U.S. Firms Meet ASEAN Energy Ministers, Discuss Ways to Improve Energy Security, Increase Energy Connectivity to Meet Rising Regional Power Demand

(Bangkok, Thailand) - From September 3-6, a delegation of seven major U.S. energy companies participated in the US-ASEAN Business Council’s business mission to the 37th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) and Associated Meetings in Bangkok, Thailand. It was the 9th time that the Council has led a business mission to AMEM, which brings together delegations from the Energy Ministries of all ten ASEAN countries, as well as the countries that participate in the AMEM+3 and the East Asia Summit Energy Ministers Meeting (EAS EMM).

The focus of this year's AMEM echoed the themes of Thailand's ASEAN Chairmanship for 2019, "Advancing Partnership for Sustainability." Discussions centered on the importance of increasing connectivity and enhancing energy security, given the region’s swelling demand and trajectory of becoming a net importer of oil, gas, and coal. The delegation met with ASEAN energy officials to discuss how the build-out of energy infrastructure, especially infrastructure related to liquified natural gas (LNG) and renewable energy sources, could help achieve these goals of increased connectivity and energy security. The delegation also discussed the importance of digital connectivity to ensuring resilience in the energy sector.

In addition, the Council's Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director, Amb. Michael Michalak, delivered opening remarks at the presentation of a report prepared jointly with ASEAN-USAID IGNITE, the ASEAN Centre for Energy, and the Regional Energy Policy & Planning Sub-Sector Network at the 37th ASEAN Energy Business Forum. The report, entitled Digital Technology for ASEAN Energy: How Digitalization can Address ASEAN's Power Sector Challenges, is intended to help ASEAN and ASEAN Member States address high-priority power sector challenges through increased digitalization. It aims to do this by providing useful digital technology and energy sector context, educational and inspirational success stories, and relevant recommendations. The report received a mention in the Joint Ministerial Statement of the 37th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting, with the Ministers noting the completion of the report and that they look forward to the report’s recommendations.

“Demand for power in ASEAN is expected to grow so much that it will add the equivalent of another Japan to global energy demand,” said Ambassador Michalak. “In order to meet its growing energy needs, ASEAN is expected to need at least US$2.7 trillion of cumulative investment over the next two decades. Complicating the matter is the expectation that ASEAN will become a net importer of oil, gas, and coal over this same period. These challenges to energy security pose a serious risk to whether ASEAN can sustain its economic growth trajectory, which has it on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world by 2050.”

“Consequently, the focus of this year’s mission is on how U.S. companies can help ASEAN countries diversify their national energy mixes and enhance energy connectivity, domestically and with other countries in ASEAN,” Ambassador Michalak added. “We wanted to show how U.S. companies and their cutting-edge technology, best practices, and experience in human capacity building can help ASEAN rise to this challenge. U.S. companies stand ready to support ASEAN countries as they seek to expand their power generation capacity and improve the efficiency of how they consume energy."
The delegation was received by senior ASEAN Government energy officials, including:

• H.E. Suy Sem, Minister of Mines and Energy, Cambodia;
• H.E. Arcandra Tahar, Vice Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia;
• H.E. Yeo Bee Yin, Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change, Malaysia;
• H.E. U Win Khaing, Union Minister for Electricity and Energy, Myanmar;
• H.E. Alfonso Cusi, Secretary of Energy, Philippines;
• H.E. Dang Hoang An, Vice Minister of Industry and Trade, Vietnam; and
• The Hon. Frank Fannon, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State.
Over the course of the mission, the delegation also met with Mr. Kulit Sombatsiri, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy of the Kingdom of Thailand; Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, the new Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE), and Mr. Nopporn Chuchinda, Secretary-In-Charge of the ASEAN Council on Petroleum (ASCOPE).

Ambassador Michael W. Michalak led the mission. The leadership of the Energy Committee was represented by the Committee Co-Chairs, with ConocoPhillips represented by Mr. George Kalantzakis, Manager, International Government Affairs & Political Risk, and ExxonMobil represented by Ms. Casey Delhotal, Senior Director, Asia Pacific, International Government Relations.

In addition to ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, Black & Veatch, Cheniere Energy, Chevron, S&P Global and S&P Global Platts, and TE Connectivity also participated in the business mission.

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.