DOE pushes oil exploration in Asean action plan
Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Energy (DOE) pushed for the inclusion of oil exploration as part of the action plan of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the recent 37th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM37), DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi proposed the inclusion of Oil Exploration and Development as the eighth Sub-Sector Network in the updated ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation, and for the ASEAN Council on Petroleum.

He said the annual AMEM presents great opportunities to pursue bilateral talks with the country’s existing and potential energy partners within the region.

“AMEM37 enabled us to engage Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) and the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) on various mutual areas of interest, including energy investment opportunities and joint energy resource exploration and development activities,” he said.

“Given our shared borders, it is imperative that the ASEAN members jointly explore and harness available resources to ensure the region’s energy security and to benefit our people,” Cusi said.

The proposal was welcomed and strongly supported by the Indonesian vice minister for Energy because it aims to revisit its role as one of the main organizations within the ASEAN.

Cusi also called for the further strengthening of energy relations among ASEAN member-countries on a myriad of energy issues, which included, among others, innovations in renewable energy, climate change mitigation, and microgrid utilization.

“Shared borders mean shared responsibilities. It also means we face common challenges in the midst of pursuing our collective vision for the region. Now more than ever, it is vital for the ASEAN to work together,” he said.

He also emphasized the importance of undertaking joint exploration activities with fellow ASEAN member-countries to help the Philippines attain energy security through energy resource exploration and development.

Meanwhile, the Energy chief also conducted bilateral meetings with METI, where he emphasized the relevance of Japan’s ongoing initiative on the Distributed Energy System (DES), that promotes energy innovation and efficiency.

Cusi also expressed the DOE’s interest to be part of METI’s program to evaluate the potential of island provinces and economic zones for DES power generation and electrification projects.

He also met with MEMR vice minister Arcandra Tahar, where he reiterated the country’s aspiration to become the LNG hub in the region, and underscored the need to assess existing development issues on the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Regulations.

“While our backgrounds and nationalities may differ on the surface, we share the goal of invigorating the intra-ASEAN energy relations. A united ASEAN in the energy sector is a crucial component in shaping ASEAN’s future,” Cusi said.

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