PATTAYA, THAILAND (ICIS)--With the global energy map redrawn by US shale gas and tight oil, Asia must take steps to secure its own energy future, the head of Dow Chemical’s Asia Pacific business said on Friday.
“Countries in Asia must optimise, increase and diversify domestic energy supplies so that they are able to provide affordable gas supplies for the chemical industry,” said Peter Sykes, president of Asia Pacific for Dow.
Other measures to ensure energy supply and security include pursuing conservation and efficiency, and accelerating development of cost-effective alternatives and renewable energy solutions such as solar and nuclear power, he added.
Sykes addressed delegates at the Asia Petrochemical Industry Conference (APIC).
China recently surpassed the US as the world’s largest consumer of energy, and consumption could double by 2020. By 2040, China could consume twice as much energy as the US, he said.
“The Chinese government has realised the need for balance. In its 12th five-year plan, it announced initiatives for wind, solar, batteries and shale gas. That should be commended,” said Sykes.
“Meanwhile, Europe is hemorrhaging jobs as it deselects nuclear power and avoids fracking. For Asia, we can remain competitive with a balanced energy plan or we can become Europe,” he added.
“Japan, like Europe, is reducing its reliance on nuclear and importing energy – it’s been more than predicted and more expensive as well,” Sykes noted.
As Japan has a greater need to import natural gas from energy rich countries such as the US, the US has an opportunity to open up long-closed markets there, he said.
“Why would the US export natural gas for fuel to Japan, unless Japan opens up local markets such as agriculture and automotive to the US? We must avoid free trade for one product, but not for others,” said Sykes.
A balanced energy plan for countries using all available sources is critical, Sykes added.
“This takes time but pays huge dividends,” said Sykes.
APIC is being held in Pattaya, Thailand, from 15-16 May.