Energy Update: April 4, 2019

Energy Update | April 4, 2019
Authors: Riley Smith and David Mineo
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

April 9: Welcome Roundtable in Honor of H.E. Chum Sounry, Ambassador of Cambodia to the United States

April 11: Dinner with Minister Mai Tien Dung, Chairman of the Office of the Government of Vietnam

April 18: Welcome Luncheon in Honor of H.E. Mahendra Siregar, Ambassador of Indonesia to the United States

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Duterte Signs Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act into Law, Aiming to Streamline Permit Issuance for Power Projects

On March 8, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11234 (available here) into law, establishing an Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) digital online payments system. EVOSS is designed to streamline the permit-issuing process for power generation, transmission, and distribution projects and also applies to government agencies, including local government units (LGUs) and government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs). Under the new law, management and maintenance of EVOSS will fall under the remit of the Department of Energy (DOE), which has been authorized to operate and maintain “an effective information technology infrastructure system, which shall be updated regularly, subject to the provisions of this Act.” However, an EVOSS Steering Committee will monitor the system’s operations for the first two years. The Office of the President will chair the Steering Committee, while the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Agrarian Reform, Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, and Information and Communications Technology will also have representatives on the committee. Supporters of the measure argue that the expected shortening of the permitting process will help lure more energy companies to invest in the Philippines and also reduce power rates.

Under the law, EVOSS serves as an online payment system for all permit and certification fees related to applications for power generation, transmission, or distribution projects. It also provides a secure system that all government bureaus, offices, agencies, GOCCs, LGUs, and other entities involved in the permitting process can easily access. According to BussinessWorld, the Philippines Senate indicated that government agencies will be required to adhere to a strict timeframe in processing pending applications. If government agencies fail to act within the allotted time, a permit will be passed automatically and the agency responsible may face administrative sanctions. The Senate went on to caution that “private entities—the systems operator and market operator—who fail to act within a prescribed timeframe will be slapped with a P100,000 [US$1,900] fine per day of delay.”

EVOSS’s supporters in the Philippine Congress hope that the implementation of the system will result in the streamlining of the permitting process for power generation, transmission, or distribution projects. They argue that reducing red tape will lead to reductions in the cost of doing business, which will in turn lead to lower power generation charges and help attract more investment into the country’s power sector. According to Senate Committee on Energy Chairman Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who was the primary author of the EVOSS Law, the Government of the Philippines estimates that a “decrease in generation costs could lead to reduction of consumer electricity prices by as much as P0.35 per kWh.”

Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand Will Hold Auction for Supplier of Imported Liquefied Natural Gas

The state-run Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has stated that it will hold an auction between April and June of 2019 to find a supplier for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). According to Tawatchai Jakpaisal, Deputy Governor for EGAT’s fuel sector, bidders will be asked to submit documents by April 18, a shortlist will be announced at the end of April, and the EGAT board will approve the auction process in early May. The winner of the auction is to be announced in June. EGAT expects its first shipment of LNG in September, which will be delivered to a receiving terminal in Map Ta Phut port, Rayong Province, that is owned and operated by the oil and gas conglomerate PTT.

According to the Bangkok Post, EGAT has signed a contract with PTT LNG—effective from January 2019 to 2056—to import 1.5 million tons of LNG per year and plans to import 280,000 tons of LNG in 2019 followed by 1.5 million tons in 2020. EGAT has received approval from the National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) to pilot a project on LNG distribution that will evaluate pipeline liberalization and under a third party access regime (TPA) to deregulate the sector. As EGAT searches for LNG imports to diversify its energy portfolio and complement its depleting natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Thailand, it will aim to find suppliers who can offer competitive prices, security, and flexibility. Given that this is EGAT’s debut in LNG, it will be looking for consultation on best practices to develop strategies to navigate market fluctuations as well as streamline its import and distribution. 

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Call for Input for Member Company Feedback on 2019 Energy Committee Work Plan

Ahead of the Energy Committee's Quarterly Call, which will take place in mid-April (exact date to be confirmed), the Council wanted to circulate the Committee's draft 2019 Work Plan (available here). The work plan lays out the main advocacy themes for the Energy Committee’s 2019 engagements. This year the work plan emphasizes how the Energy Committee can better engage the U.S. Government on its implementation of the Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) initiative, one of the three economic pillars of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. It also includes appendices with country-specific advocacy issues and information on the energy plans and goals for priority markets in the region. The Committee is especially interested in receiving feedback on country-specific issues. If you would like to submit feedback, please send it to Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org.

Energy Committee Holds Inaugural "Energy Trends in Southeast Asia" Roundtable in Washington, DC

On April 4, the Council's Energy Committee held the first roundtable in the US-ASEAN Business Council's "Energy Trends in Southeast Asia" roundtable series. The new initiative aims to keep member companies well-informed of developments in Southeast Asia's vital energy sector by providing a forum to discuss these developments with policy and subject matter experts. The series will also serve as an important platform for the Energy Committee's engagement with DC-based U.S. Government officials in charge of rolling out the Asia EDGE initiative of the Indo-Pacific Strategy. For the first roundtable in the series, Dr. Amy Searight, Senior Adviser and Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), provided a briefing on how past, recent, and upcoming elections in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, respectively, could affect these countries' energy policies and sectors. The Committee is targeting the second week of May for the next roundtable, with Deputy Assistant Secretary Melissa Simpson of the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources as the featured speaker. If your company would like to host an upcoming roundtable in this series, please contact Riley Smith at rsmith@usasean.org.

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
ASEAN
Japan carmakers angle for EV primacy in Southeast Asia

Brunei
Brunei earmarks 1.2 bln USD for oil, gas exploration

Cambodia
Strong Demand for Gas to Power Generation in Cambodia
Price plea as generator costs soar
Cambodia to buy 200 megawatts from Laos
Angkor Gold CEO: Cambodia’s Oil and Gas Industry is Ready to Boom
Cambodia considers floating plant from Turkey to battle power woes
EDC reduces daytime energy supply to offset shortage
Cambodia has wind energy potential - study

Indonesia
Pertamina hopes to benefit from Petronas deal
Indonesia threatens to quit Paris climate deal over palm oil
The future of renewable infrastructure is uncertain without good planning
Govt to Increase Sidrap Wind Power Plant`s Capacity
Indonesia welcomes Oman's energy investment
RI pushing LNG exports amid excess supply
Bukit Asam, Antam join forces to build power plants
Indonesia plans to fuel all diesel power plants with CPO within two years

Malaysia
MESTECC to tender out RM3.2b projects
Minister: Govt hopes to boost renewable energy growth with net metering programme
Country's first waste-to-energy plant to start operations in June
MGA advocates natural gas as a perfect partner to renewables
TNB to collaborate with South Korean companies for virtual power plant technology
Oil and gas reserves can last 10 years, Dewan Rakyat told
TNB, PWD ink renewable energy collaboration

Myanmar
Kachin Gov’t Set to Reject Mongolian Mining Proposal
Investors to be invited to boost LPG, CNG businesses
Company vows to supply solar power to 500 villages
Ministry will build over 1,000 megawatts power stations within one and a half year: official

Philippines
Palace signs into law measure cutting red tape from energy projects
Energy dep’t issues draft storage rules to support renewables
Power grid operator flags spike in demand
Philippines considering nuclear energy
Department of Energy warns of higher fuel prices
ERC releases 3rd draft on proposed rules on power-supply contracting
Sorsogon hosts climate talks, fetes renewable energy
Youth group says no to coal-fired power plants in Philippines island province
Floating solar testbed to battle Filipino typhoons
PH to Host Largest Regional Energy Conference
Energy permitting processes streamlined with signing of Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act
More foreign firms eye gas, oil sector

Singapore
Singapore and Vietnam to explore tie-ups in energy, Industry 4.0
Two Singapore consortia to develop, trial driverless road cleaning vehicles

Thailand
PTT raising R&D funds for disruption
TOP looks into naphtha redirection
PEA joins up with SCB to boost services
Thailand rises three places in  WEF energy transition index 
Energy Regulatory Commission eyes B40bn from solar power projects
PTTEP acquires Malaysia oil firm
Egat to open LNG supplier bid next month
Electricity agency, Laos renew PPAs
Wasting away to make energy
PTT buys palm oil for biodiesel
ERC introduces 100MW household solar scheme
Key parties push renewable power

