DOE pushes joint oil, gas exploration among ASEAN countries

The Department of Energy is pushing for joint oil and gas exploration with Southeast Asian nations to promote energy security in the region.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi in a statement Friday reiterated his call for joint exploration activities and raised the importance of integrating resilience in future power work plans, as he joined fellow energy ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for the virtual 38th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting.

Cusi urged ASEAN national oil companies to explore joint oil and gas exploration and development.

“With all of us sharing the common aspiration of attaining energy security for our respective countries, we must maximize the advantages of belonging to this multilateral Association in order to fast track its realization,” he said.

Cusi asked the ASEAN Council on Petroleum to revisit the existing sharing agreements on oil and gas exploration and production and to recommend similar or modified agreements for possible adoption.

This ASCOPE action will fast track the attainment of energy security in ASEAN, he said.

Cusi made the proposal in support of his statement in last year’s 37th AMEM when he urged the ASEAN to rethink and jointly act on strategies that would enable the member states to forge stronger regional collaboration and cooperation on energy resource exploration, development and production within ASEAN’s shared and common borders.

Cusi also noted the lifting of the suspension of petroleum activities and resumption of exploration in the West Philippine Sea.

“This development would augur well for our economic recovery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, given that the resumption of work would infuse our economy with fresh investments and help generate high-skill employment opportunities,” Cusi said.

He conveyed the Philippines’ commendation to ASCOPE for its work on the Trans ASEAN Gas Pipeline Project and studies on establishing a common gas market, small-scale liquefied natural gas and LNG bunkering.

“These are also the current priority directions the Philippines is pursuing as we continue to develop our natural gas industry,” he said.

Cusi said it is high time for the heads of ASEAN power utilities/authorities to integrate emergency preparedness and resiliency in its future work plan, instead of limiting itself to the physical aspect of power grid interconnection amid the recurrence and intensity of various calamities to hit the Philippines and other parts of the world.

“I would like to urge HAPUA to take bolder steps and incorporate preparedness and resiliency components into the ASEAN Power Grid. In addition to interconnectivity, we must also ensure that energy systems are able to withstand and bounce back quickly from the impact of disasters,” Cusi said.

He called on all member states, through the HAPUA, to share their best practices in policies and regulations, emerging programs and projects and enhanced institutional arrangements.

“We must not allow ourselves to become paralyzed in the face of adversities. I am confident that should we choose to put our heads together and establish sound contingency protocols, our region’s power sector would come out even stronger than before,” Cusi said.

The 38th AMEM and the Associated Meetings was hosted by Vietnam. It was held virtually for the first time this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Topics: Department of Energy , Alfonso Cusi , ASEAN , Vietnam , the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
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