Asia needs 'energy settlement'

June 11, 2013 at 3:38 PM
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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 11 (UPI) -- Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has called for a "comprehensive energy settlement" for the Asia-Pacific region.

Speaking at the opening of the 17th annual Asia Oil and Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur Monday, Najib cited the fluctuating world economy and prolonged conflicts in the Middle East as challenges to long-term sustainable economic growth.

"For the Asia-Pacific region, our size and influence mean that these issues assume global significance. We must find a way to bring economic, social and environmental considerations and answer them with a single package, [which is] a comprehensive energy settlement," the New Straits Times quoted him as saying.

He noted a "new global energy landscape" had evolved as the result of the global economy becoming increasingly dependent on secure energy flow.

"Long-held industry expectations for the future of consumption, production and energy intensity may no longer be valid due to climate change and falling prices of clean energy," he added.

Najib praised Malaysian national oil company Petronas, noting it generates more than 40 percent of the national income and is spearheading a key initiative to establish Malaysia as an energy hub in Asia.

Malaysia produced 1.69 million barrels a day of oil equivalent in the first quarter of this year, up 3 percent from 1.64 million barrels a day in the first quarter of 2012, Platts reported.

"And already, there are positive indications. We have halted our decline in domestic production, with 24 new discoveries last year alone. This success belongs to the company, but the dividends will be shared by all Malaysians," the prime minister said.

In his speech at the conference, Shamsul Azhar Abbas, Petronas president and group chief executive officer, said the world is not running out of oil and gas despite decades of drilling and production.

"Owing to new discoveries, technological advances and operational experiences, technically, recoverable resources are estimated to last for the next two centuries at current trends of consumption," he said.

Although energy demand for economic growth is justified, Shamsul said, "it still needs to be managed to ensure efficiency."

Noting that in 2012 petroleum product demand in Asia was 1.3 times greater than that of North America, 1.5 times that of Europe and 8.3 times that of Africa, he said enhancing energy security will be "the single most critical challenge within Asia in the foreseeable future."

Shamsul said although the unconventional resources boom in North America would enhance energy security, "the notion of cheap liquefied natural gas is a fallacy."

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