Vietnam
LNG may replace coal in Vietnam's $7.8 billion power project
Vietnam's graft hunters zero in on Venezuela oil project
Petrol prices hiked in latest review
Việt Nam seeks investment in energy market
RON95 petrol supply sufficient: Ministry
VN stocks pick up as petro firms boosted by oil price increases
With latest increase, electricity prices move towards market mechanism
Ministry to look into cutting industrial energy use
Int’l exhibition to showcase electrical technologies, green power
Two solar power projects approved
Solar power complex launched in Đắk Lắk
Việt Nam-Russia joint venture welcomes first oil flow from Cá Tầm field
Renewable energy project to go operational in April
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Japan carmakers angle for EV primacy in Southeast Asia Nikkei Asian Review 8th Mar 2019
Japanese automakers are moving to extend their iron grip on the Southeast Asian market into electric vehicles, starting with plans to build plug-in and hybrid offerings in Thailand. The Thai government has offered generous tax incentives to automakers producing plug-in hybrids and electrics in the country for applications submitted by the end of 2018. This has led a flurry of companies to flesh out plans. As the region grows wealthier, electrics are turning into a status symbol. Big Japanese names including Toyota Motor and Honda Motor are eager to tap this growing demand in one of their most important markets, while Thailand aims to become a production hub for environmentally friendly vehicles as it did with pickup trucks. Toyota Motor Thailand will begin local production of plug-in hybrids in the coming years, to be followed by EVs, local media report. It already makes conventional hybrids in the country, selling about 13,000 units here in 2018. As its first step into other eco-friendly cars, it will start assembling batteries in Chachoengsao Province this May. Plans are to initially import most of the components and gradually shift to more locally sourced parts.

Brunei

Brunei earmarks 1.2 bln USD for oil, gas exploration Global Times 22nd Mar 2019
Brunei has earmarked 1.65 billion Brunei dollars (1.2 billion US dollars) for the development of new oil and gas fields and the acceleration of exploration activities this year as it sets its sights on increasing petroleum production by 30 percent over the next five years. Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Hj Mat Suny said the investment aims to secure Brunei's petroleum industry, which makes up 57.3 percent of the country's economy. "This is a huge investment to ensure that oil and gas production is sustainable in the future. This investment will bring about a significant economic impact on local entrepreneurs and the service industry," he said on Thursday's Legislative Council meeting. The minister said they will start drilling five new exploration wells, including two key wells, this year to determine the potential of the new locations. Hj Mat Suny also said that there are plans to look into deep water exploration in areas with a depth of two km. He said that the sultanate is also aiming to increase oil and gas production by 9,500 barrels per day this year, to 121,000 barrels per day from 111,500 barrels per day in 2018.

Cambodia

Strong Demand for Gas to Power Generation in Cambodia Oil Voice 1st Apr 2019
Surrounded by bigger international players from neighbouring countries, Cambodia's potential to import LNG has always been overlooked till recently.  Announcements of interests by Russia and Indonesia to develop Cambodia's LNG infrastructure in Cambodia depicts the immense opportunity for gas to power in Cambodia. As one of the fastest growing economy amongst other ASEAN countries, with growth of more than than 7% annually for the past decade, Cambodia is a high potential country for investment. According to the latest ranking by Market Potential Index, Cambodia is ranked 37th in the world for investment.

Price plea as generator costs soar Khmer Times 26th Mar 2019
The government has urged vendors of electricity generators to ensure reasonable prices after public complaints flooded social media over soaring costs amidst a shortage of power in the Kingdom. Government spokesman Phay Siphan said Cambodian people should help each other during a crisis. Mr Siphan urged vendors to remain honest with the price of the generators, adding that the country was facing an electricity shortage as a result of extremely hot and dry weather as hydropower dams in the country are unable to produce energy. “Please contribute and keep faithful behaviour toward each other with a culture of solidarity for Cambodian people, especially when it comes to hard times with electricity shortages,” he said. “I hope that in the recent difficult times of electricity shortages, we should understand each other and unite.” Tann Huy Keang, owner of a generator shop in Russian market, yesterday said she would sell the generators at a similar price for which she bought them.

Cambodia to buy 200 megawatts from Laos Khmer Times 24th Mar 2019
The country’s energy supply is expected to rise by 16.12 percent in 2019. Cambodia will buy 200 megawatts from Laos to feed rising demand for power in the Kingdom. Electricite du Cambodge has signed an agreement to purchase 200 MW from Laos from 2019 to 2021. The tariff at which the power will be sold has not been revealed. With power consumption on the rise, Cambodia needs to increase energy imports, said Ty Norin, secretary of state at Ministry of Mines and Energy.

Angkor Gold CEO: Cambodia’s Oil and Gas Industry is Ready to Boom Investing News Network 24th Mar 2019
Angkor Gold CEO Stephen Burega believes Cambodia has the potential to be a mining leader due to its excellent geology and stable political environment. Burega believes that the prime minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Hun Sen, “is looking to better the country and economy, which is creating a very stable scenario.” In the interview below, Burega discusses the company’s announcement in February 2019 regarding its interest in entering the oil and gas industry in Cambodia, where it has “applied for and [is] in final negotiations with the government for an oil block.”

Cambodia considers floating plant from Turkey to battle power woes Khmer Times 21st Mar 2019
Representatives of Electricite Du Cambodge are planning a trip to Turkey to discuss bringing a floating power plant that will help the nation cope with the current energy crisis, Prime Minister Hun Sen said. Speaking yesterday to a group of garment workers in Pursat province, the premier said bringing the floating facility would be an emergency measure to battle Cambodia’s power shortage. Representatives from the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Electricity Authority of Cambodia, and EDC have been meeting with officials from the Turkish embassy since the beginning of the week to discuss the cost of bringing the floating plant as well as the tariff that will be charged. EAC chairman Yim Viseth said, “The Turkish side requested to meet with us this week because they needed to know some information before making a decision on the floating power plant. We also need to know what tariff will be charged before we can make a decision.” Mr Viseth did not reveal details regarding the cost of bringing and using the floating power plant.

EDC reduces daytime energy supply to offset shortage Khmer Times 19th Mar 2019
Electricité du Cambodge yesterday issued a statement saying that due to power shortages, it has reduced the supply of electricity in the Kingdom during the day in order to ensure supply at night. In the statement, EDC said it had contacted neighbouring countries in order to provide more electricity. It said that Thailand agreed to supply 80 megawatts, Laos 10 megawatts, while Vietnam refused due to its own energy supply issues in its southern provinces. “We are still lacking 13 percent of energy,” the statement noted. “Because of this, the EDC has reduced the supply of electricity until the rain season comes.” “We are alternating locations that receive electricity during the day because people need electricity the most at night,” it added. “We are trying our best to deploy our own generators to supply electricity during the day at industrial areas, hospitals, water facilities, embassies and government institutions.” Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday renewed a call for the public and government institutions to reduce usage, noting that the Kingdom is currently facing a shortage of 400 megawatts of electricity due to a lack of water to power electric dams.

Cambodia has wind energy potential - study Khmer Times 13th Mar 2019
France-based Blue Circle has finished a feasibility study for a project to build wind turbines in the Kingdom, with results indicating investment should ensue. The results of the study were presented during a meeting on Monday between company representatives and Suy Sem, the Minister of Mines and Energy. “The study began last year. Now that it is complete we can see that Cambodia has potential for investment in wind turbines,” said Victor Jona, director-general of the energy department. The study was conducted in Kampot, Preah Sihanoukville, and Mondulkiri provinces. “If the company decides to invest, it will be the first wind farm in Cambodia,” Mr Jona said, adding that the turbines will be able to generate 63 megawatts once phase 1 of the project is complete. He said the project will cost between $95 and $105 million, and the company will sell the power generated to Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) at a rate ranging from $0.076 to $0.081.

