4th Asia Energy Security Summit Debates Geopolitics of Energy in the Region

Event Partnered by ThinktoSustain.comThe Independent Power Producers Association of India (IPPAI) organized the 4th Asia Energy Security Summit, a Track II Diplomacy Initiative in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 26-28 February 2014, where energy experts from across the globe came together to discuss critical strategies, policies and geopolitical aspects related to energy security for the region. ThinktoSustain.com was the Media Partner for the event.

The Summit focussed on the geopolitical developments in the region and their impact on energy security of nations as well as security of critical energy infrastructure. Opportunities for international cooperation between nations were also deliberated upon and one such discussion focussed on trans-national trade of electricity between Asian nations which could result in connecting Tajikistan to Singapore.

Hon’ble Minister Mr. G. J. L. Neomal Perera, the Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Sri Lanka, set the tone for the conference by saying that “Transcending the realm of mere economics, energy security is now an issue of global politics and human security. As the events of the last decade have demonstrated, this is a determinant of war and peace.”

Mr. G.J.L. Neomal Perera, Sri Lanka
Mr. G.J.L. Neomal Perera, the Deputy Minister of External Affairs, Sri Lanka, arriving to attend the 4th Asia Energy Security Summit held in Colombo, Sri Lanka. © IPPAI

His Excellency Mr. Y. K. Sinha, the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, was of the opinion that planning for assured access to energy is a vital component of national policy and has also impacted the conduct of international relations and realisation of foreign policy objectives of countries.

Referring to India-Sri Lanka relations, he said that India’s engagement across the board in the energy sector constitutes an important pillar of bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He elaborated on the Indian energy cooperation initiatives in Sri Lanka in the areas of power generation, oil & gas exploration, petroleum sector, new & renewable energy, nuclear energy and energy trade.

Hon’ble Minister of Power & Energy, Sri Lanka, was represented by Mr. Ranjit Gunawardana, Additional Secretary from the Ministry. As per the Minister’s message, conserving and embracing energy efficiency, rationalizing pricing and taxation systems, improving energy sector governance, and diversifying energy supply particularly by making use of alternative and renewable resources along with mobility of investments in supplies across multiple sources will be the key factors for energy security of the region.

Experts, policy makers, government officials and industry leaders from over 17 countries as well as senior officials from utilities of Malaysia, Afghanistan, Bhutan and Sri Lanka and multilateral agencies such as Asian Development Bank (ADB) and SAARC Energy Center were present at the Summit. Some of the countries represented by their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs/ Power/ Energy/ Mineral Resources at the summit included Indonesia, Thailand, Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Nepal, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.

His Excellency Mr. Parakhat Durdyev, the Ambassador of Turkmenistan, while addressing the audience in a Keynote Address about the accessibility of Turkmen gas to the rest of Asia said that diversification of natural gas supply to the world markets is an energy policy priority for the Government of Turkmenistan.

The Turkmen-China Gas Pipeline has proved to be the largest energy highway of Eurasia and has proved to be a choice for new geographic routes for Turkmen energy resources. In addition, the East West Gas Pipeline project aims at deepening its potential by connecting all the major fields in the country, thus creating additional opportunities for gas exports to international energy markets, including the promising routes such as the Caspian and Trans-Caspian Pipelines. He said the TAPI Project will not only be a mutually beneficial energy and economic project, it is also an event of great political significance, which confirms the compatibility of interests in the international domain.

The Ambassador of Tajikistan, His Excellency Mr. Saidbeg Saidov, gave an insight into the huge hydropower potential of his country and spoke about the efforts of the Government of Tajikistan to fully realize this potential to facilitate regional energy security and cooperation. He said that with hydropower reserves in the country estimated be to the tune of 527bn KWh of electricity per year and the cost of generation being 0.4 US cents per KWh, hydropower contributes to more than 95% of the overall consumption in the country.

The Government of Tajikistan is working towards regional cooperation initiatives, realizing different investment projects to connect its system with the system of different countries of the region including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and other countries. The agreement between Tajikistan and Afghanistan has been signed to supply electricity to the latter.

He said projects such as the Dashtijum Hydropower Plant with the capacity of 4000MW is one of the most economical and long-term hydropower plants being planned and can be considered as a potential regional project for energy to neighboring countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and China, and the exports from it can give an investment return in 4-5 years.

Some of the international transmission projects like Tajikistan-Afghanistan 220kV lines by KEC International Ltd. of India, the 220kV Geran-Rumi line by Barki Tojik of Tajikistan and Indian company Kalpataru, and the 500kV Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Iran line as well as CASA-1000 being planned will benefit not only Tajikistan itself but also all countries of the region.