British Business Group Abu Dhabi
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Wed, 9 September 2020
13:00 – 14:00 BST
The center of gravity of the global energy system has shifted towards Asia. In Southeast Asia, energy demand is expected to increase nearly two-thirds by 2040. There is a large need for the development of affordable and accessible energy systems, but at the same time such services may considerably increase the carbon intensity of energy consumption. Reports from the International Energy Agency and the Oxford Institute for Energy studies claim that liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be an affordable and accessible alternative to coal and fuel oil while slowing the growth of energy-related carbon emissions.
There are several challenges surrounding the growth of LNG consumption in Southeast Asia. Relationships along global production networks from production, to transportation, to importation have been largely governed under inflexible long-term contracts due to the high-capital intensity of LNG infrastructure. Furthermore, natural gas markets have been strongly regulated by nation-states due to monopolization propensities in the private sector. Consequentially, unlike other commodities such as oil which are traded through relatively liquid and global markets, LNG markets have largely been exclusive to high-income nations with regulated monopolies with the ability to commit to long-term LNG supply despite considerable market risks. While the political-economy of natural gas markets has been evolving due to market and pricing reforms in Europe and the United States, these reforms have been unevenly implemented in Asia. Natural gas market reforms can be characterized by reregulation instead of deregulation as nation-states must be prevalent in enabling these reforms. The issue is that natural gas market reforms may contradict the internal-politics surrounding energy development and security in emerging economies in Southeast Asia. As the transformation of the political-economy of natural gas markets is constrained, long-term LNG contracts may remain prevalent in the future which subsequently poses considerable energy security and market risk for emerging economies in Southeast Asia.
Alexander Dodge is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and is an affiliated researcher at the Department of Geography at Durham University. He is currently part of a ERSC-funded research project entitled Fraying Ties? Networks, Territory and Transformation in the UK Oil Sector project. The aim of the project is to undertake the first systematic analysis of the evolution and ongoing transformation of the UK’s strategic position in global oil production networks. Findings from the project will foster greater understanding of the trajectories and consequences of transformation in the UK oil sector at a key moment in its evolution.