Indonesia

Pertamina hopes to benefit from Petronas deal The Jakarta Post 10th Mar 2019
State energy holding company Pertamina hopes that its recent deal with Malaysia’s state-owned oil giant Petronas will help its businesses expand more efficiently in the long run amid fluctuations in the global oil price. The deal, signed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in late February, would be an umbrella agreement for future business cooperation between both companies in terms of operational activities and other strategic measures, said Heru Setiawan who is Pertamina’s director of investment planning and risk management. As a follow-up to a previous government-to-government agreement, the deal also enables the two parties to join hands in working on their overseas portfolios, or oil and gas fields outside of their respective countries. Heru said there could be possible collaboration at the upstream, midstream and downstream sides, such as research and development, joint exploration activities, technology implementation in oil and gas blocks as well as the trade of products and the sharing of knowledge with regards to renewable energy.

Indonesia threatens to quit Paris climate deal over palm oil Reuters 27th Mar 2019
A senior Indonesian minister warned on Wednesday Southeast Asia’s biggest economy could consider exiting the Paris climate deal if the European Union goes ahead with a plan to phase out palm oil in renewable transportation fuel. Indonesia, the world’s biggest palm oil producer, has lashed out at the EU after the bloc classified palm oil as a risky crop that caused significant deforestation and ruled that its use in renewable fuel should stop by 2030. Speaking at a palm oil forum, Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister overseeing maritime and natural resources, said the EU “should not underestimate Indonesia” and pledged the government would firmly defend its national interest. Palm cultivation is often blamed for deforestation and destroying the habitat of endangered animals such as orangutans and Sumatran tigers. Indonesia’s government, however, says palm requires far less land to produce oil compared to crops such as soy and rapeseed.

The future of renewable infrastructure is uncertain without good planning Phys.org 27th Mar 2019
This is the story for many such projects in the region, including solar-powered residential systems. Over and over again, the value of renewable energy investments is lost as the installations are left abandoned as the grid arrives. In Indonesia alone, more than 150 villages have abandoned mini-grid projects since late 2000s. While investing in fossil fuel-based energy has become riskier, there are also unique investment risks with small-scale renewable systems. In developing countries, in many sites relying on off-grid or mini-grid electricity, this infrastructure faces the risk of becoming a "stranded asset" —abandoned infrastructure that no longer holds value —which may work against efforts to limit climate change.

Govt to Increase Sidrap Wind Power Plant`s Capacity Tempo 24th Mar 2019
Indonesia's Energy and Mineral Resource Ministry would increase the production capacity of wind power plant (PLTB) in Sidrap District, South Sulawesi within the next two to three years. "The power plant in Sidrap would be expanded," the ministry's Director of Renewable Energy Harris said in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara on late Saturday. "Currently the power plant only has the capacity to produce 75 megawatt (of electricity). It would be increased by 50 to 60 megawatt, so it could produce 125-130 megawatt of electricity," Harris said. Sidrap wind power plant is the first wind power project in the country and the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. Read also: Jokowi Determines to Develop Power Plant Using Renewable Energy It has 30 windmills each with 80-meter high tower and 57-meter long propellers. Each tower produces 2.5 MW of electricity.

Indonesia welcomes Oman's energy investment Antara News 14th Mar 2019
"In addition to bilateral cooperation, Indonesia also wishes to intensify its economic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation (GCC), where Oman is one of the member countries," Marsudi noted. Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Indonesian Government has welcomed cooperation between Oman's Overseas Oil and Gas (OOG) and Indonesian state oil and gas company PT Pertamina to build a new oil refinery in Bontang, East Kalimantan, with an investment worth US$10 billion. Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi and her visiting Oman counterpart, Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, discussed about the investment project during their bilateral meeting here on Thursday. "In addition to the bilateral cooperation, Indonesia also wishes to intensify its economic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation (GCC), where Oman is one of the member countries," Marsudi noted. The oil refinery is expected to have a capacity of 300 thousand barrels per day and be operational by 2025.

RI pushing LNG exports amid excess supply The Jakarta Post 13th Mar 2019
The government is looking to increase liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports to counterbalance the high imports of oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which have been blamed for causing the continuing trade deficit. The government recently gave the green light for United Kingdom-based oil giant BP to export 84 cargoes of LNG from its Tangguh LNG project in West Papua to Singapore, with the first shipment scheduled for next year. The government was also in the process of selling another 40 cargoes of LNG from 2021 to 2025, said Djoko Siswanto, the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry oil and gas director general. “We still have [so] many cargoes that haven’t been sold yet. […] for 2021 to 2025, we have 40 unsold cargoes of LNG from BP and Bontang [Badak LNG Plant in East Kalimantan],” he said at an LNG workshop for investors in Jakarta recently. LNG is different to LPG, more than 70 percent of which is still imported because of an insufficient supply of gas that has LPG characteristics.

Bukit Asam, Antam join forces to build power plants The Jakarta Post 13th Mar 2019
State-owned coal mining firm PT Bukit Asam plans to diversify its business by establishing a joint venture with state-owned diversified miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) to build steam and diesel power plants in East Halmahera, North Maluku. Bukit Asam president director Arviyan Arifin told a press briefing in Jakarta on Monday that his company would hold a 75 percent stake in the venture and Antam the other 25 percent. The joint venture would invest US$350 million for the development of a steam power plant with a generation capacity of 3x60 megawatts and a diesel-fueled plant with a capacity of 3x17 MW, both for the supply of electricity to Antam's ferronickel factory in East Halmahera, he said. The plants are estimated to consume 650,000 tons of coal per year, supplied by Bukit Asam. "We are conducting feasibility studies at the moment. We expect the power plants to begin operations by 2023," Arviyan said.

Indonesia plans to fuel all diesel power plants with CPO within two years The Jakarta Post 11th Mar 2019
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan says the government is giving state-owned electricity company PLN two years to fuel all diesel power plants in the country with biodiesel made from crude palm oil (CPO). Speaking before hundreds of students and other Indonesians living in Japan, Jonan said in Tokyo on Sunday that PLN was currently carrying out a study on how to convert CPO into fuel that could be used for diesel power plants. “PLN is trying to use palm oil. Currently, the Plaju refinery [in South Sumatra] converts palm oil into diesel fuel,” said Jonan in a statement received on Monday. Jonan was in Japan to explain to the Indonesians in the country the achievements made in energy development during the four years President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has been in office.  Indonesian Ambassador to Japan Arifin Tasrif also attended the event at the Indonesian Embassy. The government had made it mandatory for refineries to produce 20 percent blended biodiesel ( B20 ) since September last year and currently it has been conducting research into the use of B100 biodiesel as the major source of energy in trying to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels.

Malaysia

MESTECC to tender out RM3.2b projects New Straits Times 21st Mar 2019
The government will tender out RM3.2 billion renewable energy (RE) and energy efficient projects this year. Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (MESTECC) Yeo Bee Yin said the projects included retrofitting up to 50 government buildings devices so as to be more efficient in energy usage. “The pilot project will involve about RM200 million,” Yeo told reporters at the Greenification of Malaysia dialogue session organised by the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) here today. Also present at the media briefing were MIDF group managing director Datuk Charon Mokhzani, MIDF Amanah Investment Bhd deputy chief executive officer Datuk Dominic Silva and head of debts Julie Gwee. Yeo said there would be an open tender of which companies are invited to submit their bids to retrofit existing government buidings with energy saving devices. She also said the government had appointed the Securities Commission to form a green financing taskforce to find easier ways for the private sector to raise funds for green projects.

Minister: Govt hopes to boost renewable energy growth with net metering programme Malay Mail 19th Mar 2019
The government is looking into energy efficiency and renewable energy (RE) to reduce electricity bills and decarbonising the government’s administration, said Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change (MESTECC), Yeo Bee Yin. In a statement from the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) today, she said by introducing new policies like the net energy metering (NEM) programme, the government hopes it can catalyse and scale up the RE growth in the country. The NEM programme is a solar photovoltaic (PV) initiative by MESTECC to encourage Malaysia’s renewable energy uptake. Under the programme, energy produced from the installed solar PV system will be consumed first, and any excess exported to Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) on a “one-on-one” offset basis. The scheme is applicable to all domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors as long as they are TNB customers.

