From Canada to Vietnam…and the energy chain that ties them together

More than 11,000km of ocean separate Vietnam and Canada but this week has served as another reminder of how the global energy trade brings countries much closer together. 

I was in Canada for LNG2023, an event which – much like the energy world itself – experienced a shake-up along the way from geopolitical events. 

Until 18 months ago, the conference was due to be held in Saint Petersburg. At relatively late notice for an event of such scale, hosting switched to Vancouver and the organisers did an excellent job of bringing everything and everyone together. 

As it was, the timing for thousands of LNG participants from around the world being in Canada was quite a neat fit.  

It’s well-known that the massive LNG Canada project (now more than 80 per cent complete) will return Canada to the LNG-exporting ranks from 2025. There are a number of other projects at different stages of development and the potential for Canada to be an exporter of global significance is very evident. 

LNG2023 provided an opportunity to hear and learn more about those future projects and engage with the people working to make them happen, including the Premier of Alberta Danielle Smith. 

I had the privilege of representing the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA) in moderating a panel session on “The role of LNG in meeting Nationally Determined Contributions.” 

This is really one of the most important conversations we can have about LNG. One of the major reasons why it’s such an in-demand commodity is because of its ability to assist countries with decarbonisation aspirations, in addition to providing secure energy needed to support economic growth. 

The panelists for my session came from a wide range of background and presented a variety of viewpoints: Tze San Koh from ExxonMobil China, Charlotte Wolff-Bye from Petronas in Malaysia, Didier Holleaux from ENGIE in France and Preston Howey from the American Petroleum Institute. 

 

Paul Everingham moderates the panel at LNG 2023.


The diversity within our panel (and others) was another key element in why LNG2023 was successful and a very worthwhile exercise from ANGEA’s point-of-view. In an hour-long conversation we covered the energy landscape of the world’s biggest economy (China), decarbonisation progress for one of Asia’s biggest oil-and-gas producers (Malaysia), perspectives from a country that has experienced an LNG export boom over the past five years (the US) and reflections from a continent (Europe) that has pivoted rapidly towards large-scale LNG imports since the start of 2022.
 

The scenarios for Europe and North America will always be different to those of Asia (particularly its developing economies) but it’s vital that they can all be discussed together on the international stage. 

From Vancouver, I initially travelled to San Francisco for some very informative meetings with Chevron’s global leadership team. After that, it was on to Vietnam for ANGEA’s first in-person engagements in a country that has recently adopted plans outlining a clear role for gas in underpinning future low carbon energy systems. 

Again, there was a real sense of timing to the visit, given Vietnam had taken delivery of its first-ever shipment of LNG the week before. With National Power Development Plan 8 projecting LNG will comprise nearly 15 per cent of Vietnam’s electricity generation by 2030, there will be many more cargoes to follow. 

In an ideal world, some and perhaps many of them will come from a growing Canadian LNG industry. There might be the 11,000km of ocean between the west coast of Canada and Vietnam but it’s actually a comparatively convenient and cost-effective shipping route that could be extremely mutually beneficial. 

It was a real privilege to be in Hanoi, discussing Vietnam’s low energy energy aspirations with the people on the ground tasked with realising them. ANGEA is very grateful for the time taken to meet with us by the Vice Minister for Industry and Trade Dang Hoang An, Vice Minister for Planning and Investment Tran Duy Dong, staff of both the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Ministry of Planning and Investment, and teams from PetroVietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation (PV Gas), Vietnam Electricity (EVN) and the Institute of Energy. 

We look forward to further productive discussions and collaborations in the near future. 

Next up on the ANGEA travel agenda is Indonesia, where we will be running a carbon capture and storage (CCS) workshop in late July for key government officials, in partnership with the Global CCS Institute. 

The session will build on the very positive engagements we had earlier in the year with the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (ESDM) and Co-ordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs. 

As I’ve outlined above, energy needs in different regions of the world will always differ. But one thing that’s been made very clear over the past five years is that global, at-scale adoption of carbon capture technology is required for net zero to be achieved. 

With its enormous potential for CO2 storage, Indonesia looms as a country well-placed to be at the heart of the CCS value chains that will be built in Asia over the next few decades. 

ANGEA’s hope is that events like the workshop can facilitate some of the conversations required to produce a policy environment that helps turn CCS potential into reality. 

Paul Everingham is the inaugural CEO of the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA), which works with governments, society and industry throughout Asia to build effective and integrated energy policies that meet each country’s climate objectives.