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Association of Southeast Asian Nations to Advance Regional Energy Cooperation

by Jared Heng

Energy ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have agreed to concrete proposals to advance regional energy cooperation at a meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.

Mr S Iswaran, Singapore’s Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, was at the two-day meeting from September 20 to 21.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said the ASEAN energy ministers agreed on the need to expedite regional connectivity projects such as the ASEAN Power Grid and Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline.

These are expected to open new market opportunities and boost overall energy security.

The ministers have tasked senior officials and power authorities in the region to work with the ASEAN Energy Regulators Network to speed up the harmonisation of regulatory practices and technical standards across the region.

Private sector involvement would also be actively sought as a catalyst for the implementation of the ASEAN Power Grid.

The ASEAN ministers also discussed regional nuclear safety developments following Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear incident in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami disasters.

Noting the plans of some ASEAN member states to pursue nuclear energy as an option in the medium term, the ministers emphasised that ASEAN should promote and uphold the International Atomic Energy Agency’s standards of safety and security in the development of civilian nuclear energy.