Country's first waste-to-energy plant to start operations in June Malaysiakini 16th Mar 2019
The country's first waste-to-energy (WTE) plant in Tanah Merah, Negeri Sembilan, is on schedule to begin operations in June. Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, who visited the plant yesterday, said the plant met standards set by the Department of Environment. According to Bernama, Zuraida expressed satisfaction over the status of the plant and said it was similar to the ones she had visited abroad. However, she said some issues, such as connecting roads, needed attention and she would facilitate discussions between the project owner Cypark Resources Bhd and the state government. Cypark is a renewable energy, environmental technology and engineering firm. According to The Edge, Cypark had received a 25-year concession agreement in 2015 to build and operate the plant.

MGA advocates natural gas as a perfect partner to renewables Borneo Post Online 15th Mar 2019
With the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change’s (MESTECC) recent focus on expanding the contribution of renewables sources to the power sector, the Malaysian Gas Association (MGA) strongly advocates the increasingly important role that natural gas plays globally in transitioning to a sustainable energy mix and how Malaysia can emulate this to ensure the nation’s energy sustainability. With MESTECC’s 2019 Initiatives striving to achieve 20 per cent renewable energy capacity mix and eight per cent savings through energy efficiency by 2025, the inherent properties of natural gas as the cleanest burning fossil fuel, makes it the perfect partner to achieve these targets. Following a briefing session with MESTECC’s Energy Division, MGA President, Hazli Sham Kassim said, “Given the growing global call for climate action, MGA applauds Minister Yeo Bee Yin and her ministry for setting a clear direction through MESTECC’s 2019 Initiatives with actionable steps to build a low carbon economy for the country and achieve the government’s COP 21 goals.” “Natural gas is a viable option to strengthen peninsular Malaysia’s electricity grid, optimise the reserve margin, improve system reliability and mitigate any intermittencies in renewable power generation, especially solar PV, thus providing a long-term energy solution for a sustainable future,” he added. Similar sentiments were also echoed during the recent 9th International Indonesia Gas Conference and Exhibition (IndoGas 2019) in Jakarta where he spoke.

TNB to collaborate with South Korean companies for virtual power plant technology The Edge Markets 14th Mar 2019
Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) wholly-owned subsidiary, TNB Research Sdn Bhd, has signed a research collaboration agreement worth US$7 million with South Korea’s I-On Communications and KH Shinhwa SnC to introduce virtual power plant technology in Malaysia. TNB Research chief strategy officer Dr Mohd Fadzli Mohd Siam said the investment was part of "Reimagining TNB” initiative towards renewable energy. "We hope with this collaboration, we can commercialise it after three years," he told reporters after the signing ceremony which was witnessed by the country’s visiting trade, industry and energy minister Yunmo Sung here, today. He said the technology uses a battery with the capacity of generating up to 1 Megawatt of electricity which could also better regulate electricity supply via renewable sources when there is a surge in demand. "With the power it produces, it can also support the grid when needed and during peak demand," said Mohd Fadzli adding that they would place batteries in five different locations in Klang Valley for trial purposes within the next three years.

Oil and gas reserves can last 10 years, Dewan Rakyat told Free Malaysia Today 13th Mar 2019
Malaysia’s oil and gas reserves are expected to last 10 years based on the annual average production rate, the economic affairs minister told the Dewan Rakyat today. Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) has to carry on searching for new reserves within and outside the country to ensure the sustainability of the petroleum resources in Malaysia, Azmin Ali said. “This is, in particular, referring to the deepwater wells. However, the cost in oil and gas exploration is high, amounting to about 70% and 80% of the production cost because of the complexity and risks Petronas has to face,” he said in a written reply. Azmin was answering a question from Hasan Arifin (BN-Rompin) who wanted to know how many unexplored oil and natural gas reservoirs were left in Malaysia. Hasan also asked how long the oil and natural gas reserves could last. Azmin said there were around 6.7 billion boe (barrels of oil equivalent) of oil and gas reserves left in Malaysia.

TNB, PWD ink renewable energy collaboration The Sun Daily 11th Mar 2019
Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), through its wholly owned subsidiary, TNBX Sdn Bhd (TNBX) and the Public Works Department (PWD) are undertaking a feasibility study on the installation of rooftop solar on PWD buildings under TNB Solar Energy Purchase Programme. The study is one of the five areas of collaboration that both parties are considering under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed yesterday. The non-binding and non-exclusive three-year MoU was signed by TNBX managing director, Ir. Nirinder Singh Johl while PWD was represented by deputy director-general (specialist sector), Ir. Kamaluddin Abdul Rashid. Ir. Nirinder described the signing of the MoU as a teamwork of two like-minded entities, keen to address energy management issues. “Hopefully, this initiative will raise awareness for a greater need for energy management in Malaysia,” he said in a statement. Under the MoU, TNB would invest, design, install and maintain the solar PV system on PWD buildings throughout a 20 to 25 year contract period. With the installation of the rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system with TNBX, PWD would enjoy the benefits of clean electricity at zero capital upfront cost.

Myanmar

Kachin Gov’t Set to Reject Mongolian Mining Proposal The Irrawaddy 21st Mar 2019
The Kachin State government has decided to shelve a Mongolian company’s proposal to conduct a feasibility study on the extraction of gold and other minerals in Myanmar’s largest national conservation area, a sanctuary nearly triple the size of Singapore in Kachin’s northernmost township, due to serious environmental concerns. The project was proposed by Inner Mongolia Duojin Investment Company Ltd, according to the Kachin State Forest Department. The proposal covers an area of 492,900 acres in Putao Township including Hkakaborazi National Park and its southern extension area, which together form the largest national park in the country, as well as the ASEAN Heritage Park-Hponkan Razi Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to globally threatened wildlife species including the black musk deer, red panda and white-bellied heron. The area also covers protected forests in the township’s Northern Mountain Forest Complex; these include subtropical evergreen forests, mixed deciduous forests, pine-rhododendron forests and alpine meadows. Amid a backlash from environmentalist and local residents, the Kachin State cabinet and related departments held a meeting on the issue on Tuesday. At the meeting, the Forest Department submitted a review recommending that the project not be allowed.

Investors to be invited to boost LPG, CNG businesses Eleven Media Group 23rd Mar 2019
Investors will be invited to boost gas exploration as well as LPG and CNG businesses, said Union Minister Win Khaing for Electricity and Energy. He said investment in such businesses would help improve Myanmar's electricity sector. "To improve the electricity sector, we will invite investors to cooperate with us in exploring gas and developing LPG and CNG businesses and factories as well as solar energy," said the minister. According to sources from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, tenders will soon be opened to operate 33 oil and gas blocks—15 offshore blocks and 18 onshore blocks. At Myanmar investment forum held in Nay Pyi Taw on January 28, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations Thaung Tun said more blocks in Myanmar's offshore areas would soon be put to tender. Plans are underway to engage in LPG as a strategic business for its extensive use in industrial and transport sectors as well as for kitchen purposes. It is targeted that LPG will be distributed to 1 million households in villages by 2020.  

Company vows to supply solar power to 500 villages The Myanmar Times 21st Mar 2019
Mandalay Yoma Solar Energy, which operates solar mini-grids to power rural regions, will generate solar power in 500 villages within three to five years, the company said. “First, we will supply electricity to 50 villages, and we estimate that up to 500 villages will be electrified within three to five years,” said Nathalie Riseau, the company’s director.  Mandalay Yoma signed a cooperation agreement for the work with Engie, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the world. The company now operates solar mini-grids in Sagaing, Magwe and Mandalay regions and plans to install 50 solar power systems in 2019-2020.

Ministry will build over 1,000 megawatts power stations within one and a half year: official Eleven Media Group 19th Mar 2019
Ministry of Electricity and Energy is planning to build over 1,000 megawatts power stations within one and a half year time and will supply electricity using 500 KV power lines across Myanmar without interrupted, said Union Minister Win Khaing of the Electricity and Energy on March 16. At the present, the power line can carry up to 300 megawatts and the ministry has power stations which only can generate under 300 megawatts. “The power stations built in the future will be generated over 1,000 megawatts. We are building 500 KV power line to connect Meiktila, Taungoo, Bayargyi and Yangon and it will be the main back-bone of connecting between northern, southern, eastern and western grips. The ministry can supply electricity to anywhere in Myanmar using the national grip within one and a half year or two year time without interrupted,” said the minister. Myanmar is now generating about 3,800 megawatts of electricity and it can generate 3,000 megawatts more within three year time, added the minister. The demand of electricity is increased about 19 per cent annually and it needed between 300 and 500 megawatts annually. The government needs to set long term and short term plans to fulfill the electricity in line with the requirement, he continued.

