Reflecting on CERAWeek and what it means for Asia
As a first-time participant at CERAWeek in 2023 I can certainly see why people describe it as the biggest event on the energy world calendar.
I’d often hoped to attend CERAWeek during my time working in the Australian resources sector but the stars had never quite aligned. Last week finally brought the opportunity and it was a real eye-opener.
It’s impossible to overstate the calibre of both the organisations and the people who participate in CERAWeek. It proved to me once again that some of the smartest minds on the planet are working (often collaboratively) on crucial challenges around energy supply, energy transition and energy sources of the future.
Among the wide range of discussion topics at CERAWeek, three themes that stood out to me were:
- energy security
- future fuels
- carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS)
Each of them is of great interest to the Asia Natural Gas and Energy Association (ANGEA) and its member companies, along with the governments and industries we work with.
A huge number of countries globally have concerns around energy security but the situation is highly acute in Asia, especially for developing economies that must balance economic growth with progress towards climate targets.
Low carbon fuels of the future – notably hydrogen and ammonia – will be part of the long-term energy mix which supports that balance. ANGEA members are at the forefront of cutting edge work to develop these fuels, including research and development towards producing them affordably and at scale using renewable energy (“green” production)
While that work is taking place, natural gas has an absolutely vital role to play in providing reliable and stable energy that underpins Asia’s growth and supports increasing adoption of renewables. Natural gas is already a much lower emissions alternative to coal and its carbon footprint is diminished even further with the addition of CCUS – this can be in production of the gas itself, during its use as a fuel to generate electricity or when employed as a feedstock to make hydrogen and ammonia (“blue” production).
One of the things that struck me at CERAWeek is that the wider energy world appreciates the specifics of the challenges faced by Asia Pacific. Talking to people from key energy and technology companies in Houston, and hearing from the experts on stage, I think there’s a strong and growing willingness to contribute to energy transition in our region. Only through global collaboration can that transition truly be successful.
CERAWeek also offered an opportunity to meet with world media to explain more about where countries in Asia lie in their energy transition and decarbonisation journeys, and outline the work ANGEA is undertaking throughout the region. Over the course of the five days I had the opportunity to chat to Reuters, Xinhua News Agency, Gulf News, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and others.
The more informed media outlets are about a subject, the more informed their audiences will be. I’m keen to sit down with journalists every chance I get, not only to talk about ANGEA and energy in Asia but to hear how they are viewing the landscape.
The week after CERA delivered a trip back to my home country of Australia to speak at an energy conference in Perth, the capital of Western Australia (WA is a world leader in energy and has been strengthening its already strong ties with Asia in recent months, including opening a trade office in Vietnam last week).
Next week I’m headed to Bangkok for an Energy Leaders Forum with key Thai stakeholders. Thailand is one of the countries in which ANGEA has been most active over the past year, working with industry and government on affordable, reliable and sustainable energy solutions, including LNG and carbon capture.
I’m looking forward to that partnership continuing through the remainder of 2023 and beyond.
This coming trip is one of two I’ll make to Thailand in the space of two months, followed by a visit for the Future Energy Asia Exhibition and Summit from May 17-19.
ANGEA is also looking towards the next couple of months to launch its first major piece of research, focussed on energy security in Asia.
This will be an exciting milestone for our organisation and another very important opportunity to raise awareness of the energy opportunities and challenges in our region.
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. Contact him at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.