organizations and frameworks as the IEA, Energy Charter Secretariat, APEC, and the International Energy Forum.
  4. As one of its efforts to strengthen the energy security in the ASEAN+3 region, Japan is prepared to share its experience and technology in stockpiling with other countries of the region for the purpose of contributing to the development of emergency response system in the region. Other participating countries referred to the importance of stockpiling and even to a possibility of joint stockpiling. If measures were to be advanced in the region, this would greatly reduce the risk in terms of energy security.
  5. In order to enhance energy security from a mid- to long- term point of view, it is important to advance the following: (1) development of energy infrastructure; (2) promotion of energy efficiency and energy conservation; and (3) diversification of energy sources through such measures as the development and introduction of non-fossil fuels.
    In advancing the measures above, the following points need to be considered:
    1. how to obtain necessary financing for the development of energy infrastructure;
    2. how to improve the investment environment under the international trend of energy market liberalization;
    3. how to promote cleaner use of energy. In other words, the simultaneous achievement of the 3Es (Energy security, Economic growth and Environmental protection) is important.
  6. The issues of sea-lanes and piracy, which were also discussed, are the areas where energy security and traditional security cross over.

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