Philippines

Palace signs into law measure cutting red tape from energy projects Business World 18th Mar 2019
PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act, which seeks to streamline the permit-issuing process for power generation, transmission, and distribution projects. Malacañang released to reporters on Thursday a copy of Republic Act No. 11234, which Mr. Duterte signed on March 8. The law provides for the establishment of an Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop, to be supervised by the Department of Energy (DoE). The DoE is authorized to operate and maintain “an effective information technology infrastructure system, which shall be updated regularly, subject to the provisions of this Act.” The new law applies to all new power generation, transmission, and distribution projects and all government agencies, including local government units (LGUs), and government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) involved in the permit-issuing process of power generation, transmission, or distribution projects. EVOSS will serve as “an online payment system for all fees imposed for applications for permits and/or certifications necessary for, or related to, applications for power generation, transmission, or distribution projects.”

Energy dep’t issues draft storage rules to support renewables Business World 1st Apr 2019
THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) has released a draft circular covering the regulation and operation of energy storage systems (ESS) after proponents of the technology raised concerns about the lack of a governing policy framework. In its draft rules, the DoE said among the reasons for drafting the circular is the continued load dropping in the Visayas power grid because of the intermittency of the operations of variable renewable energy generating plants in the area.

Power grid operator flags spike in demand Business World 28th Mar 2019
THE NATIONAL GRID Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is bracing for power demand to hit a record high in this year’s dry season, prompting the privately owned grid system operator to call on consumers to use energy efficiently. “Peak power periods in Luzon are expected within the months of April and May, with the rising temperatures prompting a spike in demand,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Philippines considering nuclear energy The ASEAN Post 22nd Mar 2019
Nuclear energy might be coming to the Philippines soon after an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team of experts concluded an eight-day mission in December to review the country's infrastructure development for nuclear power. The Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) was conducted at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant after an invitation by the Philippines government. Currently, the Philippines is the only country in ASEAN with a completed nuclear power plant.  Philippines’ Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the Philippines is "openly considering" the feasibility of introducing nuclear power as a means of addressing its energy security and energy equity. With a fast-growing economy, the Philippines’ demand for energy is expected to triple by 2040. The IAEA noted that the Philippines is following a systematic approach to finalise its nuclear power strategy and complete the associated infrastructure development. Cusi said results from the INIR mission will help the Philippines focus its efforts on the identified gaps, accelerate the legislative process and prepare the national decision. 

Department of Energy warns of higher fuel prices Philippines Star 22nd Mar 2019
The Department of Energy (DOE) warns of higher fuel prices amid tight supply in the international market. Recent world events have once again pushed the prices of oil in the local market. The DOE has observed the continuing decline of oil production by members of the Oil Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as well as by countries outside of OPEC. Saudi Arabia—a major contributor to world oil supply—has steadily reduced its crude oil production by 336,000 barrels per day (B/D) this month, bringing the total OPEC reduction to around 1.6 million B/D to-date. Further cuts on exported crude oil from Saudi Arabia are expected next month, with the announced reduction of an additional 635,000 B/D. Meanwhile, the DOE said sanctions imposed by the United States on Venezuela and Iran had also affected world oil prices.

ERC releases 3rd draft on proposed rules on power-supply contracting BusinessMirror 22nd Mar 2019
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is soliciting comments from industry stakeholders on the third draft on the proposed rules for power-supply contracting. The proposed “Rules Governing the Procurement, Execution, and Evaluation of Power Supply Agreements Entered Into by Distribution Utilities for the Supply of Electricity to their Captive Market” aim to prescribe guidelines on default contractual provisions and minimum standard format in order to make the process of power-supply contracting clear and efficient, said the regulator.

Sorsogon hosts climate talks, fetes renewable energy BusinessMirror 21st Mar 2019
Recognizing the Southern Luzon region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and the effects of climate change, a landmark Climate Challenge Summit was organized by the provincial government of Sorsogon and The Climate Reality Project–Philippines, which aimed to raise awareness among local communities on the importance of environmental conservation, sustainability and cleaner energy. The event coincided with the first Geothermal Energy Day celebrated by the province, after Governor Robert Lee Rodrigueza recently signed Executive Order 001-2019 declaring every 5th of March as a special commemoration of the vital role that geothermal plays in the progress of the province. The executive order recognizes geothermal energy as the “pioneer renewable energy resource in the Philippines” that can provide clean and reliable baseload power. Sorsogon is a province rich in geothermal resource and is host to the 140-megawatt Bacon-Manito (Bacman) Geothermal Project, which supplies power to the Luzon grid. The climate summit, held at the Sorsogon State University, guested local government officials as well as stakeholders from various sectors of society in a dialogue and learning session on geothermal energy production.

Youth group says no to coal-fired power plants in Philippines island province Eco-Business 19th Mar 2019
The Philippines took another step towards a greener future when the local officials of Negros Occidental, a province in the Visayan region, issued an executive order on March 6 declaring the province as coal-free, and signing a mandate to pursue clean and renewable energy projects. The announcement immediately impacts—and writes out—plans to build coal-fired power plants in the province, including a 300-megawatt plant proposed last year by SMC Global Power Holdings Corporation, one of the Philippines’ biggest conglomerates. The announcement was made as the largest youth-led mobilisation for climate action in the country made their voices heard outside the provincial capitol building. At a time when youth-led strikes worldwide are influencing climate governance, the Negrosanon youth made their own stand for their future.

Floating solar testbed to battle Filipino typhoons PV Tech 19th Mar 2019
The Philippines' first and biggest floating solar (FPV) testbed, which is under construction in Southeast Asia's third-largest lake, aims to demonstrate how the technology combined with a screw piling method can withstand typhoons in a region that has on average 20 storms each year. Filipino renewable energy developer SunAsia Energy recently completed the first segment of this 20.5kW floating PV testbed that is owned by its subsidiary NorteSol Energy. The system uses modules from Chinese manufacturer Trina Solar, with half the plant using aluminium-framed panels and the other half frameless panels. More modules from other manufacturers will also be tested in a second phase. The project is located on Laguna Lake, 55 kilometres south of the business district of Makati City, which is part of the huge Manila metropolis, on the northern island of Luzon. Theresa Capellan, president of SunAsia Energy told PV Tech that the results of the testbed would be shared at a floating solar conference in June - adding: "We will scale up to utility size FPV as soon as the testbed yields a favourable outcome, which we are optimistic about."

PH to Host Largest Regional Energy Conference Philippines Information Agency 16th Mar 2019
The Philippines is slated to hold two important regional energy industry conferences for the next two years.  Led by the Department of Energy (DOE) in cooperation with the Department of Tourism and other local energy industry stakeholders, the country will host two biennial events of the Association of Electricity Supply Industry of East Asia and the Western Pacific (AIESIEP) - the AESIEAP CEO Conference in 2019 and the Conference of Electric Power Supply Industry (CEPSI) in 2020.  The formal announcement of the Philippine hosting of AESIEAP 2019-2020 will be made at a joint press conference to be held at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, 19 March 2019, at the DOE’s headquarters in Taguig City.   DOE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said, “AESIEAP 2019-2020 will give the Philippine energy family an opportunity to participate in the discourse on the best power generation, transmission and distribution practices of our neighbors in the region and the Western Pacific. This would help us come up with innovative strategies that would bring us closer to our goal of providing stable, reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity services throughout the entire archipelago.”

Energy permitting processes streamlined with signing of Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop Act Manila Bulletin 14th Mar 2019
President Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11234 or the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop (EVOSS) Act which aims to streamline the permitting process of power generation, transmission, and distribution projects in the Philippines. The law, signed by the President on March 8, is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1439 and House Bill No. 8417. RA 11234 is said to be a landmark anti-red tape measure seeking to modernize and streamline the permitting process of power generation, transmission, and distribution projects in the country. The measure establishes a Shop under the Department of Energy (DOE). It will establish an online platform called the EVOSS where prospective developers can apply, monitor, and receive all the needed permits and applications, submit all documentary requirements, and even pay for charges and fees. It will also supply an online platform for government agencies to coordinate and share information, as well as, provide a paperless and electronic application and processing system in the application for a new generation, transmission, or distribution project.

