The Asia-Pacific has reached a unique moment in its energy security.
For the first time in years, conversations are not dominated by concerns over tight markets and skyrocketing prices. A number of concurrent developments have led to greater abundance in both supplies and supplier options. Increased production of shale and tight oil supplies in the United States and Canada, coupled with sustained production levels in OPEC countries, has contributed to a glut in global oil supplies. In addition, rapidly growing LNG supplies that are easing pressure on Asian natural gas markets. These developments are mitigating anxieties over energy scarcity, potentially alleviating perceptions of energy competition in the Asia-Pacific.
At the same time, efforts to advance the use of cleaner supplies and technologies have never been stronger. With the historic agreement to commit to a cleaner energy future announced in Paris, governments across the region face increasing pressure to scale up cleaner energy sources.
Yet fundamental challenges remain that could undermine recent gains.
Although these market developments provide a unique opportunity to address several fundamental, long-term challenges for the Asia-Pacific, they could also reduce the overall sense of urgency on moving forward with policy and market reforms as well as energy investment across the region. Policymakers and industry leaders must combat complacency and instead look to strengthen the market, environmental, geopolitical, and economic dimensions of energy security strategies.
Stakeholders can – and must – act now to avoid dire consequences in the long term.
The Asia-Pacific needs energetic energy leadership and smart energy policies. The current period of lower energy prices provides a key window of opportunity to pave the way for greater cooperation among key stakeholders in the region — particularly on energy and environmental security, where countries from Singapore to the United States to China to Japan share common interests, if not always common strategies. Global policymakers can capitalize on this unique moment to advance a range of forward-looking energy policies from subsidy reform to revamped efficiency standards—while minimizing the net costs to governments and consumers. Asia-Pacific leaders have a distinct opportunity to collaborate in charting a course toward greater energy and environment sustainability.
The 2016 Pacific Energy Summit explored these topics in a high-trust setting among senior policymakers, industry leaders, and researchers. Stay tuned for a report summarizing findings of the Summit to be released in the fall.