chapter  7
Energy security in ASEAN and ASEAN Plus Three: Cooperation through the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline
Pages 24

ASEAN as a regional network of member countries is home to some 600 million people. Through rapid economic development, the region is gradually rising in GDP resulting in a growing energy demand to run its economies and fulfil the needs of Southeast Asian populations. Today, out of those 600 million people, 219 million still lack access to electricity and another 100 million still have limited access to energy services (Sovacool 2009b). The prognosis looks yet more challenging with many analysts predicting that the overall demand for energy and fuels will increase by 200 percent in the upcoming two decades (Chang and Li 2012). As these energy demands are closely tied to economic development, one of the key questions in ASEAN countries is how to meet such growing demands. According to the Japanese Institute of Energy Economics, energy demand such

as electricity in the ASEAN region is expected to grow 6 to over 7 per cent per year – by 2030 this could be three to four times higher than the current level. This is an exceptionally high growth, if compared to the overall Asia-Pacific yearly increase of electricity demand of 3 to 4 per cent as reported by the Asian Development Bank. One of the main factors contributing to this is again reflected in the high economic growth within the ASEAN region (Chang and Li 2012). Despite the fact that many of the member countries are considered to be rich in energy resources (possessing 22 billion barrels of oil, 227 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, 46 billion tons of coal, 234 GW of hydropower potential as well as 20 GW of geothermal capacity), meeting such high growing demand is still a major challenge for a number of reasons. Energy is distributed in an uneven fashion. Hydropower, for example, is limited to the Greater Mekong sub-region (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and China) (Institute of Southeast Asia Studies 2009), while coal, oil and gas are located mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia. The different pace of economic development among member countries also poses a challenge to the nature of regional power distribution. This in turn could put a crucial brake on the utilisation of region’s resources as opposed to the fast-growing electricity demand (Chang and Li 2012). Therefore, linking energy resource-rich countries with the energy poorer ones

in ASEAN could be a key start to a more regional approach to energy security in

that ASEAN region to secure energy for both the short term and long term. Though this is the case, the ten member countries tend to adopt very different strategic energy security positions with regard to ASEAN, due mainly to their different stage of economic development. To put it simply, many view that while the more developed countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore or Brunei understand economic development in terms of rising GDP, for the less developed such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, it is rather in terms of securing the basic needs of their still very poor populations. The Philippines and Vietnam find themselves “somewhere in-between”. Thus, energy security means different things to different member countries. On the one hand, for Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, energy security means fuelling their rapid economic growth and having enough reserves, either locally or imported, to sustain rising domestic consumption. On the other hand, for poorer member states such as Laos, Cambodia and even energy-rich Myanmar, energy security means not only fuelling economic growth, but mainly bringing the electricity and energy supply across their infrastructure-poor nations. Adding to this are two small countries at two extremes on the energy production spectrum, Brunei, who is self-sufficient and ready to export rich natural resources, and Singapore, who has no energy resources at all (ACE 2013c). Looking forward to the ASEAN community, energy security is very much a

subject of active discussion. From the beginning, the ASEAN Vision adopted in 1997 by the heads of member states at the second ASEAN Informal Summit in Kuala Lumpur agreed to create an energy-interconnected Southeast Asia network at two levels. One of the key projects was the creation of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) which interconnects all member countries and facilitates cross-border power trade. This first-level project of APG could eventually provide a solution to the growing energy demand and lower the cost of energy transport amongst member countries. Within this energy integration framework the largest energyintegrating ASEAN project was the idea of the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP). Through these visions, since 2000 a working group was set up and has been exploring the possibilities defined by the ASEAN Interconnection Master Plan Study produced in 2003 (Chang and Li 2012). This chapter will take a look at energy security in terms of its role in the eco-

nomic development process in ASEAN (and ASEAN Plus Three) and its background in terms of regional energy needs with particular attention to different stakes of particular member countries. The main focus will be TAGP as a leading project through different stakeholders’ activities aiming to investigate the prospects and remaining challenges of such a project. The energy outlook of individual members of ASEAN will also be discussed. The aim is to summarise the energy situation in ASEAN and point out its prospective development under tighter integration, while examining the choice to develop its first regional pipeline.