More foreign firms eye gas, oil sector Philippines Star 11th Mar 2019
More foreign firms are keen on investing in the country’s oil and gas exploration sector, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). Foreign firms have expressed interest in pre-determined areas (PDAs) offered under Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), DOE Undersecretary Donato Marcos said. “For the PDAs, there are nine nominations which are mostly foreign companies, while there are 10 parties who have nominated new areas for oil and gas exploration activities,” he said. The PCECP offers 14 pre-determined areas and the option for investors to propose their own exploration area, making oil and gas exploration a dynamic investment prospect for players in the energy sector.  Among the foreign companies with serious interest in the Philippine oil and gas sector is Israeli firm Ratio Petroleum Ltd., DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said.

Singapore

Singapore and Vietnam to explore tie-ups in energy, Industry 4.0 The Business Times 14th Mar 2019
Singapore and Vietnam will explore collaborations in smart cities and energy, as well as Industry 4.0 and start-ups, with both countries' ministers discussing possibilities at the 14th Singapore Vietnam Connectivity Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on March 13. Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing co-chaired the meeting with Vietnam’s Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung. On smart cities, for instance, both sides expressed interest to work together in key Vietnamese cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang. In energy, both sides were keen to collaborate further on LNG (liquefied natural gas) and solar-related projects, as part of two Memoranda of Understanding signed in 2018 by Enterprise Singapore with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Department of Oil, Gas and Coal and Electricity Renewable Energy Authority. Also discussed was how private sector companies in both countries could be involved in implementing Vietnam's Industry 4.0 development plans, as well as how to strengthen ties between both countries' start-up ecosystems.

Two Singapore consortia to develop, trial driverless road cleaning vehicles The Straits Times 21st Mar 2019
Two consortia in Singapore will be undertaking the design, development and trial of driverless vehicles for road cleaning, having been awarded research and development projects by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Ministry of Transport. One consortium comprises Nanyang Technological University, Enway, Veolia ES Singapore Industrial and Wong Fong Engineering Works; the other comprises ST Engineering Land Systems and 800 Super Waste Management, the agencies said in a joint statement on Thursday (March 21). The two consortia will develop and trial one "autonomous environmental service vehicle" (AESV) each, and apply autonomous vehicle (AV) technology to commercial mechanical road sweepers. This will be carried out over 18 months, which includes a one-year development phase, followed by a proof-of-concept (POC) trial over six months.

Thailand

PTT raising R&D funds for disruption Bangkok Post 29th Mar 2019
SET-listed PTT Plc, the national oil and gas conglomerate, plans to increase its budget for R&D activities from 1% of annual net profit to 3% by 2021. President and chief executive Chansin Treenuchagron said 1% of PTT's net profit has been allocated to R&D for the past two decades, but the results have not been exploited for commercial purposes. The company is changing its R&D direction to cope with disruptive technology in the energy sector. "The higher budget means PTT is keen on efficient spending for future R&D projects, and we expect the research to be used commercially," he said. Before promotion to the top position at PTT, Mr Chansin was former chief technology and engineering officer in 2017. He set the direction for R&D activities in that capacity. Most of the projects the last two decades focused on finding cleaner fuels; more efficient lubricants; gasohol E10, E20 and E85; biodiesel B3, B5, B7 and B10; and other raw materials to make fuels such as algae and biofuel. "Renewable energy technology is fast approaching, as power is already generated from renewable resources, with energy storage the latest trend," said Mr Chansin.

TOP looks into naphtha redirection Bangkok Post 26th Mar 2019
SET-listed Thai Oil Plc (TOP), Thailand's biggest oil refiner by capacity, is considering adding value to petroleum naphtha, made at its Clean Fuel Project (CFP), after witnessing stiff market sentiment for naphtha makers across Asia. President and chief executive Atikom Terbsiri said the CFP is projected to have capacity of 1 million tonnes of petroleum naphtha per year, but the naphtha market remains murky at the global level. "TOP plans to make value-added petroleum naphtha, moving away from the production of commodity-grade naphtha," he said. "TOP is considering either developing it by itself or forming a joint venture with other PTT companies." Petroleum naphtha is a hydrocarbon liquid stream, derived from refining crude oil to be a raw material for general plastics. It is added to engineering plastic. Mr Atikom said this plan will be considered alongside the CFP, which is being constructed and developed, with TOP hoping to conclude the plan by 2019.

PEA joins up with SCB to boost services The Nation 26th Mar 2019
In a bid to enter the digital ecosystem, the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) is collaborating with Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) to develop PEA Energy Intelligence, a fully integrated digital service to help manage business and household utility needs. Aiming to unlock the PEA Hero Platform’s potential to boost energy consumption standards, the new service will analyse existing electricity systems, from procuring and certifying suppliers to installing equipment to boost the efficiency of power consumption, PEA deputy governor Khammarat Sartpreecha said yesterday. SCB’s Wasin Saiyawan said the bank was ready to seamlessly accommodate funding needs for all groups listed in the platform, ranging from large corporations and industrial estates to business operators and households. The bank hopes that offering a full range of convenient services on the platform will help reduce the cost of energy, boost efficiency of energy management and sustain overall energy consumption. 

Thailand rises three places in  WEF energy transition index  The Nation 26th Mar 2019
Siri said that this year, Thailand was preparing to push legal amendments and get rid of obstacles to attain a higher WEF rank. Thailand was ranked 54th last year. The improvement in ranking is a result of the WEF view that Thailand has energy stability without emitting too much greenhouse gas, he said, pointing out that Thailand has earned compliments for more use of renewable energy as the country’s main energy. Thailand has a plan to increase the use of renewable energy to 35 per cent of total energy used in the next 20 years from the current 14 per cent, Siri said. Besides, the country is moving towards power production from solar rooftops on residential units, the so-called people-sector solar power for the first time. Meanwhile, Thailand needs more development of energy human resources, particularly the 10,000-watt people-sector solar policy in the next 20 years and the future use of electric vehicles (EVs).  “Such ranking is based on Thailand’s Power Development Plan [PDP]. If PDP 2018 is included, it is believed the ranking would be higher, with its drive for clean energy, particularly people-sector solar,” Siri said.

Energy Regulatory Commission eyes B40bn from solar power projects Bangkok Post 21st Mar 2019
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) expects to create new investment value of 40 billion baht from its new 10,000-megawatt solar power projects for households from 2019-2028. The country's power regulator on Wednesday launched the solar photovoltaic (PV) scheme for local household rooftops with a pilot capacity of 100MW. The state grid plans to buy the electricity from solar rooftops, offering a feed-in tariff of 1.68 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) for 10-year contracts. Two state-run agencies, the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, will buy output of 70MW and 30MW, respectively. Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said households intending to participate in the scheme can register with the ERC in May. "The ERC expects to grant the solar rooftop licences in June," said Mr Siri.

PTTEP acquires Malaysia oil firm Bangkok Post 21st Mar 2019
PTT Exploration and Production Plc on Thursday acquired Murphy Oil Corp in Malaysia in a deal worth $2.12 billion (67.25 billion baht) to strengthen its long-term growth in Southeast Asia. The deal, made through its subsidiary, PTTEP HK Offshore Ltd, includes five petroleum exploration and production projects in Sabah and Sarawak states of the neighbouring country. “The acquisition is highly significant to PTTEP’s growth in both the short and long term, strengthening our business in alignment with the strategic plan," PTTEP president and chief executive officer Phongsthorn Thavisin said. "We expect that it will boost up net sales volume around 48,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day immediately.”

Egat to open LNG supplier bid next month Bangkok Post 20th Mar 2019
State-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) is to hold an auction between April and June this year to find a supplier for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG). Tawatchai Jakpaisal, deputy governor for the fuel sector at Egat, said registrants who qualify for the auction are expected to submit documents by April 18 and by the end of April a shortlist will be announced. In early May, the Egat board and the cabinet are expected to approve the auction process. In June, a final winner will be announced and will sign a purchase contract. The first shipment of LNG is expected in September at the receiving terminal owned and operated by national oil and gas conglomerate PTT. The terminal in Rayong's Map Ta Phut has a capacity of 10 million tonnes. Mr Tawatchai said LNG volume for the first year is expected at 280,000 tonnes, followed by 1.5 million tonnes in 2020.

Electricity agency, Laos renew PPAs Bangkok Post 19th Mar 2019
State-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) has signed two renewal power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Electric de Laos (EDL) to buy power from two hydroelectric plants: Nam Ngum 1 and Say-sed dams. Two existing PPAs end in March and both state-owned agencies have calculated new purchasing rates to reflect the actual cost of power generation. "Thailand will buy electricity from those two projects that have 300-400 megawatts," said Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan. Egat will purchase at a rate of 1.8 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) during peak hours and 1.53 baht per unit during off-peak hours. The average purchasing rate for Egat will stand at 1.63 baht per unit. The existing PPAs had purchasing rates of 1.33 baht per unit. EDL, the Laotian state enterprise, can sell the electricity to its own country if Laos has insufficient power.

Wasting away to make energy Bangkok Post 18th Mar 2019
Many private companies in the Thai renewable energy field are pleased with the new version of the national power development plan (PDP) for 2018-37. The PDP calls for gradually opening up investor participation in waste-to-energy power projects, setting a goal of 500 megawatts from such fuel, representing 30% of total renewable resources by 2037. Part of the impetus for this type of energy generation is that waste management has been put on the national agenda to help eliminate waste pollution in the country. The Pollution Control Department forecasts average solid waste in Thailand to increase from 40,662 tonnes per day in 2008 to 42,900 in 2023. More than 50% of waste heads to landfills and has done so for more than four decades. There were several complicated conditions and regulations that were a barrier to developing a waste-to-energy sector in Thailand during 2012-15, according to the Energy Regulatory Commission.

PTT buys palm oil for biodiesel Bangkok Post 14th Mar 2019
PTT Plc, the national oil and gas conglomerate, has agreed to buy 100,000 tonnes of crude palm oil to produce biodiesel for export in a collaborative move to shore up domestic fresh palm nut prices. Jariya Sutthichaiya, secretary-general of the Office of Agricultural Economics, said at the National Oil Palm Policy Committee meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday the group endorsed PTT’s purchase plan. The government initiative is to drain the existing 400,000 tonnes of crude oil palm stock. Thailand normally maintains a crude palm oil stock of 250,000 tonnes a year. The Commerce Ministry estimated some 3 million tonnes of crude palm oil would hit the market this year, up from 2.5 million tonnes in 2018. Last year’s volume left a surplus of 500,000 tonnes, and the government moved to increase the methyl ester content to 20% in biodiesel, or B20, as well as using crude palm oil to generate electricity. Ms Jariya said the committee also authorised the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) increasing the use of crude oil palm for power generation at the Bang Pakong plant at a level of 1,500 tonnes per month, up from 1,000 tonnes. Previously, Egat agreed to absorb 160,000 tonnes of crude palm oil for power generation.

ERC introduces 100MW household solar scheme Bangkok Post 14th Mar 2019
Energy policymakers are ready to allow new solar power projects for households, with a plan to buy an initial capacity of 100 megawatts, offering a feed-in tariff of 1.68 baht per kilowatthour (unit) for 10-year contracts. Yesterday Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan met with 50 importers, assemblers and distributors of solar panels to brief them about the new scheme. A public hearing for the scheme is scheduled from March 18 to April 1 and two state-run agencies, the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, will buy surplus output of 70MW and 30MW, respectively. Khomgrich Tantravanich, deputy secretary-general of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), said it will announce the scheme’s details on March 20. “Under the plan, May to July will be the registration period for households wanting to participate. The ERC will announce the shortlist by August,” he said. “Contracts should be signed in October, and each household has to distribute power to the grid by 2019.” Eligible households have to install solar panels with at least a 10 kilowatt-peak per electric meter, said Mr Khomgrich.

Key parties push renewable power Bangkok Post 14th Mar 2019
Encouraging and promoting the development of renewable energy in the industrial sector should be a top priority to improve the economy over the next decade amid increasingly sophisticated disruptive technology, according to major political parties. The Fellowship of Energy Reform for Sustainability held a debate yesterday about the parties’ energy policies, with many party representatives pushing renewable power, biofuels and electric vehicles (EVs) as the next step for the sector. Atthawit Suwanpakdee, an MP candidate from the Democrat Party, said renewable resources are expected to account for a quarter of Thailand’s power generation in the power development plan, up from 5% now. The national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc should be promoted to spearhead the renewable power sector, he said. “PTT should be the leader of the green energy sector. The energy and power sectors also have to be deregulated to create a more competitive environment,” said Mr Atthawit. He said solar power should be promoted for households, enabling them to sell excess power to others, similar to power companies.

Vietnam

LNG may replace coal in Vietnam's $7.8 billion power project WorldOil 21st Mar 2019
Vietnam’s latest plans for $7.8 billion in gas-fired power projects may see the nation become one of the world’s newest liquefied natural gas importers and cut its coal use. The Ninh Thuan provincial government on Wednesday said it met with Thailand’s Gulf Energy Development over plans to build four gas-fired plants, with total capacity of about 6,000 megawatts, as well as LNG import facilities, it said on its website Wednesday. Gulf Energy declined to comment. “This LNG project will help replace some of the existing coal-fire power,” Hoang Quoc Vuong, Vietnam’s deputy minister of industry and trade, said by telephone. “We will definitely need to import LNG for these new plants.” The Ca Na LNG project would bolster Vietnam’s entry into the ranks of LNG buyers, adding further demand to the fastest growing fossil fuel market, and give the cleaner-burning fuel an inroad into a nation that’s expected to drive regional coal use. A separate 3,200 megawatt project has also been proposed for Bac Lieu province, and analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said in a report earlier this month that Vietnam is expected to join the LNG importing club in 2027 as its domestic gas reserves deplete. To be sure, as electricity demand continues to grow at a fast pace and capacity is constrained, coal plants will run at high utilization rates to serve base load demand, according to Yun Ben Yap, a research analyst at Wood Mackenzie. That means new gas-fired power won’t displace existing or planned coal plants in Vietnam, he said.

Vietnam's graft hunters zero in on Venezuela oil project Nikkei Asian Review 18th Mar 2019
Vietnam's Ministry of Public Security is investigating a loss-making oil and gas project in Venezuela, as Hanoi probes corruption involving state enterprises and the South American country falls deeper into chaos. The Vietnamese authorities have asked state-run Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, better known as PVN, to "provide all documents relating to the implementation of the project" to tap and upgrade the Junin-2 oil field in Venezuela's Orinoco Belt, an area thought to contain the world's largest oil reserves. PVN terminated the contract in December 2013, determining that little progress had been made. But the ministry is looking into suspected legal violations before the termination.

Petrol prices hiked in latest review Vietnam News 2nd Apr 2019
The retail prices of oil and petrol rose sharply on Tuesday following adjustments made by the ministries of finance and industry and trade. The two ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to keep domestic prices up to date with the global market. The retail price of bio-fuel E5 RON 92 has been raised to a maximum of VNĐ18,588 (US$0.8) per litre, up VNĐ1,377, and that of RON 95 no more than VNĐ20,033 ($0.86), up VNĐ1,484. The ceiling prices of diesel and kerosene went up by VNĐ1,219 and VNĐ1,086 to VNĐ17,087 and VNĐ15,971 per litre, respectively. The price of mazut was capped at VNĐ15,210 per kilo, up VNĐ1,127. The price of ethanol E100, which is used to calculate the price of E5 RON 92 after the elimination of petrol RON 92, stood at VNĐ14,725 per litre without VAT. According to the ministries, in the 15 days before April 2, the global price of RON 92, which is used to produce biofuel E5, averaged $75 per barrel. Prices of RON95 were $76.43 per barrel, increasing 4 to 5 per cent from the previous period. The two ministries decided to keep the use of subsidies from the petrol price stabilisation fund unchanged.

Việt Nam seeks investment in energy market Viet Nam News 29th Mar 2019
As one of the most efficient power markets in Southeast Asia, Việt Nam has huge prospects, especially in renewable energy, experts have said. There is need for investment in Việt Nam in production, export capacities and upgrading of infrastructure, Phan Thế Anh, deputy general director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s southern affairs, said. The Government is looking for responsible and sustainable investment that not only secures the future of the country but is also sensitive to the environment, he told the first Electrify Vietnam Summit, which opened on March 28 in HCM City. The country has achieved almost 99 per cent electrification at a relatively low cost compared to its neighbouring countries, he said. The main drivers of energy consumption are industrial growth, urbanisation, increase in residential energy usage, and adoption of mechanised transportation systems. The country’s energy demand is forecast to increase by over 10 per cent a year between 2016 and 2020 and by 8 per cent in 2021-30. Electricity demand is expected to be 265-278 Terawatt hours (TWh) in 2020 to 572-632 TWh in 2030 as against 86 TWh in 2010.

RON95 petrol supply sufficient: Ministry Viet Nam News 28th Mar 2019
Supplies of RON95, one of the two main types of petrol used in Việt Nam, were still sufficient, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade following complaints raised by some distributors about shortages. Distributors said there had been a shortage for nearly two weeks and some petrol stations were forced to hang signs saying they were out of RON95, leaving customers to fill up with bio-fuel E5 RON92. Responding to the concerns, Trần Duy Đông, director of the ministry’s Domestic Market Department on Wednesday, said it was only a temporary shortage due to a power cut at Nghi Sơn Refinery. The ministry has instructed the refinery to quickly resolve the incident. The refinery resumed operations today. In addition, the MoIT has asked big petrol enterprises such as Việt Nam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) to increase imports from South Korea or even other markets with higher prices and taxes to ensure local supplies.

VN stocks pick up as petro firms boosted by oil price increases Viet Nam News 28th Mar 2019
Vietnamese shares advanced on Wednesday as an increase of oil prices helped boost petroleum stocks but worries about trading liquidity overshadowed market progress. The benchmark VN-Index on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange gained 0.63 per cent to close at 975.91 points. The VN-Index fell total 1.92 per cent in the first two trading days of the week. It has lost total 3.55 per cent in the last fortnight since breaking through the six-month high of 1,011.86 points on March 18. The HNX-Index on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange added 0.67 per cent to end at 107.56 points, totalling a two-day growth rate of 1.08 per cent. More than 186.8 million shares were traded on the two local exchanges, worth VNĐ3.94 trillion (US$169.2 million). The petroleum and energy sector played the main role to pick the market up on higher crude prices. According to Bloomberg, Brent crude leapt 1.3 per cent on Tuesday overnight trade and gained as much as 0.26 per cent during Wednesday.

With latest increase, electricity prices move towards market mechanism Viet Nam News 22nd Mar 2019
Although people and businesses don’t want the price of electricity and other commodities to increase, it is necessary to raise these prices to balance the economy in a multidimensional way. The statement was made by chief economist of the Bank for Investment and Development of Việt Nam (BIDV), Cấn Văn Lực, during an online forum held in Hà Nội on Thursday. The forum was organised after the average retail price for power was officially raised by 8.36 per cent starting on Wednesday, from VNĐ1,720 (7.49 US cents) per kWh to VNĐ1,864 (8.03 US cents), excluding value added tax. Different pricing schemes have also been set for households and businesses. Specifically, retail prices for households now range from VNĐ1,678 per kWh to VNĐ2,927 per kWh depending on usage. Prices rise is necessary Previously, the input prices (coal, gas) of power generation enterprises still had the sponsorship of the State. However, since 2019, these input costs are no longer sponsored, making electricity prices increase as a necessary consequence, Lực told Việt Nam News.

Ministry to look into cutting industrial energy use Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) plans to focus its investigations on businesses that use high volumes of energy as part of its mission to save energy. Trịnh Quốc Vũ, deputy director of MoIT’s Department of Energy Saving and Sustainable Development, said the industrial sector accounted for more than 47 per cent of the country’s total energy consumption. “There are many technical solutions to save energy in the industrial sector in Việt Nam,” Vũ said. “Energy use can be cut by 20 to 30 per cent, event 40 per cent in some areas.” Statistics from the ministry showed the country now has 2,497 businesses with the highest level of energy consumption. He said the firms were put in the high-use category if they consume 1,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE), or 6 million kWh, per year. The companies must have staff specialising in saving energy and have an energy audit every three years. They will report on their energy consumption and plans to save energy to authorities in their localities.

Int’l exhibition to showcase electrical technologies, green power Vietnam News 20th Mar 2019
About 600 booths representing enterprises from Việt Nam and 10 other countries and territories will participate in the 12th International Exhibition of Electrical Technology and Equipment (Vietnam ETE) and the 9th International Exhibition of Products, Technologies for Energy Saving and Green Power (Enertec Expo). The event will take place from July 17 to 20 in HCM City, featuring smart electronic devices and technology designed to save energy. On an area of 9,000sq.m, the event gathers various brands from Việt Nam, Germany, France, the US, Japan, China and South Korea. Notably, Korea Electrical Manufacturers Association (Koema) will introduce smart electricity products. Apart from the exhibitions, other specialised activities will take place such as seminars, fact-finding tours and performances.

Two solar power projects approved Vietnam News 18th Mar 2019
Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu People’s Committee has granted in principle approval for two domestic enterprises to develop two solar power plants, with combined investment of more than VNĐ1.5 trillion (US$64.4 million) in the province. The HCM City-based energy development company will pump VNĐ796 billion into the development of a 42ha solar power plant in Tầm Bó reservoir. Meanwhile, the DTD natural energy investment company in HCM City will build a 35 MWp solar power plant on 40ha of water surface in Gia Hoét 1 reservoir at a cost of VNĐ766 billion. Both plants are located in Quảng Thành Commune, Châu Đức District. The southern coastal province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu has favourable conditions for renewable energy. On average, it has from 2,000 to 2,600 sunny hours per year, with radiant intensity of about 5.47kWh per square metre per day.

Solar power complex launched in Đắk Lắk Vietnam News 10th Mar 2019
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình opened the Srepok 1 and Quang Minh Solar Power Plant Complex in Buôn Đôn District in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk on March 9. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Bình said that Đắk Lắk had an important strategic position in terms of economic development and security and defence in the region. "Renewable energy has become a global trend and Việt Nam in general and Đắk Lắk in particular have a lot of potential for solar energy development," he said. The inauguration of the complex and the ongoing implementation of other solar power plant projects would make important contributions to the province’s socio-economic development while ensuring national energy security, Bình added.

Việt Nam-Russia joint venture welcomes first oil flow from Cá Tầm field Vietnam News 10th Mar 2019
The Việt Nam-Russia oil and gas joint venture Vietsovpetro held a ceremony in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to welcome the first flow of oil pumped from the Cá Tầm oil field. Built in March 2018, the CTC1-WHP oilrig is the most important component of Cá Tầm’s development project under a shared production contract signed by the Việt Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam), the PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corporation (PVEP) and Bitexco Group. On February 10, Vietsovpetro put its first well into operation. It plans to open an additional six wells this year, raising the total annual capacity to 766,000 tonnes. In the near future, it will step up oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Cửu Long field, contributing to safeguarding Việt Nam’s sovereignty and economic interests on its continental shelf and territorial waters.

Renewable energy project to go operational in April Vietnam News 9th Mar 2019
The country’s biggest renewable energy project – including solar and wind power plants with total design capacity of 350 Megawatts (MW) – will be put into operation in the coastal province of Ninh Thuận on April 30. General Director of Trung Nam Group Nguyễn Tâm Tiến said the 246-hectare solar and wind power complex would supply 401 million kWh each year for the provincial and national energy grid, and earn annual revenue of US$71 million from power sales. Tiến said the plants would employ 2,000 local workers starting from the end of April. He said the Trung Nam Solar Power Company, a member of the Trung Nam Group, had invested nearly VNĐ5 trillion ($222.2 million) in the first large-scale solar and wind energy hybrid project in coastal Thuận Bắc District. The project, on which construction began last year, has installed 705,000 solar panels and 45 large wind turbines, each 76m tall.